I was pretty tired when the alarm went off at 7 am, on a drizzly Saturday 28th February. Annoyingly I had a bit of an annoying headache through the night and felt completely crap and definitely not ready to run 30 kilometres of hard mountain!
After a shower and good breakfast of toast and peanut butter, chia seeds and a smoothie, I felt much better and felt fairly calm whilst getting ready and chatting to my daughter Amaya, who had got up especially to see me off.
I had been in a bit of a dilemma as to what to take along as fuel but eventually settled on 8 salted baby baked potatoes and 2 gels.
I got to Cangas de Onis at 8:40 am, where I met up with Paul, who had been up since 4 am. I didn’t really do much of a warm-up. My thinking was, as I had so far to run, I really couldn’t afford to run any further than absolutely necessary.
Unexpectedly, I felt incredibly nervous at the start-line and stupidly, unlike Paul, ended up skulking at the back of the pack. This meant that when the race started, I got to the start of the first lot of single-track behind a huge queue of people waiting to start the climb.
Due to the poor start, I had to slow right down (possibly a good thing!) and didn’t get a chance to get past anyone until the start of the descent. On the downhill I bombed it and overtook about 50 people by the time I got back down to Cangas.
From there the route goes along the Sella a bit before snaking through the wooded hillside above. Again I found my self trapped walking behind other runners on single-track.
As the 3 hour cutoff at 18 kilometres started to approach I stated to worry that I would miss it if I didn’t push on. As it happened, after passing a load more people on the decent down to the suspension bridge over the River Sella, I arrived with 20 minutes to spare.
It gave me a big boost getting there and seeing my parents and Jane and Amaya waiting to cheer me on.
The last 10 kilometres up the final steep climb and then down to the finish-line were brutal! My legs were cramping and I was finding it really hard to put one leg in front of another but, even though, at times, I doubted I was going to finish,…
Before the race I had set myself two goals…
As I finished 211th, I achieved both and was, after a few recovery beers, on a real high. Despite being pleased with my results, I do think, with a better race strategy, I could have taken 15 minutes less and arrived 160th or so.