Week 2 – Chiltern Challenge 50k

My legs have been quite heavy all week after the Wendover Woods recce.  On Monday I managed 30 minutes easy and on Tuesday I managed 10k easy around the woods.  After a 0330 start to catch a flight and lots of walking in CDG airport I went for a short 30 min leg stretch around the film camp before another 10k on Thu morning.  I also had a 70% dark chocolate magnum – never seen one on these shores but it was epic.

Friday was an epic travelling day so I took a rest day and arrived home at 2300.

I awoke at 0600 on Saturday and had some coffee.  I also started packing for the local 50k Chiltern Challenge Ultra which I hadn’t entered but was hoping for a response to my “can I enter on the day?” questions!  At 0700 I was told I could so I finished packing and discussed the plan with my patient better half.  So I drove 40 min to the race, registered and got my bag ready.


*Parched earth, hard on my feet*

With it being a last minute thing I really made a mess of some key preparations.  I definitely didn’t east enough breakfast (coffee, 2x digestives, banana and a Tribe energy bar).  This really came into play after kilometer 30.

I started too fast for my fitness, the course, the weather and the distance! It wasn’t suicidal but it made things harder later.  My first few km was pretty quick and I was close to the front so I backed off recognising that it would be unsustainable.

Checkpoints were well stocked.  CP1 had “you scream, I scream, we all scream for Soreen”!    CP2 had watermelon.  CP3 & 4 had iced towels for the neck.

I ran with the ladies winner between CP1-2, very friendly and great runner – her first ultra too.


*Beautiful Chilterns*

I got no blisters but a couple of hot spots – not sure 50 miles would have been pretty.  The trail shoes were a bit hard for the parched earth.


I kept a 26 min/5 km pace until 30k and wasn’t suffering although it was really hot.  Just before CP3 we got attacked by a nest that must have been disturbed.  I got stung once on the hand and 3 times on the back of the left knee – one was through my calf guard. Through my calf guard!  We reached the CP and lots of others had also been stung.

I pushed on as the quickest way back was following the route but 30-40k wasn’t easy and it was probably about 12k (advertised).

I was able to run a bit from CP4 to the finish.  Garmin battery died 500m from the finish but it recorded most of the run. Finish time: 5:42:14


Je suis un ultra runner! It felt pretty good running into the chute and I finished 23rd but was later downgraded to 35th as some earlier starters ran quicker.  Out of 247 finished I’m pretty happy with that especially as I basically entered on a whim, I mean what kind of person wakes up on a Saturday and runs an ultra?! I didn’t realise the football wasn’t on in the evening.  Doesn’t sound like I missed much.


Breakfast and nutrition – have a plan.
Charge watch.
Consider your pace for the conditions and terrain and distance – especially for 50s coming up.
Shoe choices for terrain.
Ultra vest worked well.

IMG_4029Nice medal, ate watermelon #TeamLucy drove home.  I had a salt bath and used ibuprofen gel on my feet. The biggest pain was really the wasp stings!

Sunday will now be a rest day and then I get to do more travel next week – I get to go to the best places!

Did I enjoy it?  Sort of.  It wasn’t an A race.  To test kit, pain thresholds and properly prepare for the bigger races I need to go long, get blisters, be tired, wet, hangry and overcome all of those.  I spent the flights reading and listening to ultra podcasts; Kilian’s BGR, the Dragon’s Back race, you name it.  Full immersion to get those 1%ers that will help me finish the hardest multi-day ultra in the world.



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