I began Target Run #2 at just before 7.25 am. Shear Water was pretty quiet and subdued to begin with, the only other people present being the rows of fisherman sat along the embankment of the lake. It was early on Sunday morning, and only those of us that were dedicated ( mad enough) to our respective sports felt the need to be out of our cozy beds at that time.
The target for the day was to run for 8 hours. My aim of the day was to continue in my quest for a sustainable pace. I set off at a nice leisurely pace as I made my way past the bemused looks from a selection of the fisherman, and around the by now very very familiar route. In fact, as much as I love to run at Shear Water, I was not particularly looking forward to 8 hours of solo laps. Visually speaking there is nothing new for me on “The” route and the thought of 8 hours by myself did not excite me. However, as an exercise in finding the best pacing strategy, I felt that it was necessary for this run to be on the same route as the actual event. That coupled with the fact that most of my running buddies were already doing other runs that day (Salisbury 54321 being one of them – a fantastic event – not jealous!) – I found myself plodding along on my lonesome. Taking the point one fraction further now – come the day of Chapter 2 then running for 24 hours on the same, already highly familiar route, somehow adds to the challenge for me too.
Anyhow, whilst making my way around the maiden lap of the day, I formulated a plan for the days efforts. I decided that I would only stop at my car every second lap. I had enough food and water on me that meant I wouldn’t really require any pit-stops outside of that time frame. So after the first lap I immediately commenced on to the second.
The sun materialised on the second lap and became a permanent fixture for the rest of the day. It wasn’t very hot at this point……… but that was to change as the day marched on though! I finished the second lap after 2 and a half hours and stopped at my car. Water bottles refilled, a few mouthful’s of spaghetti with chicken & cheese, and I was on my way again after 5 mins.
Lap 3 went well and I was still feeling good as I yet again made my way through the copious amount of jaggy nettles that adorned the trail . It was hot, but I wasn’t feeling depleted by it in any way. I had soaked my buff with water when I stopped and this was helping to keep the back of my neck cool. In fact I was still feeling full of energy and capable of taking the whole world on as I bounded along this lap.
Lap 4 had the temperature turned up by Him and within several minutes of starting I found myself emptying one of my water bottles over my head and neck as well as pouring some in to my cap. It didn’t really work in my cap though. It’s a moisture wicking cap so it just allowed all the water to pass straight through leaving the inside bone dry. Doh!!! I felt it on this lap…. whatever it is. It started to bite a little bit – I wasn’t struggling by any stretch of the imagination, but I did have to work a bit now.
I finished lap 4 and got back to my car after a total time of about 5 hours and 30 mins. I took 10 mins to fill my water bottles again, soak my buff again, scoff some sandwiches, and sit in the shade offered from the open boot door of my car.
Lap 5 was a bummer. It was really hot now and the sun was relentless in it’s pursuit of attempting to fry me. I developed a slight pain on the inside of my left knee. I took the decision not to take any pain killers based on the principle that I wanted to know if this was just a minor niggle or something more sinister that I should be concerned about. Pain killers would have only masked the pain leaving me none the wiser so I bumbled on regardless. Macho eh (my knee feels fine right now as I sit in the comfort of my front room typing this). I was working a lot harder now just to maintain a comfy pace, the up hill sections took me longer to negotiate, I tripped a couple of times, and I banged the toes on both feet a couple of times too (it annoyed me when I banged my big left toe. My big right toe has an ingrown toe nail. It annoyed and really hurt when I banged this one). I was also starting to feel a bit nauseous too
Lap 6 was no better. Surprisingly (not) it was still very hot, I was still working hard for a relatively mediocre pace, my left knee still hurt – especially on the up hills, my quads were also feeling the effort on the up hills too, I was still feeling nauseous, and I took my first and only salt bomb of the day after feeling my calve muscles beginning to cramp up. The salt bomb done the trick though and the cramp disappeared very quickly never to be seen again (that is not until my next long run I’m sure). But I felt good. I was safe in the knowledge that this would be my last lap of the day and that made the lap all the more manageable.
So I made it back to my car after a total of 8 hrs 4 mins, 6 laps, and an elevation gain of 2,898 ft.
I think that had I more laps to do then I may be better served if I take slightly longer pit stops. Nothing astronomical – just perhaps an extra 5 mins or so each stop. 🙂