I like to look back on my race and write down a few thoughts so I can learn from my experience.
So here are a few thoughts as I reflect on Saturday’s race …
# Overall I would say that I was very pleased with my run and the time I achieved. I wrote a couple of weeks ago my for and against getting under 20hrs again and it’s great to write the for’s won!
# In particular I was very pleased to be able to write down a plan and achieve it. There were a number of people who didn’t think I could do it again and so to be able to put out my intention and achieve it feels very satisfying.
# I have played around with the official results and listed all the runners in order at each check point and also leg positions.
Here are my positions through the race …
Rowardennan – 21st
Auchtertyre – 18th
Bridge of Orchy – 15th
Kingshouse – 15th
Lundavra – 14th
Fort William – 13th
So basically I was working my way slowly through the field which is very encouraging. It shows that I started sensibly and was able to keep it going.
Here are my positions for each leg
Milngavie to Rowardennan – 21st
Rowardennan to Auchtertyre – 13th
Auchtertyre to Bridge of Orchy – 10th
Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse – 23rd
Kingshouse to Kinlochleven – 21st
Kinlochleven to Lundavra – 14th
Lundavra to Fort William – 10th
So my best sections in relation to the field was Auchtertyre to Bridge of Orchy and Lundavra to Fort William – 10th. Infact the last section was the only one that I was quicker than Neal! So if the race was another 70 miles I might have caught him!!!!
My worst sections was Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse – 23rd closely followed by Kingshouse to Kinlochleven – 21st.
So there is plenty to learn from that. It is no coincidence that my worst section followed my best. Maybe I pushed it a bit too hard then struggled.
# Food wise I was happier than last year and loads happier than the Fling but I still have some way to go before I find food I can easily eat which will really help me. So I’m definitely going to need some more work on this area.
# Drink wise I struggled with the lucozade after the first few hours. In fact from half way I basically just drank water and milk. Donald is not too sure that milk is the best option so again some work on this area.
# Pacing wise I was very pleased with how things went. Using the Garmin watch as I did really helped me. I hardly ever looked at the overall time and distance. I had it on the lap time, lap distance and overal lap pace and just worked on getting to my next mark in time. I figured that if I looked after each section then the overal distance and time would look after itself.
I decided that I would trust my schedule and try and run on each time for as long as possible. There was a time at about 75 miles that I lost about 6mins but I was able to pick it up and catch up. If I had continued to lose time then I would have had to readjust and work on a new aim but thankfully I kept to my schedule right to the end.
# One of my key thoughts was to just keep on putting one foot in front of the other and the next mark would arrive eventually. It really helped me to keep going when the overall distance seemed a bit overwhelming.
# I would say that out of the three whw races I’ve done this was the easiest in the sense that I felt I could do it and I could trust my experience. Last year I had far more ‘wobbles’ but this year I knew I could get through them and my pace would pick up again.
# I feel I finished stronger than last year and my splits from Kinlochleven proved that . In 08 it took me 3hrs 17mins 55secs and this year 3hrs 11mins 05secs. So most of the 8mins I was faster this year was basically achieved in the last 14miles.
# My support team were superb again. Katrina and family through the night were their efficient best and had everything ready for me at each point. Donald & Stevie from Auchtertyre continued the high standard. Not having a support runner this year was fine but I really enjoyed seeing Stevie at the top of the Devil’s staircase and Donald at the top of the hill out of Kinlochleven. It also meant they were able to have a run on their own for part of the whw route.
# My time of 19hrs 51mins 59secs puts me 50th in the all time list (down 7 places from last year despite being 8mins faster!). My race number was 50 and I’m 50 years old!! Good eh
# So how can I improve next year?????
When I said to Donald that I was really pleased that I’d been able to keep to my plan right through the race he said, ‘So all you have to do to improve is have a faster plan!!’ I laughed but maybe there is something to that. If I take off 1min per leg that would be 11mins faster. I’d take that!
Look at my slower sections and work out how I can keep the pace up on those sections. Interestingly both my poorer sections have a long rocky down hill section into Kingshouse and into Kinlochleven. Maybe I need to get Neal to give me some lessons on running downhill over rocky ground faster.
I’m sure I can do better with my food and drink as well.
So that 2 ultras down in my 2009 challenge and 3 to go. The Devil’s is 6 weeks on Saturday and then the Hardmoors is another 7 weeks after that. On the last two years once the whw race was over that was it until the following year but now I have 3 more challenges to plan and prepare for. Happy days.