‘Perfect Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance’
Coming in to today’s Endurancelife CTS Flete Marathon I was pretty sure I was lacking on the first 3 which would result in the latter 3!.. Aside from galavanting around my village dressed as an ostrich last weekend, I’ve done pretty much diddly-squat in the way of running since the Pendine ultra a good 7 weeks ago through my trapped nerve, working late and my va-va-voom in general va-vamoosing when it came to going out running or cycling. Nonetheless I braved the traffic (jams on the A303 at almost midnight believe it or not) and traipsed on down to the Flete estate accompanied by Pop Will Eat Itself’s ‘Wise Up Suckers’ for a day spent on the normally closed-to-the-public trails between Mothecombe and Bigbury-on-Sea.
This event runs on the timetable of the tides with the crossing of the estuary a part of all the different courses: the 10k, 1/2 Marathon, full marathon and ultra. To fit in with the way mother nature was running, the start to today’s run was going to be much later than normal with the marathon commencing at 11 in the morning, a time when we are normally about halfway through!
Stupidly when packing I had paid dutiful attention to the area's weather forecast which said a maximum of 13 degrees celsius and overcast throughout the day, so upon awaking by the race-base I found it to be beautiful sunshine with a lovely late spring warmth to the day already and my sunscreen left at home! At least I had my ‘Il Pirata’ hat to cover my thinning barnet and prevent the worst excesses of the sun from affecting me.
With the later start to proceedings today the pressure for time was off, so I was able to grab a snooze in the back of the van after a spot of brekkie whilst I awaited the registration to open and the briefings to be held.
Parked next to me was a people-carrier with a couple of runners who between them must have the highest mileage to get to the start of one of these CTS races: they may have only driven down from London for today’s run, but they hail from California and Sydney!
|Crossing the beach before the hills start in earnest.|
|The view from the cliff-top path.|
|Being caught by 'Coach Coleman'.|
|Looking back from whence we came.|
Leaving behind Rory and his client I was relieved to hit the first checkpoint as I knew this next part was going to be the easiest part of the course, heading up and round the Erme estuary.
Running on the trail above the estuary, surrounded by bluebells and wild garlic in bloom, with one breath you could really smell the garlic aroma stirred on the gentle breeze and then with the next breath your nostrils were assailed by the stench of rotting seaweed! Having said that, from this elevated position of the run I was able to watch as a pair of Avocets flew past - a bird I have never before seen in the wild.
|The mudflats of the estuary below.|
Out of the cool woodland we were back on to the coastal path, where we were to continue around in the opposite direction to 2013 and do the hard work of the hills first. In the heat of the midday sun my running mojo well and truly deserted me and I found each and every one of these energy sapping climbs a major chore.
|Approaching a still distant Bigbury,|
|The tiny spec of red near the top is Viv as she makes her way down the hillside.|
Soon recovered Viv and myself resumed the advance along the course and she soon left me in her wake over the remaining 3 hills we had left to conquer before the next aid-station at Bigbury. Coming out of the aid station we had a jog across the beach which was fairly packed with holidaymakers enjoying a day in the sun. With our path so close to the water it seemed a good opportunity to cool-off and I knelt in it, planting my hands in to lower the temperature of my blood.
|It seemed rude not to take the opportunity to cool-off here!|
|Heading upwards and inland.|
|Viv reluctantly splashing her way across the Erme.|
Oh well… Hindsight is always 20/20