Thunder Run 2014 – 1/3

Earlier in the year I was asked if I would join a team of 8 runners to do a 24 hour run at the end of July. There wasn’t much more detail except it was a 10k loop, you camped there and someone from the team was on the route at all times. I thought, why not? It’ll be fun.

Eileen, her husband Mark and I travelled down to just north of Birmingham on Friday night, and stayed in a premiere in the night before the event started. We had a good breakfast on the Saturday morning, then travelled the rest of the way to the camp site on Saturday.

Clyde came along to be our mascot.

We got there quite early and it was already scorching got. After we set up camp, and before we started Mike who organised the entry to the event sorted an order that we’d run in:
– Mike
– Lorn
– Billy
– Eileen
– Al
– Susan
– Mark
– Sarah Jane

It meant if we all ran around an hour, I’d likely get a very hot run, a dark run and an early morning run as the sun came up.

I was second to go for the thunder run. Who knows what the temperature was but it was hot that’s for sure. I was taking the baton from mike, who was the first runner. He thundered home in around 53 minutes I think. I ate bits and pieces before I left (banana, oat bar and something else) and had a couple of gels with me.

We’d had a good breakfast at the hotel, two coffees and plenty of water. It took around 15 minutes to walk from camp to the start line, so I wandered up at around 1230. I saw mike come in and shouted his name loud. He saw me and the changeover was efficient. I thought I’d try to keep my heart rate below 165 most of the way, but with the heat and the unknown terrain it was a bit of an unknown.

It was roasting at the start line, and I was seriously concerned that my cape would melt in the heat. 😉 as I was waiting for mike, I saw a guy come in after about 45-50 mins. In the heat he looked very disorientated and I’ll. he ended up being carried away by an ambulance.

Mike came in just after 53 minutes… And then it was my turn.

At around 1pm, I started off with a nice girl, safe, steady and easy ish pace. I started chatting to her and found out she was a triathlete and she was going to do 2 laps this time around. She ran ahead of me on the uphills and I caught her on the downhills. I ran all the way. And it was good to see the route in daylight. I remember noticing the downhills: 1.2 miles, 2.4, 3.2, 4.2, 4.5, 5.2 I think.

Miles 1 and 2 seemed to take forever. Where was the water? Dry mouth, even though I’d been drinking all morning. Through Forrest trail, I was trying to be careful and allowing myself to fly down the hills, arms out. On the open and grass it was HOT and I just tried to jeep going. 5k in about 30 mins. Water at last. I stopped and had two cups and drenched myself with a sponge. Relief. I really thin they could have done with more water stations on the route.

My heart rate was high, 165 and I kept trying to bring it down. 4 miles through Forrest again, I got a few cheers and started to feel strong at last. I took a caffeine gel and powered on. I hadn’t taken my iPod on the first one but I thought it’d be a good idea to wear it in one ear for any more runs I did.

Just before 8k / 5 miles the route opened up into a grass path looking over the countryside. I made a conscious effort to take it all in. Head up, look around. It wasn’t as pretty as Scotland, but it’d do. I started to go down hill again carefully concentrating on where my feet were going.

Just after the 8k mark, I was running down the hill near our camp and heard everyone shouting my name. I high fives the kids, and it all spurred me on. I knew I only had about a mile or so to go.

Switch back a few times and I caught the woman I’d run with at the start again. Heart rate 170… I chatted with her and wished her well for her 2nd Lap and her triathlon she’d mentioned earlier. She pulled me up the last hill, hot on her heels. Heart rate 180. Ouch. Not nice!

I saw some runners going uphill again and I dreaded that I might need to do it again. But I took a left, passed the woman and kept going, strongly down to the transition area / start line.

Run 1: too hot! 58 mins, avg HR 165, max HR 180, Garmin Training Effect 4.8.

I found my handover Billy easily enough, and got my bottle of water from him before he started his run. Plenty of water and I think I went back to the camp. It’s all a but of a blur. I’d decided I wouldn’t go for a shower after my first run and instead lay in the front of one of the hot shaded tents.

I had a £20 note in my pocket and got a berry smoothie as I didn’t feel like eating anything but it seemed like a good nutritious option.

I wanted to get back to camp and sleep but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep so when I got back, I just rested and tried to relax and recover. The tents were way too hot to sleep in. A bit more food, more water and I was peeing again. I must have peed 50 times. Lol.

I took a couple of neurofen, and tried to relax. I was taking everything slowly and noticed I was feeling the heat.

lorn 1

I had some bloks for a sugar hit and went to see if I could get Eileen after her run. I had more water, more pees, and got Eileen after her run. I helped her back to camp and tried to get her to drink and eat. Later on I had a good burger, a banana and more water. First run done! 🙂

Look out for my posts about runs 2 and 3 and the rest of the event soon… 🙂

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