Viking 100 Mile Ultra Endurance Run 10-3-18
Those who grab their dreams and make them come true... They truly live life. I don't know who said it but it sums up how I feel after running the Viking 100 miles on Saturday. This was my 8th Ultra marathon and for the last few months I have been committed, determined and made many sacrifices to achieve this goal like many runners do. At the start line I knew I was in good shape physically but more importantly mentally. I knew I was capable of a sub 24 hour run but actually nearly doing it really hasn't sunk in yet. A few statistics before a few details about the race. My finishing time was 24 hours and 36 minutes. I was 6th lady and 23rd place overall out of 53. The 100 mile was the main race but there was also a 24 hour challenge to run as far as you an in 24 hours. There was a pacer challenge and a 6 hour challenge so never really sure who's done what because of the 16 lap course. The 100 milers also had the option to drop down to the 24 hour challenge during the race but that was never going to be an option or me.
The course was a lollypop sort of shape running on farm tracks and roads with some muddy fields thrown in too. Each lap was 6.25 miles long so with the nature of the course you saw loads of people passing all of the time. The weather was good so I set off in shorts, club t shirt and thin jacket which was perfect for me. The first lap was important as I wanted to get to know the course and where any hills were to work out where to run and walk. A couple of short hills and of course the muddy farm section which turned out to be the heartache of many until they changed the course. Many dropped because of the mud.
As usual it took me about 15 miles or so to really get going although my pace was good I didn't really start enjoying it until the 3rd lap. The first 4 laps went quickly and I found I had done the first marathon in 5 hours 15 which to be honest was a bit quick so decided not too slow the running but to do a tad more power walking. This worked a treat and the miles passed by. I was in a really good rhythm apart from the mud section through the farm. We were all trying to miss the quagmire of the track and go deeper on the field but the farmer didn't like that rightly so, so back on the track we went. We were all laughing at each other acting like Torvill and Dean as there was no grip whatsoever.
I got to the half way mark of 50 miles, so 8 laps in 11 hours so was really pleased with my progress and I was in a confident happy mood which helps immensely in such a long run. So I'd run 50 miles, it was 7 o'clock at night and I'd had to go into the barn to my kit to get my headlamp at the end of lap 7. I had seen Andy on lap 8 who gave me some sandwiches but I had picked up food previously and put in my bag. I've learnt a lot about nutrition in the past few months so was eating well throughout although sometimes not really wanting to. I was also sticking to my high 5 drink and filling bottles with powder when moving along which is no mean feat. I also used electrolyte tablets with added caffeine for that extra boost especially when it got dark. After seeing Andy I urged him to go get sleep so it was about the 10th lap by now and about 10 o'clock. I received word from a runner who I passed that they had decided to re-route the course so as not to go through the muddy quagmire. It was good news but I had just got my head round that that was part of the challenge and just to get on with it in typical Pecky style. Heading back through the mud for the last time was very eerie as I didn't have anyone behind me or coming towards me. The new route had a big hill in it but off the mud and later found out that this course was shorter so when I had completed the 16 lap course there would be an extra out and back to do. Luckily for me I had completed 10 laps already and some had only done 8 or 9 so not as far but near the end this couple of miles did mess with my head.
I found I had got to 100k 62 miles in a PB time of about 13 and half hours so beating my Norfolk 100k time by 1 hour 45 minutes. This spurned me on and I felt good and steady. There was still a muddy dark section in the loop part of the course but as every ultra-runner will tell you, you must keep moving forward. I rarely stopped. Obviously I needed the loo or fill up drink bottles but I find stopping is not good mentally so I pushed forward. Some runners had pacers during the night but being a closed course mostly you didn't need to. I was quite happy making my own way. I reached the 75 mile mark about 2 30 ish and thought my god I could be on for sub 24 hours. I also at this point had very tight thighs and although my running pace was still good I knew I could afford to walk a bit more. It's important to walk quickly though as you will lose time so the concentration has to be there. Andy popped up about 5 30 ish with food and I think stunned at how focused I was and that I was still running. The longer you do walk the harder to get back running again is so pushed myself on the better lit sections.
Jodie had rung me during the night to see how I was going and Nicki had text also. Jodie also rung about 5 in the morning. I think she was surprised how positive I sounded. I've so F****** got this was my reply. So many endorphins and caffeine and sheer bloody stubbornness and determination in me.
The laps were going down and every time I headed back to the barn to get my lap card stamped the volunteers were stunned that I just headed back out again. I just wanted in done now. Just after Jodie rang my headlamp died so did half a lap without a light until I could get my spare. Grabbed a cuppa tea and headed back out still moving with the cup in hand. It wasn't until lap 15 I came in to get a warm change of clothing on my top half. It had got cold and it had begun to rain. I didn't want this stopping me in my tracks so near to the finish. On went hat, green waterproof coat and big gloves and later on down the track the waterproof trousers. I wasn't going to attempt taking off shoes to get anything else on so these went on easier although chuckled to myself about raising my legs high enough to get them on. The last 13 miles I power walked quickly like I have never done before. I realised I was moving quicker with a half running power walking motion than running and it was a lot less painful on the my very sore thighs. I felt good and was moving well. On reaching lap 16 I needed to clarify with the race director on how far my extra bit was because of the change of course. It had been playing on my mind the last few miles and the weather had changed and was now wet and miserable. My temperature was dropping so needed to just get this done. I had 2 miles to go. 1 mile out and 1 mile back. Andy kept me company and was hard pushed to keep up! This was the hardest 2 miles of the race. I think myself very lucky as I didn't hit any walls or bonk. I ran a good consistent race so my face at the end when I finally rang the finishing bell was a picture. Of course I felt very emotional and pleased to receive my finishers buckle, t shirt and goody bag. So close to the sub 24 hour clocking but so amazed at my achievement. I didn't give up and will never quit and look at the result. Loved it!
Felt rough for few hours after though with Andy being a super nurse. Thank you to all who sent messages before, during and after and I was so focused of the task in hand I might not have replied quickly but I do appreciate it. Thanks to GYRR for embracing my ultra runs and how they have shaped me into the runner I am.
Report by Karen Peck.