North Coast 110km, 1st Oct ( UK)

I’m in a community of one here :laughing:

If you’re really really bored, live tracking is on for this race. I am Bib 121 (110km cohort)


Thanks for posting this! good luck :four_leaf_clover:

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Hey FP, looked at the tracking this morning. When I saw that you had stopped I thought something must be wrong. Hope you’re okay. Huge respect for starting, saw a short film on Instagram of the 110 mile start and the weather looked brutal.

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Thanks Anna. You know that expression ‘sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes the nail’? I was most definitely the nail that time :sweat:

The weather was truly awful, horizontal rain. We started at 8.30pm and it was weird starting at night but exciting. Navigation was a bit tricky and I stayed with one guy who was going at my slower pace. We were generally mid pack. I was eating and drinking well.
We reached the first checkpoint (Woolacoombe in 4.05), so we were nearly 90mins ahead of cut off. The wind was very cutting and the rain made your eyes go dizzy because the headtorch illuminated the droplets, it’s a weird effect.

After the checkpoint everything gets hard, an awful lot harder with very sheer cliff drop offs, big hills and narrow rocky paths. I was very glad to be with someone. About 10km after the checkpoint (so about 40km in) I started to feel some pain in my left hip. I’ve had this before and in my attempt at a 100 miler in June, this pain caused me a DNF, so I was wary to say the least!

We made a huge navigational error that caused us to ascend for over 20mins and then we had to come down again, find the right hill and climb another 15, so that costs us and then 5km later we made a very similar mistake which caused us huge time chunks. By now my hip was on fire and my whole energy system had shut down. I’d never experienced anything like it and it was getting worse by the minute.

By this time, the race sweeper had caught us with one tail ender and the last lady in the 110 milers (she was walking but strong). So in 20kms, we’d gone from being 90mins ahead to being right up against cut off. Talk about a detonation!

We got the the next town but that was not a checkpoint, the next CP was a further 10km. i had no chance of making it, I could barely walk now and my feet felt like glass.

It was 5.20am, no taxis, no sign of life in the small coastal town and I was worried. I saw a hotel that had lights on, and so me and the sweeper approached. The night manager took pity and let me sit in the nice warm lobby area, as the weather was still biblical. The sweeper went on and caught the others.
Of course all the taxi companies in town were shut, so I was stuck but I was safe and off my hip.
Later in the morning, the race org sent a mini bus to get me from the next CP, there was three other DNFs on there and then it took us to Minehead (where my car was) and we picked up another 2 DNFs on the way.

They were heading out again to pick up others. So it was not my day, two DNFs in one year is very hard to take. I have a 50 miler in Nov but I’m thinking of canning that until i can get to the bottom of this hip issue.

Ironically, my knee felt fine until i was actually driving home! :laughing: So I only managed 51.4kms in 8.5hrs and 1300mtrs vert but I did get some good night experience.

Thanks for following.

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Hey FP, how ya doin? feeling a bit better today ?

Thank you for writing a report, I really like hearing about people’s experiences good and bad. I like the honesty. My first reaction to your day was “oh, c–p, that’s really awful” and your hip injury definitely is bad and needs to be dealt with. And that knee of yours needs a bit of a talking to, if you ask me - first it gets you worrying 2 weeks before the main event, then it’s pretending to be okay and then when you’re feeling really down, it decides to make you feel worse on the drive home.

But, you know, all those months of training are not worthless. They’re kms in the bank that will help you recover quickly and race again next year. You definitely had an experience, even if it wasn’t the one you wanted and that is one of the main reasons we do such events. Achievements are nice to talk about, but it’s those difficult/dark experiences that make us mentally stronger. So yeh, it’s not all bad. And hey, one of my worst fears about ultras is getting lost and ending up in the middle of nowhere injured. You can tick that experience off now -been there done that and survived to tell the tale.

Changing the subject: Some of those coastal trails are really scary. I’m okay with most sheer drops (maybe not at night :anguished:), but I hate descending down a steep slope to such a trail. Especially when there is nothing to hold onto.

glad you found somewhere to spend the night and got home safe. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi Anna,

yes moving better today thanks. Quads and calves are a bit tight. Might go for an easy 10km tonight just to shake them out. Yes it was certainly some kind of experience! haha.
There is a film here but I’m not on FB so don’t know if it will work. (that’s me at 1.25 in the grey/blue OMM jacket, waving at the camera)

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Glad you’re moving better and hope your ego is a bit less bruised. Watched the film, that race looks amazing, truly epic and and I hope you go back next year and try again :smiley:

Will you get your hip injury diagnosed?

Yes I’m really hoping to. I’ve left a message with the physio that has been recommended and when i see him I want to see if he recommends an MRI. I don’t have private insurance, so the wait on NHS could be long but I’ll pay for it privately if I have to.
I just need a diagnosis and a plan :crossed_fingers:

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Hope you don’t have to wait too long for an appointment and get a speedy diagnosis. Also hope it can be corrected through exercise. Take it easy and be kind to yourself. :blush:

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Hey FP, did you go for a run? how was the hip?

I went for an easy 5km tonight with my daughter. The physio I was told about is seeing me Friday and he wants me to do 2-3 easy 30 min runs to see if it aggravates the hip.
All good so far but it usually is on short runs. Knee is still a bit unhappy.

I’ve just resigned myself to fixing this for the rest of year. My next race is the Arc of Attrition 50 mile in Cornwall in January, so hopefully will come good for that.

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Great news that your hip is not troubling you on shorter runs, sounds like strengthening/stretching exercises will help - I’m sure the physio will put you on a plan. The hardest part is doing the exercises regularly!!! I can always go out for a run, but doing core/back/glute work regularly is really difficult for me. One of the reasons I climb regularly, it really helps reduce my back pain and gives me good overall strength.

Have you tried taping your knee yet? I keep forgetting! went on a 12km trail run yesterday and could feel my knee for the last 2 kms. That’s when I remember I should have used tape!

Arc of Attrition 50: looked that race up, looks amazing! Real suffer fest. I can deal with the cold, rain, mud and wind, but self-navigation? I’m notoriously atrocious at navigating anything - I suffer from right-left confusion and can’t, for example, spontaneously point and say left/right. Hence my fear of getting lost, as it’s very likely I would actually get very lost!!

In January I’ve planned to go snow shoe hiking in the mountains for a long weekend. Never done this before! So I’m training for this at the moment and trying to get some strong mountain legs. The Uphill athlete website is a really good resource for this, I bought their excellent book recently too.

Hi Anna,

I have not tried taping as I was worried I was going to do something different so close to the race but now that’s done, I feel a bit more relaxed about experimenting with it and I will raise with my physio (hopefully he can give me a demo!)

Yes Arc is pretty tough (I’ve never done it), traditionally, it’s a 100miler that starts the day before and the 50 has only been run a few times. The 100 has an average of 60% DNF mainly due to the tight cut off. I may get timed out on the 50 but we’ll see.

Yes S&C definitely needs proper attention. I broke my back some years ago and had 18mths and 6 operations to get walking again, so that is important to me but I need something that’s focussed on my hip/knee rather than just general mobility.

Thanks for the Uphill Athlete shout out, I’ll take a look. :+1:

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