Breaking The 10 Hour Goal In My First 50 Mile Ultramarathon – L2M Review
Yesterday I ran the L2M 50 mile ultra which involves running from Aintree in Liverpool to Didsbury in South Manchester.
The race started at 6am and even though I tried to go to bed at 9pm, I couldn’t sleep at all which was a pain in the hole.
This almost led to me failing the kit check. It was only when I arrived at registration that I realised I’d left my litre water bottle in the hotel. Thankfully they let me run anyway as I told them that my plan was to drink as least a litre of water at every checkpoint.
I spent the first part of the race in last place.
I love finding my rhythm and relaxing into the race because most of these events take all day.
I entered the race with no real time goal in mind. I just made sure that my Rate Of Perceived Exertion was at the “you lazy cunt” level. I figured that if I just threw myself in the general direction of Manchester at a reasonable pace I’d have a great chance of getting there by Christmas.
The course was mostly on path and roads which was great for me as it meant I could find my flow from the start. It was because of this that the race flew by for me and I can’t remember much of it!
I remember getting to the half way point and not being phased that I had almost another marathon to go. I stopped thinking and kept my legs moving.
I ran with Mickey who I know from the lasted job I worked in Belfast. It was actually the first time I’ve ran with someone for a significant amount of time since my first ultramarathon back in 2013 and it was good as it meant I wasn’t focusing solely on the discomfort of running and it was good catching up with him.
It was around this time that the sun came out properly and I began to suffer a little. I was ready to throw my coat away but one of the marshals kindly offered to take it back to the finish line for me in his car.
With 25k to go I started to think a bit too much about my finishing time
In order to finish in a sub 10 hour time I had to run at about a 7:30km/min pace for the rest of the race. Instead of calculating and sticking to a set pace , I made the decision to just fucking run. I didn’t worry about the consequences of not achieving a sub 10 hour time. I wanted to finish strong.
I kept catching other runners which was encouraging.
I got to the final checkpoint at 8 hours 10 minutes.
This left 1 hour 50 minutes to run the remaining 7 miles.
With less than a mile to go I went off course. I had 25 minutes to run the last mile but I wasn’t sure which way to go and capitulated mentally for about a minute and started calling myself a failure and all the usual shit. I’m not a victim anymore so I gritted my teeth and crawled up that grass hill on all fours like a fucking dog and as I got to the brow of the hill and I spotted the correct path.
At the end of that path they made us do a lap of the rugby pitches which was the same punishment I used to get as a school boy who respected himself enough not to want to take part in Rugby, the flirting game for middle class wankers that masquerades as a sport.
I finished in 9 hours 47 minutes and came in 82nd place which was a lot better than I was expecting.
What drove me to finish as quickly as possible yesterday was the urge to show myself how much my drinking was holding me back in my life. I need to keep showing myself this too.
I sat chatting with Mickey for a while at the end of the race and we got the taxi back to Piccadilly.
Before that I got pulled in by the Search and Rescue team as my face was turning blue which was of concern to them. After ultra marathons I’m always a mess as I usually just sit around in my wet running clothes. At least this time I got a shower and changed into my clean clothes but I was a bit fucked up as I couldn’t eat anything. Hell, I spent 20 minutes in the shower doubled over retching like a banshee. Good times.
Thankfully things got better at Piccadilly Station and I ordered this for dinner.
The train back to London from Manchester was awkward.
My reserved seat was with a family of 5 and they were loud and very chatty. I was looking forward to just relaxing but it was not possible as they kept asking me questions and offering me food. They saw that I looked unwell and adopted me as if I was a rescue animal. I felt like a complete cunt. My only thought was to stand on their table and start kicking their food around whilst screaming “SNICKERS YOU CUNT!” at the top of my lungs.
I pretended to be sick, picked up my bag, got off the train and walked up to the next carriage, got back on and found a single unreserved seat.
This wasn’t before I caused a stink on social media about my situation.
I ran tonight and succeeded in my “let’s run like this fucking ladder again” challenge around Bruce Castle Park. I did a 5k in 41 minutes.
The event itself is really well organised and easily worth the £49 entry fee. The medal I got for finishing in the top 100 finishers will make for a useful weapon if someone ever breaks into the kitchen here in Tottenham. It’s fucking huge and cool.
I’d recommend this event as a first ultra to anyone. It’s friendly, surprisingly well organised for a newish event and mostly on path making it a good choice for road runners who want to transition into ultra running.
They could get away with increasing the entry fee by £10 and introducing chip timing as it was a little awkward at the end lining up to have my time registered officially.
The signposting is pretty good too. It doesn’t quite live up to the signs in the Action Challenge series of events but then again those events cost £150 to enter, so it’s pretty impressive what they managed to put on for a low price.
At best I was expecting the event to be as good as Country to Capital but truthfully I think this one is a lot better.