27 April 2009

The Long and Winding Road

I started the Compton 40 over three years ago, and finally finished it
yesterday morning. I have had a long rest in between.

As I recorded at the time, I completed the first 20-mile loop of the
figure-of-eight course in fairly good shape, and set off on the second
loop well aware that in five miles I would be at home, it would be
lunchtime, and I would be longing for a bath. Unsurprisingly, the idea
of running another 15 miles had little to commend it, and I dropped out
at that stage. Even running another half-mile down the road and back to
make up a Marathon distance was anathema. Strange how a few extra miles
can take you from feeling you can run forever to scarcely being able to

Yesterday, I set off from home to run that last 15, plus the five back
home from the finish. It was a glorious morning, and as well as the
route description which I had printed out (and which I had never felt
confident about being able to follow, having failed to plot it onto an
OS map successfully) I had the route saved in my Forerunner. I found it
absolutely brilliant - ave for one thing: the battery, which was about
three-quarters charged when I set off, ran out before I reached home.
But it got me round to Compton, which is what mattered. The display
showed an arrow pointing the way I had to go (well, to the nearest of
eight compass points, which was quite enough), and if I strayed it
beeped within a few yards to tell me it had lost the route and to point
me back the right way. I don't think the battery would cope with a fill
40 miler, though (it might be pushed to do a Marathon) unless I could
save enough power by shutting off the HRM, which on a long run like that
isn't doing anything useful anyway.

Just like three years ago, I flagged a couple of miles from home. I
think I had paced myself carefully for the first 15, though as much of
the course is on trails it is hard to judge the pace. I think I had
gone further than I should without something to drink - nothing more
than an energy gel to keep me going. I passed several pubs en route, so
if I try again I'll take some money with me.

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