Monday 20 July 2015

Endure 12/50 (Ultra12) Endurance Event - Run, Snack, Repeat

As I write this I'm comfortably resting my poor blistered toes (I can hear the little violins going as I type) and a slightly sore left ankle.

When I had to pull out of Dartmoor Discovery due to work at the end of May I needed to find another ultra event to replace DD which was in June. Having no luck for an event in June around work and holiday I found an event in mid July. A 12 hour endurance event called Ultra12 was giving to me by a friend on Facebook who was also running it. So that night I looked up the event Endure 12/50 and entered it. Ultra12 it's original name but is now known as Endure 12/50. As well as the 12 hour endurance run which you can enter as a soloist or as part of a team, there is also a 50K race and a 50 mile race.

Bib Number
 Now as my longest ultra distance of the 7 ultras in 7 days (#YOLO7dayUltra) is about 40 miles, I wanted to use this event as a basis of time and planning for that event. So I gave myself a target of 40 miles within the 12 hour period.

The event is located in Beale Park, just outside Reading, so we had a bit of journey to make. Even though the event wasn't starting til 7pm of the Saturday I didn't want to be leaving earlier in the morning of arriving and setting up base and not leaving me much time to prepare myself. So we set off Thursday night? Thursday night you ask, well I have a 4 year old boy and he has had to put up with a lot of me running in events. So we booked a hotel Thursday night, so we can set up camp early Friday morning and then take my boy to Legoland which was about half hour away and give him a treat for being my best support crew member I could ask for.

Event 25 of 37 - Endure 12/50 (Ultra12) Endurance Event.

As the sun rose, after a pleasant night of chilling out around the fire pit talking with the organisers I woke around 6am after a pretty broken sleep. The wife took my boy out for the afternoon so I could try and catch a few hours sleep before the race started, however due to the heat in the tent, and outside noise I couldn't get any so I will be running through the night having been up since 6am. Not much difference to the 24 hour events I guess, I am also used to this when working nights.

The fire pit
 Eventually with our gazebo and table set up alongside the race line with all our drinks and snacks available for when we need it so we can snack and go. That was the plan run, snack and repeat.

With the safety brief given the 50 milers and 12 hour runners lined up on starting line for the 7pm start, the 50K runners had a different start point so they can cover the correct distance. There was a slight delay of 10 minutes to the start but soon the hooter started and we were off! 5 miles laps of multi terrain.

Start/Finish straight
The course route was pretty much flat with two very slight inclines. Flat ultra's is something I have never run before so this was going to be different. I had to make sure I didn't go too fast just because it was flat.

The course lead us out of the camping field and in through a field for the short stay parking (those who were doing the 50K and wanting not to hang around) and into a loop around another field just opposite the camping field. After about a mile this brought on to the road which takes us past the camping field. So by now the supporters would've seen the runners 3 times before heading down the road past the 2K mark. Now considering the course is 5 miles I would've preferred the course to have been marked in miles not KM's but that's just me I'm funny like that. As we left the camping area the music faded out into the distance and followed the road all the way until the 1st marshaled area.

My motivation
We made our way off the road and onto a gravel track and through a field before hitting the next marshal spot at 3K, marshal had parked his VW camper van at the corner where we turned and headed along the Thames. The VW Camper had two big speakers playing music and when it got dark was turned in to a Lucozade Sport (bar) and was lit brightly up (see pic). Probably one of my favorite marshal spots I've come across.

Coolest Marshal point ever?
The route then followed the Thames passing moored boats berthed along the waters edge with various boat owners and passengers providing some support atmosphere until darkness set in properly. We passed the 4K mark and not long after we reached the water station marshal point. Using my Inov 8 race vest I didn't require to use the water station, but it was used a fair bit I noticed by other runners.

Along the Thames

I continued further down the Thames until we reach the turning point where another set of marshals were back into Beale Park's grounds and hitting the 5K mark. Back on the tarmac and we headed through what could be described as the animal park, however I never saw any live ones only statues of various animals and some sculpted ones were a bit freaky when I saw them in my head light.  Pass another marshal point and around the parks car parking area through trees hitting the 6K mark at the top of a small incline. Normally these types of inclines wouldn't bother me but after a few laps I did start to walk them. It was back on the tarmac for a little bit with a down incline towards the short stay parking area of the campsite. We turned at the marshal once at the short stay parking and up another slight grassy incline.

My snacks and drink supply
We then headed down through a wooded area that went behind the camping and around it. Once it was dark two areas where trees had completely covered over head was lit up with fairy lights. These were just after the 7K mark and once we hit the second lit up trees we knew there was half a KM left and we soon turned on to a track before turning again into the camping area to the race start/finish line.

My motivation for this one
We completed the first lap in 51 mins which I was pretty happy with and new that would be our fastest lap recorded as we were stopping to snack after each lap. We reached my table of food and drink, and I took on some pork pie and banana. Picked up some isotonic drink stuck it in my race vest and off I went. I walked whilst I snacked and then ran once more my brother in law Paul was keeping me company once more during this event. He was a last minute entry as originally he couldn't make it. I was pleased to have the company again. Making our way round the second lap Paul was getting issues with the seams of his shorts. I started to feel hot spots commonly known about on my feet. I tried a different form of anti blistering powder. Which didn't work, so the wife who was my support crew taped up my feet using the kit I acquired from myRaceKit .

One more to go!
Again snacked up and off we went. It was fully dark and head torches were ever where along the route. However the music at the campsite was turned off, which was a little disappointing, even just turned down it's still provides a great atmosphere at these events. Anyway that was just a little thing that was missing from the event. We made our way round the 3rd lap and Paul was really struggling, he was broken already. We reduced our runs to run walks during the lap to get him round, and we made it back, we made sure he got some food and liquid inside him. Over the next few laps we walked more than we ran to make sure he could keep going. As we ticked off the laps, I could tell Paul was in suffering. I too felt blisters appearing on my toes, and a niggle under my left knee cap forming. Despite this I felt pretty good, but with Paul suffering he didn't want to do more than the target of 40 miles. Despite our pace slowing down the target was still possible to hit.

After the 35 mile completed we took a slightly longer rest for Paul to recover before fitting in the last lap. I felt I could've fitted in another lap with less stopping time earlier and also I had plenty of time to go and complete one last lap but once we hit 40 and with Paul not wanting to go on, I had lost the motivation myself to go on. It was good to feel I could do more though. So we finished 40 miles in 11 hours and 31 minutes and with a great sprint finish. Considering we had 55 mins of rest period in total I'm pretty pleased that the run time was 10hrs 36 mins. The hooter sounded at 7.10am to finish the event and those who were out on their laps still slowly finished off the laps. Even though the course was pretty much flat the uneven under foot terrain and the odd animal holes I found (hence sore ankle) made it still a tough test

Finished and some one is a little broken
During this event, I planned to give the Hoka Cliftons a good run out. Although it was multi terrain, it had been dry enough all day until the last lap when it rained, to warrant road shoes. I had other shoes in case I needed to change though. For the first time I didn't suffer bruising of the bottom of my feet during a long run so very happy. They were amazing all the way round.

Event 25 of 37 completed!
I only used my Sunwise glasses for the first lap it got dark after that and I went with the X-Bionic Fennec top this time instead of my trick top with my X-Bionic running shorts. Great kit and still providing me the support I need through all this. I can't thank Sunwise and X-Bionic enough really.

So there you, another event done. I really enjoyed this event, and if I'm not away at sea next year I think I will be back again. It is only in it's second year but I'm sure it will continue to grow like it's sister event Endure24, hopefully not as big though as I like the atmosphere of the smaller family feel events. May it continue with it's success and hopefully keep the music going all night next year ;)

Only 2 weeks now until #YOLO7dayUltra getting very real now.

Until next time.

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