Monday, 3 January 2011

Hardmoors 30 - the preamble...

In March 2010 I attempted my first ultra, the Hardmoors 55. This all ended in tears due to lack of endurance and crap map reading skills. I was then going to do the Osmotherley Phoenix 33 but didn't bother, as I was totally demotivated by my first DNF. I carried on occasional running, but not with any goal or purpose in mind, just as recreation.

Come September I had volunteered to man the Highcliff checkpoint on the Hardmoors 110, which meant I had to tab up there after work; and having left the army many moons before I promptly knackered my left knee. All perfect preparation for a 50km race in a few months time!

Anyway, as soon as I found out about the expansion to the Hardmoors series, which included a new 30 mile race on New Years Day I managed to refocus and registered to try and finish my first ultra.

I now only had about 12 weeks to train, but was hoping that my training from the HM55 would still benefit me a bit. What I didn't count on was some pretty disruptive snow in November. Cue my second little injury - a bad right ankle (I blame Roseberry Topping in the snow). The HM30 was starting to look as good an idea as the HM55 did back in March! All in all, I must've only done around 160km of focused training from October onwards! Hardly the stuff of champions, but it just seemed that every run was turning into a painful chore where I was developing a new compensating injury. Very demotivating. By Christmas I had just about gone off the idea of bothering with the race at all. Sod the entrance fee! But I still kept reading the site updates and knew that the HM30 was the perfect chance to complete my first ultra marathon. I knew that I could run 47km in 8hr30, it was just whether I was still capable of it. Especially with the bloody snow!

So off I went to Ravenscar to do a recce of the first 9 miles of the course. What I found didn't fill me with much joy either - ankle thick snow/slush/ice made the going slow, which would push me into around 9hr territory. Bugger! No where near the 7hr cut-off! Much easier not to embarrass myself among proper runners and just get hammered after work with the rest of the staff on New Years Eve! However, did I really want another FULL YEAR of more regrets?

So that, and an inspirational chat with Sharon Gaytor at her book signing in Guisborough was how I conned myself into turning up for the Hardmoors 30 miler on the first day of 2011.

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