Written by Nick Grahame

Dorset Ultra was the third Ultra race I've entered, having got bitten by the bug earlier in the year. The biggest draw for shoe-horning this in at the end of the year had been the opportunity of points in time to enter an application in December for the 2018 OCC, but it was also a good chance to familiarise myself with some of the challenges of the Jurassic Coast, having signed up for The Oner in April 2018.

I traveled down the night before, and arrived with just enough time to register in the evening before retiring back to the Castle Inn to get my kit ready for the morning, and set three alarms!

The weather forecast had been mixed in the run-up, but by race day it had settled to a prospect of cloudy, but dry, with a slight chance of a shower. I packed as light as I could, packing only one extra item of clothing - a waterproof jacket. I'd been advised that the checkpoints were a little more sparse than some events, so included an emergency malt loaf, along with my carefully planned selection of gels, jelly babies, and energy bars.

Parking by the start was good, and as the route went through the car park twice, as well as at start and finish, meant that I could run my own support from the boot, rather than relying on the bag drop.

One thing I hadn't trained for was standing around waiting for the event to start - psychologically, this kind of threw me, as I'm so used to stepping out of the front door and just heading off. When we did start, I was colder than I would have like to have been, but the route immediately started with a slog up the coast over to Durdle Door which warmed things up. Garmin was acting up, and wouldn't load the route, so it was nearly two miles before I started logging distance and pace - another psychological niggle, as I like my data en-route to gauge my progress.

cts1

The next few miles continued west along the coast, with some brutal inclines. In terms of running, I'm pleased with my current fitness levels, and can knock out a consistent 9 or 10 minute mile for what almost feels like forever. What I was not physically prepared for was walking up steep inclines. Different muscle groups (particularly calves!) were screaming all the way up, to the point that early on I was wondering if I was going to manage all this - another mental blow. However, as the route turned inland to head back east, things levelled a little, and I was flying, and soon my confidence of carrying an average pace of 11 to 12 mins per mile returned. By the time we came through the car park again, everything was bang on track, and I felt good.

cts2

The run round Lulworth Cove though was a bit gnarly, but I found firmer footing closer to the water. The route then headed up again, towards the military testing area. At this point I realised that the hills on the western stretch were just a warning. The rest of the run out east was breathtaking, both visually and and literally in that it knocked the wind out of you. I'd used poles on my first Ultra in July, but on balance I've not bothered with them since as they haven't offered much help, and the rest of the time are a faff. Man, I wish I'd brought them here! Calves burning again, I was less demoralised, and saw the humorous side of it with my fellow runners. I knew that, like before, the hills were about damage limitation, and that I could claw back the pace on the return west. Right...?

cts3

The turn back west was where it all started to go south. The western return from the east loop is not forgiving. It's another combination of muscle burning ups and knee smashing downs. It was about 2 miles in when my old friend, ITBS, popped in to say hello. By the time we were pounding down the steps back to Lulworth Cove, I was having my "I'm never doing this again" moment. But the prospect of the looming car park, and the paracetamol I knew was in the glove box, was all I needed to get to the marathon check point. I've never medicated on a run before, but I had serious doubts about finishing, so I had a couple of paracetamol and, against the generally accepted wisdom, two ibuprofen, as I only had six miles to go.

cts4

Mentally I was in a strange place. I knew that I had those three hills west to do again, but at least they were a known quantity, and the last stretch home would be pretty steady. I took the opportunity to enjoy the view, something I had missed first time round as a result of fiddling with my Garmin, and dug deep into the "every step is a step closer" mantra. By this time, I was just focused on finishing, and any targets had gone out of the window. My leg was in a great deal of pain, and I joked to some passing competitors as I hobbled that it on hurt on the uphills and the down hills - but there was some truth in that fact.

cts5

As the route turned back east (at a different point to the first western loop), the course eased up, and I got into my stride again, and I hammered the last 3 miles, flying past other runners. Having struggled with some circa 20 min miles only a couple of miles ago, I was now knocking out 8 and 9 min miles. Mentally I was focused on at least getting that average pace back down into 12 mins "something", rather than the over-13 that was currently decorating my Garmin.

As I pounded down to the finish line, all the memory of "I'm never doing this again" was gone, and I received my medal with a smile. All things considered, I was pleased to complete in 7hrs and 5mins, although of course, the 5 mins is an annoyance!

cts6

The big take away for me is that I need to do more strength training if I'm going to be prepared for The Oner!

cts7

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next

Could you run a 200+ miler?

Could you run a 200+ miler?

Written by Neil Bryant  I have run a few races that I class as really long. These being single stage races, over 200 miles such as the Tor des Geants or the Spine. The main difference...

Read more

The Importance of Down Time

The Importance of Down Time

Written by Chris Ellyatt for the URC I’m sure that we have all seen a thousand articles on how important rest is to any athlete’s schedule. Indeed, it has often been...

Read more

Top tips to make you a better mountain r…

Top tips to make you a better mountain runner

Running in the mountains is hard. I’m certainly not going to say it’s harder than other running, but it needs to be treated differently. Many experienced runners get a sharp...

Read more

Marathon Des Sables - The Final Countdow…

Written by Andy Mouncey for RunUltra It is just weeks now till the glorious 1300+ will be heading off to Morocco to get their feet nice and hot on the sand...

Read more

How to run 100 miles in a day*

How to run 100 miles in a day*

Written by Dave Stuart - http://76thmile.blogspot.co.uk Or how to run a race and not get lapped by the sun  Things that are essential to do in the 6 months before you race -...

Read more

A New Year & A New You: A ‘Don’t Do’…

Written by Andy Mouncey - http://www.bigandscaryrunning.com Many people gear up to start a new year full of good intentions. Add some reality with these top five tips so you can avoid...

Read more

You Gotta Have A Plan – Dontcha?

Written by Andy Mouncey - http://www.bigandscaryrunning.com At least, that’s what all the lead characters in the great movies/TV thrillers have. In fact, they go further than that because they give at...

Read more

Recovering from injury: Q&A with And…

Written by Andy Mouncey for http://www.runultra.co.uk Andy Mouncey had thirty years of sport under his belt – thirteen of which were in ultra trail running. Then, disaster struck and he got...

Read more

The importance of fat metabolism in ultr…

Written by Mark Woolley - http://markstevenwoolley.blogspot.com.es Never has a topic, not just in ultramarathon running but in the nutritional world in general been subjected to a generalised pseudoscientific analysis as that...

Read more

One piece of advice before you run 100 m…

One piece of advice before you run 100 miles

Written by James Adams - http://www.runningandstuff.com If I had one bit of advice for this kind of thing, based on doing it a few times and failing sometimes; it would be...

Read more

Does dehydration impair endurance perfor…

Does dehydration impair endurance performance?

Written by Andy DuBois - http://www.mile27.com.au Feb 18 2014 For many years we have been lead to believe that a dehydration level of more than 2% will negatively affect performance and...

Read more

27 Ways To Improve Your (Ultra) Running

Written by Andy DuBois - http://www.mile27.com.au Many ultrarunners I know like to keep it simple; put shoes on, head out the door and run. There is nothing wrong with that approach...

Read more

Winter Trail Running Tips – part 1

Winter Trail Running Tips – part 1

Written by Nick Jenkins - http://nearlyshoeless.com I love winter running, Its the only time of the year that I can actually justify wearing tights in public, in the daytime.  Early starts...

Read more

Uphill Running

Uphill Running

Written by Nick Jenkins - http://nearlyshoeless.com Uphill Running – The best technique is the one that you already do. It’s been close to 4 years now that I’ve lived in the Ariège...

Read more

Mary Wilkinson’s Top Tips For Uphill Run…

Mary Wilkinson’s Top Tips For Uphill Running

Written by Mary Wilkinson - http://team.inov-8.com Mary Wilkinson putting her uphill running tips to the test in last year’s World Mountain Running Championship trial race Mary has represented Great Britain ten times...

Read more

Tom Addison’s Top-10 Tips For Faster Dow…

Written by Tom Addison - http://team.inov-8.com There’s no greater buzz in running than nailing a downhill. It’s you versus the terrain. To win that battle feels amazing! Being able to descend with...

Read more

6 things to do in the week before an ult…

Written by Justin Bateman - http://www.justinbatemanrunning.com If you're reading this I'm going to assume you've already signed up and trained for an ultramarathon. As such, I'm going to leave out any reference to...

Read more

Heel Strike – all you need to know

Heel Strike – all you need to know

Written by Andy DuBois - http://www.mile27.com.au There is a lot of discussion in the media and running circles about running technique, and specifically heel strike vs forefoot and the pros...

Read more

Share This

Follow Us