Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Race To The Stones – Day Three
by Russell Turner - 21:12 on 08 July 2020
Nearly there – the VRTTS medal will be mine.
The forecast was correct: blue skies, light wind, and still a small hope that this would be a 50k day. I set off on the road to Cromarty with optimism despite heavy legs.
And the skies stayed blue – everywhere except above me, where a very lazily drifting dark cloud hid the sun as I plodded east in a 5:1 run/walk, what would have been a pleasant breeze blowing coolly in my face. At least it stopped me from over-confident speeding.
The sun emerged on the outskirts of Cromarty, allowing me a mile to warm up before reaching the end of the road where I treated myself to a minute’s halt. I was just under 12min/mile pace, sensible under the circumstances, so I thought I’d earned it.
The return trip was sunny all the way, and slightly faster (unintentionally) despite running out of Tailwind after nine miles. Yesterday’s hydration/nutrition had been made up of the last two sample stickpacks; today’s was from the newly arrived 50-serving pack. Despite careful reading of the instructions I’d used two scoops instead of the required four, which explained why it had tasted more dilute and possibly why I was drinking it faster. That and not wanting to repeat the mistake of not drinking enough the last couple of times out.
However, after 12.5 miles I returned in reasonable shape to The Rural Retreat for a pit stop: if I’d still had Tailwind I might have added another couple of miles. Ten minutes was spent downing water, refilling the backpack (with four scoops), changing into a dry T-shirt and topping up the sunscreen.
The next target was my regular six-mile circuit, although I knew by then that unless I found a second wind it would be my last. Hills I usually run up were walked, and the cold headwind returned, but I finished happy, if exhausted, after 19.5 miles. The sore back I suffered yesterday had mostly eased off, and the popped blister caused no trouble The only shadow was cast by what I fear is a grumbling IT band – the one that caused me problems at my first Yorkshire Marathon in 2018 but has behaved ever since. Fingers crossed it’s recovered by tomorrow.
Protein drink and chicken were consumed but little stretching was done for fear of straining tired muscles. And two-and-a-half hours later I was out again for a 40min 4:1 recovery run which added another three miles to the total, leaving me with 8.5miles/14km to complete my 100km epic and fours days to do it in. That said, VRTTS HQ thinks I’ve already finished: the latest leaderboard shows me completed, 78th out of more than 3,000 entrants (!), thanks to the IT glitch that’s bedevilled the event and caused much chuntering among competitors. I’ve deleted the false extra miles so I now have a true reading of 86km completed. I’m sure that everyone else has been honest enough to do the same…
With luck it will be tomorrow I finish, legs permitting, although an appointment of unknown length in the morning may complicate matters. I’d usually run 8.5 miles in around 90mins – I’ll be happy to cover it in two hours.
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