We did it again – the Thunder Run 24. Last weekend we ran 24 laps of a challenging 6 mile course, 144 miles in 24:24:12! An avg of 10:10 minute miles.
In our team, we had 2 BBC staff, 5 dentists and a teacher. In order of running we were: Mike, me, Billy, Eileen, Mark, Susan, Al and Alison. Most people did 3 runs across the 24 hours, but Mark and Al wanted to do 2, so Mike and I offered to do 4. Clyde came as our mascot.
A bit of a step up for me since last years tough 3 laps, but if done the training and I was up for it. I’d also learned from last year, and was determined make an effort to fuel and sleep better this year. (Not sure if the sugar and caffeine below counts as fuelling better).
I also remembered after last year and how wiped I was so I was keen not to push it too much (keep my heart rate down and not let it go crazy high on the runs), and take care.
We got to the campsite on the Friday night, and it was raining. We dropped our stuff off and went for a very tasty steak the night before the run. We were well fed and had fun.
Then here’s what happened, food and runs for me. The plan was for me to run at approximately 1pm, 9pm and 4am (2 laps). The rain was meant to stop on Saturday, the weather to get better, then start raining again Sunday morning.
Food: Porridge, banana, coffee
Thunder run 1 – 12:52pm
6 miles: 65 mins / 10:53 min miles
Hot, very slippy underfoot for first 5k
avg HR 157, max HR 171
Garmin training effect 4.0
Splits: 10:59, 11:05, 11:45, 11:00, 11:11, 9:16
It was very slippy underfoot from the rain from the night before. I remembered my 1st run from last year and my heart rate being really high. I was keen not to push it, so kept my heart rate as low as I could, which meant my time and pace was much slower (8 mins). I was fine with that though, especially as it was quite warm again.
I had a nap in the tent afterwards, maybe got 1-2 hours sleep. This year I took ear plugs which really helped. And after each run I decided I’d make sure I ate, and that I drank a can of full fat coke too (for energy).
I went back and cheered on some of our runners, and I saw Mike and Al and Billy and Eileen changeover.
Food: Baked potato and beans & can of coke
Small mars bar
Green recovery smoothie
At 9 o’clock at night, it wasn’t quite dark yet, although last year I clearly remembered running in the dark at a very similar time. We might have been 20 minutes ahead of last year by this point. We were on run 10.
I got my head torch on, and an extra layer on top as it was starting to get chilly. Like last year, the second lap seemed easier than the first, and I managed to get around it well.
My avg hr was just 1 beat lower than the first lap, but my time was 8 minutes faster. The paths had dried up mostly by this point. On the route, the first mile is pretty much uphill, then it goes up and down for about 2-3 miles and the last mile is downhill. Once you get past the first 5k, you know it’s going to get easier.
Thunder run 2 – 20:52
6 miles: 57 mins / 9:33 min miles
Cool, fine underfoot, sun setting (not dark yet)
avg HR 156, max HR 176
Garmin training effect 3.8
Splits: 10:23, 9:14, 9:51, 9:41, 9:48, 8:03
Mike met me after my run, and I was grateful he accompanied me back to the camp in the dark. I’d hear the chips were amazing so I went to get some, and Mike suggested cheese too, so I got some, plus a can of coke.
I went back to camp and sat and ate my chips and my coke, in the dark, on my own, with my head torch on. It was quite a special moment. Lol.
Food: Chips and cheese & can of coke
Small Mars bar
I was finished my 2nd lap about 9:45ish, and by the time I’d had my food, I managed to get to bed for about 11. I decided the was no point in having a shower in the dark, and sleep was more important. So I gave myself a baby wipe down instead.
I slept from about 11-3 on and off, then was awake and ready to go again. I felt better than last year, but I think it’s because I knew what was coming and I was psyching myself up for 2 laps. I had a small mars bar, or maybe two before heading over to the start line. Then I had to rush to the loo for some not so fun, before I started.
Thunder run 3 – 4:24am
Lap1: 6 miles: 62 mins / 10:26 min miles
Cool, sun rising, still a bit dark in trees
avg HR 154 max HR 170
Garmin training effect 3.6
Splits: 10:44, 10:19, 10:54, 10:45, 10:26, 9:21
Lap2: 6 miles: 55 mins / 9:17 min miles
Cool, sun rising, dry underfoot
avg HR 160 max HR 172
Garmin training effect 4.1
Splits: 10:38, 9:12, 9:25, 9:07, 9:16, 8:03
Food: 2 caffeine gels on the run
2 porridge and a can of coke.
The 3rd lap was ok, as the sun started to come up, at around 4am. I had my water pack on and had two gels and I was going to take this lap easy again. I really managed to keep my heart rate down, and just enjoyed the run. The course wasn’t slippy, and I just ploughed on. I was pleased to see Mike near the end cheering me on (nearly 5am).
As I crossed the line the first time, billy and Mike were cheering me on. And Midnight cowboy by Schnarff Schnarff came on, which kept me going. My last lap, I knew I could go all out if I wanted.
It was getting light now and as I got to a steep grassy bit, just before mile 2, a woman in pink started to run next to me. I was going to slow it down on the hills like I usually do, but Lucy was going at such a similar pace to me I thought I could piggy back on her cadence.
I said to her ‘I think you might just get me up this hill’. We stayed together, and then I even managed to accelerate at the top. I left her for a bit on the down hill, then she caught up with me again, and she helped me up another hill. It was great. We ran together for a bit and got chatting. Her name was Lucy. And she really did keep me going.
We stayed together until about mile 4, where there’s a big downhill, and she finished not long after me.
I finished the last lap in 57 minutes, a whole 5 minutes faster than the 3rd lap, and my last mile on laps 2 and 4 were my fastest.
Food: Small mars bar
Green recovery smoothie
Small mars bar
After the last run, I didn’t sleep. But I did go for a well earned shower! I hung about a bit to cheer in Eileen on her last lap, and eventually went for my very long hot shower. I was more prepared this year with plastic bags.
I helped pack up the camp site, and by 10 or 11 in the morning (the time the rain came) I was starting to get hungry. One of the support team offered to get us a McDonald’s, so I jumped at getting a Big Mac. My food choices seemed to go down in quality and my performance went up! 😉
Alison finished her 3rd run in the rain, and our 23rd lap at about 11:30am, so Mike went out to run his 4th lap.
Afterwards, my body wasn’t all that sore, I was mainly tired, dehydrated and hungry. And the arched of my feet were sore on the Monday.
All in all another great time had, and now I’m just being careful to get rest, sleep and food to recover. And a massage on Thursday night. I might run again at the weekend.
Fri night 2-4, 5-9 = 6 hours
Sat nap 5-7 = 2 hours, 11-3 = 4 hours
Sun = 2-4 = 2 hours (in car), 11-7 = 8 hours