At the weekend I ran the A100. As it was 3 weeks after Sparta and my quads blowing up I didn't have any expectations except that I didn't expect to finish!
The whole 21 and 1/2 hours I was waiting for my legs to give up but they didn't. My quads ached from time to time, but I tried to ignore them and keep running. After Sparta I did some reading and apparently, even though you think slowing will rest the quads and get you back on track it is the wrong thing to do. You really need to run through it. I also know that if I start walking for too long I never get running again. So I try to keep running even if I drop to 9 minute kilometres as I know at some point I will speed up again. I do of course walk the steeper hills still.
The race is 4 x 25 mile out and back spurs. During the first 25 miles I wondered what I was doing and was trying to think of a reason to stop, but I couldn't find one. On the second leg at mile 36 I went flying down a hill landing on my right elbow and knee and winding myself. I walked the last mile and a 1/2 to the turn point, thinking this was my reason to quit. I got some wet wipes and wiped the mud off, there were no cuts, just a scratch on my elbow. I turned to the guy at the checkpoint who was helping me and said ' I can't quit can I, it's just a scratch.' He of course said no. So I left for the return leg. I was a little worried my knee may have taken a knock during the fall, but it was fine and by the time I got to the cross over point at mile 50 I had forgotten all about it. So now I knew I would finish, whatever this race threw at me wasn't going to stop me. It wasn't going to let me have a decent enough excuse to stop!. I had 19 hours left to do 50 miles and 15 hours for a sub 24. I was even thinking about a sub 20. It was definitely doable at this point. The last 50 miles went without incident and I slowed as expected. Returning on the last leg I met Emily looking a bit lost. She had somehow gone in a circle and was heading the wrong way. I remembered her passing me a while back. We joined up and I showed her the right way back to the river. By now I had settled for sub 24 in my head and that was easy with a walk. However we teamed up and ran together the for last 10 miles and this helped me run a bit more than I was prepared to do on my own. Chatting and running made the time go by and we soon finished.
I enjoyed the race and it has made me wonder what I could do if I trained for it and didn't do it off the back of another silly season of too many races too close together. So next year is all down to the Sparta raffle. If I get in it's only Sparta and If I don't I have a race calendar to work out. A100?