Endure 24 race report
Well the weekend of Endure24 is over, the mud can now dry out and the course can recover after the stillness of the route being punctuated by many, many thousands of footfalls.
So how was it for me? A fab experience!
With working, plus being on standby in my job, we couldn’t stay the Friday night. I had to be home. So in the late afternoon my husband (Ian), 10 year old (Verity) and I drove off up to set up camp with the bosh Bloggers, and then home again for work standby hours. Luckily only one call so I got a relatively good night’s sleep.
So Saturday morning, Meranda arrived, we loaded the car and drove off up…watching the clouds all the way and trying to second-guess what the weather may choose to do. We were able to park next to where we had the tent, and then proceeded to unload – unfortunately for us the heavy clouds decided to do the same so it was a soggy old time, Add in the thunderstorm with it’s high decibel soundtrack and we sat in our Mizuno ponchos on our chairs and watched the world go by as all the other teams completed their set ups and then relaxed also.
Then noon came all too soon, we lined the sides of the first corner (later be be christened by Verity as “calamity corner”) and whooped and cheered as the runners set off for the first loop. Pete was out for us, at a great rate of knots. The feeling of anticipation could be felt as the other team members who had yet to do their laps made their way back to their tents.
We were so very fortunate to be camping right by calamity corner, so latter in the night we were lulled to restfulness by the pat-pat-pat of feet on sludge past us continually – it really *was* as lovely sound though, and that’s not irony me mentioning it.
So, I knew I was the “also ran” of the team, the slow one, the one who is just happy to still be out there doing what makes me happy. I would not break any records, except maybe slowest lap..! I was 3rd out, after the lovely Nikki, unfortunately Nikky’s lap was disturbed by a monsoon-like downpour, and so she came ‘home’ as soggy as I set out for my first lap when she passed the ‘yellow wristband of responsibility’ to me.
Well, the first part of the course is lovely, up a tree lined avenue of a single track road, “well this is lovely” I thought and I pottered up the hill, then a left turn onto the track. “Oh crikey…mud” ..in road shoes. I have never found a pair of trail shoes that fit me, they are all too narrow, too stiff, too restrictive, just not right at all….”Never mind, it’ll be fine”I thought ….if you’re an ice skater maybe. So I kept right to the side, not impeding any faster runners (well that’ll be practically everyone else then), they did appreciate the etiquette though and as they passed me at warp speed, the majority thanked me and we exchanged words of luck….even though it wasn’t luck I needed, it was about 4 stone less in weight and a good pair of trail shoes that would fit my awkward feet, but hey…the words of luck were very appreciated.
The course was ever changing, from the road, to trail, to path, to bouncy-springy woods and back to trail and then road, and shingle and field. With the constant undulations it really kept you from being bored.
I finished my lap, in embarrassingly slow time, but at least I knew what to expect now. I was of course soaked to the skin, as it had rained, hard, all So back to the tent, to find that my pack-it-cubes, each with a full change of running clothes, all six packs had been caught in the downpour so as each lap ended I removed soggy muddy clothes and put on soggy clothes. Not good for core temperature maintenance at all. I handed over to the sprightly Kev who sprang away like a giselle.
Well with that first lap I had felt that my calves were tight, so, in an effort to warm up I ventured to the massage tent, what a treat, the massage chaps were fab, just enough to get your legs working again, but not enough to impede you for your next run. I believe that this was a saving grace as my calves were lovely and relaxed for the next laps.
So on the way back to the tent I venture in to thank the Mizuno team for all they have done with supporting our Bosh Bloggers team. I got chatting about trail shoes and unfortunately how I could not wear the Wave Hayate as they were too narrow for my feet. They handed me a pair of Wave Ascend 8 to try. So I put them on and they felt fine, nice and roomy in the toe box and the support was peachy for me. I sat down for a while and admired how they looked, a little weird with the off centre lacing but really rather attractive.
Before I knew it, it was time for my 8pm run, so off I trotted. You would have thought that after having my feet ripped to shreads before by making the huge mistake of wearing new shoes in a race, that I would learn, but about a mile in, when I wasn’t slipping and sliding as I was in my road shoes I remembered I was still wearing the Ascent….Uh-oh. They felt fine hough, even though now I was nervous how my feet would react, By mile 2 I was feeling “well hello there dear old friends…where have you been hiding” they felt like a comfy pair of slippers, albeit with laces and great grippage in the mud. My feet suited then naturally, Absolutely perfect fit, with responsiveness in the feel, the right support, the right width…I have finally found my nirvana…I have found my “go-to” trail shoes. <cue big grin and happiness>.
So second lap over, feet happy, calves still relaxed, fake tan firmly in place courtesy of “Aldermaston Mud Company”. Off to the showers. On more wet clothes. I tried to get some sleep at this point, but sleep was an illusive creature that night, so I just dozed to the pat pat pat of footfalls and the occasional expletive as someone became the victim of Calamity Corner.
3am was my next lap, so I could hear the sparrow-fart as he awoke in his nest before the full dawn chorus, what a wonderful and restful time of day this is just before the anticipation of a fresh new sunrise. Right on cue, Kev bounded down the track and off I went. Up the hill I trotted, until….disaster…the batteries died in the headtorch and I was plunged into darkness. So a choice, back to camp and replace the batteries or “man up” and just get on with it. I decided the latter so I pulled up my big girl panties and plodded on, I was wearing a white top so of course was visible to others, it was just me who was at a disadvantage. I kept well to the side out of peoples’ way and use the light from the racing hares when I could to find my way – not ideal at all and certainly not recommended but my goodness it added an extra dimension to the lap. Luckily as I passed the second lake the dawn was breaking and it was getting light, the sparrow had farted and dawn chorus was in full voice. I could then enjoy the last part of the lap with being able to see where I was and where I was going.
That lap was, albeit my slowest, my best. I loved it, The sheer camaraderie out of that course, running with the solo guys in some areas (huge respect for them all), chatting and sharing encouragement all the way. It is what Endure 24 is all about.
By 9am, the cold I had been fighting all week finally took hold with a vengeance, my chest was sore from coughing and I had to admit that I simply had to get my bones warm. It was with reluctance I had to call it a day at that point, so we packed up, and with heavy hearts we left the competition to finish without Meranda and I. (Pete, Nikki, Kev, Steve, Angie and of course Keith you are all giants in my mind and it was simply splendid, yet humbling to be on a team with you). Meranda and I had done 3 laps each though, it was what we had expected to do and I for one am proud to have been a part of it. The organisation, Mizuno, Bosh-brothers and sisters, all perfect in every way.
I will be back next year, I have a score to settle, I want to do more laps. Even as I sit here now pouring this onto the screen I feel I have unfinished business. Damn you Endure 24….you have got under my skin.