7 Things I learned at the 2013 South Downs Way 50:
1. Centurion Running have set the standard for ultra distance races
The organisation was like a hot knife through butter: amazing race marking; fantastic aid stations with all the food, drink and high-fiving encouragement you need to have a good race. They also kept everyone safe in difficult conditions. Worth every penny of the entry.
2. If you're going to have a song stuck in your head for 8 hours it might as well be a catchy hip hop song about charity shops
I'm goin' pop some tags/only got $20 in my pocket...
3. The hardest miles in an ultra aren't always at the end.
Miles 16-26 were definitely the hardest of the race for me. This was the point where the weather started to turn, fatigue started to set in and my knee started hurting. A runner, who went on to be the first lady, caught me at this point and was running at a super consistent pace. I decided to try and match this and that got me through to the next aid station. The next 24 miles, despite the weather, felt a lot better.
4. Coffee flavoured gels are not tasty.
But hey, free gels at aid stations- what-cha-going-to-do? Chocolate and raspberry were nicer.
5. The weather in April can be changeable.
The first 16 miles were pretty warm and at times sunny, but then came the wind, and then the rain and then the cloud and the next thing you know you're running 30 miles in a storm.
6. Races have a required kit list for a reason.
When I splashed out on a Montane Minimus to make sure I had a light weight waterproof (with taped seams) to meet the requirements of the kit list, part of me thought- is this really necessary? It was really necessary.
7. Whilst it's a bit sad to have a running blog and use it to subtly boast about your running achievements, I'm well chuffed to run my first 50 miler in 8:24:40 and finish in 10th place.