Friday 13 November 2015

Race report: XNRG Druids Challenge (84 miles in 3 days) - Day 2

Day 2 - the day of Weather

Having spent 15 minutes in a cold shower, picking the mud off my legs at the end of day 1, followed by not the kind of dinner I was looking for and a fairly mentally difficult day, I'm not entirely sure how I ended up carrying on on day 2.  It got a bit worse before I started too...

I prefer to avoid large amounts of carbohydrates in my diet.  This means my breakfasts (when I have them) are usually based on eggs, avocado and cheese in some form.  Breakfast on day two was a choice of; boxed cereals, croissants, pains au chocolat, bananas, orange juice, and porridge.  So, porridge it was.  I'd normally start a run without breakfast if it starts in the morning and then eat when I'm done - this is what I did most days on my Thames Path trip last year, where I was averaging 31 miles a day and it works well for me.  However, on this day I really felt like having some breakfast, so I listened to that and had a pretty big portion of porridge.

Having felt quite demoralised on day 1, I knew that day 2 was going to be tougher physically despite being shorter.  Muscles would be feeling pretty used & abused from a pretty long run the day before, including having enjoyed some downhills a bit too much and challenged my quads somewhat.

So it did take a little while to get going and it was already raining by that point - the forecast was for rain until around 1pm and 20mph average winds.  And by golly the weather delivered.  I'd been warned it'd be quite exposed out on the ridge on this day and adding the extra miserable weather forecast, I decided to keep a long-sleeved top in my pack as well as my waterproof/windproof jacket.

Having been shivering with the cold before the start on day 1, a good few checkpoints yesterday and again today were asking me if I was cold when I would show up in just a skort & t-shirt and motor on through.  I only really got cold after the last checkpoint on this day, despite the torrential rain that fell from pretty much the start of the day until midday.  There were 20mph (average) head winds that swirled & gusted and didn't die down at any point during the day.  The rain stopped at midday, which was really nice.  But then it started up again about 45 mins later, getting harder and sharper and evolving into hail with the wind turning from a head wind to a side wind.  The rain > hail was so sharp it was hard to keep my eyes open.

You can see here from the look on Tim's face that it was pretty painful! 

Terrain-wise; there was a fabulous section through the woods, skipping over hidden logs and tree roots under the pretty Autumn leaves on the ground.  But as a counter point, there was more wet, slippery chalk to skate over too.  Much less of that than on day one, so much less crossness resulted. 

Having stopped to fill water bottles at all of the checkpoints on day 1, and take a snack or two at the later ones I reduced it to only filling water bottles on this day and a couple of bites of Marmite sandwich at the final checkpoint.  And I ended up drinking too much water.  I stopped for a wee 6 times!  Part of that was down to being wet to the skin all day and chilling my mid-section as a result, but I definitely felt water-logged as my hands swelled quite spectacularly, having been fine the day before, and I was feeling a bit queasy by the end of the run.

By the end of being soaked to the skin, chilled by the fierce winds and pummelled by sharp hail, I was so happy to see tea & coffee coming out of one of the vans at the finish line.  There was a short wait while one of the shuttle buses came to take a batch of us to the leisure centre for the evening.

Where, by the time I got there, there was no water.  Not even just no hot water in the showers, but no water at all and the pipes drained down pretty quickly with all that loo-flushing and hand-washing going on.  No fun at all.  So, I ended up using my damp sports bra to scrape the mud off my legs before putting on clean trousers for the evening.  The meal was much better though - a lovely fresh salad, sausages and pasta for those who like that.

Another trip to the Tina the foot-care lady was needed as the tape that was on my little toe since the previous evening had partly come off, bunched up and taken a lot more of the skin from my toe off with it.  This time it needed a bit more attention; dressing for the night to keep the iodine doing its job and then it'd get some hospital-grade burn dressing in the morning to protect it during tomorrow's run.

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