Race Report: TSUNAMI Ocean Trails
So yesterday I embarked on a 16 mile coastal run. This was in preparation for the 20 mile Red Rat in a month. The Rat distances are on difficult terrain, and so I figured, this 16 miles shouldn't be too bad, I've done hills, I've got this. I WAS SO WRONG! 😂
17 June 2023
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Registration started at 8.15am and the clouds were in, with any luck this will be a cool run (I was also really wrong about this!) We got buses over to the start at Hartland Quay, at this point I started to notice the high numbers of men and everyone looking pro, I may have really misjudged this run. So, we meet at the start and everyone is off, and that was the last I saw of them all! I went out fast to keep up, but within a few miles it became apparent that I was doing this solo. The sweep caught up and after nearly dying up a hill, he kindly dropped back so I didn't feel pressured.
I was hitting mile 5 and the first check point, and I was feeling strong. The first section in 1.5 hours, get in! The views were beautiful, the coast was dramatic and rugid and my new poles were going well and helping me keep momentum. The food was good, fresh fruit and a few essential sweets, and off I went.
Now, from this high, it quickly deteriorated. The temperatures quickly started to rise and there was a big hill, then another, phew I made it, then another, uh oh! On every up, I was thinking I couldn't finish, my heart was pounding and I was struggling to breathe in the heat. At the top of each summit I had to sit down to ease the light headedness. However, as soon as I hit a down, and the breeze, and got going, I completely forgot the pain and was loving life. Seriously, trail running is a crazy mental challenge. Mile 7, ouch, mile 9, not too far, mile 12, check point 2.
At this point I stopped, drank gallons of water and smashed the salted crisps. The sweep was great by this point, happy to cruise along with me, giving me the space needed, but he had started to notice I was tired. As he said "I looked like a toddler throwing my toys out of the pram!", me and my poles were falling out! He shortened the poles and gave me some tips.
Right, the hard part is done and only 4 miles to go, I can do this. I made the decision at that point to walk the rest of the way, take it easy and just enjoy it. Throughout the run many marathon and ultra runners were passing, so inspiring! I just keep stomping on and enjoyed the view, me and my poles are friends again, I'm getting a stride. After passing a dead sheep and a rusty barbed wire "style" Bude is in sight, hurrah!
From this point me and sweep just stomp on to get the miles done, I had to finish as he said he refused to carry my arse to the end, fair enough! We start hitting civilisation and the strange looks start from normal people enjoying the beach, bars and the sea. My legs ache, I'm covered in sweat and dirt, I'm sick of water and electrolytes, I am getting this done.
1 mile from the end and I start my victory run, I can see Bude Castle and the finish line, everyone claps and I did it!!!! This, hands down, has to be the hardest run yet mentally. I'm so pleased I finished, I'm so pleased I decided to just enjoy it, and I'm so pleased I proved that even less speedy runners can defeat this section of horrendous coast.
People from the outside ask me why I run, I can't answer this really, it's hard, it's sweaty and you sometimes want to quit. But you don't, you keep going, you push yourself and you achieve things you never thought you could....and you get a shiney medal!
This was a fantastic race, well organised, welcoming and well supported. The logistics at the start were smooth, the route had markers along the whole way (apart from when the sheep ate them!), everyone was encouraging and the check points had great food. It was a small event, compared to others I'd been to, but made up for it views, so beautiful.
In total it took 6 hours and was 3431ft of elevation. I have no idea what that means technically, but basically it means hilly as hell!
Lessons learnt -
• Poles are amazing, but you may fall out at times
• Being at the back does not mean you achieve less
• Sweeps are a life line, thanks to all those who volunteer their time to do it
• All day suncream works, but the sun finds all the places you missed
• I need an automatic car
• When the going gets tough, just walk
• Horseflies are evil
Hopefully I haven't put you off! If you want to challenge yourself, 100% do this run, I did and I'm glad that I did 💙