Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

March 14, 2011

Wuthering Hike (a.k.a. Haworth Hobble) 32 mi, 12 Mar 2011

Well, among the list of blogs I read, it seems that at least 5 of you have also completed the Wuthering Hike this last weekend.  Click to read Mike's, Nick's, Simon's, Ian's, Mike S, and/or Derby Tup's accounts of the race.  Perhaps that is too much race recap all at once...but they did have some nice photos, and since I forgot my camera, I don't.   Now if I just knew what all of you bloggers looked like (insert joke here about how all sweaty runners in spandex look alike), I could say hi on the starting line or afterwards over a cup of tea. :)

I wasn't feeling particularily energetic the week leading up to the race, perhaps becuase of the mega-exercise I'd had the week before in Fuerteventura.  I guess the warmth and sun inspired such levels of exertion that I had nothing left.   But back to the race, my low energy level sort of carried on to that as well.   On the drive over to the start, which was nicely under an hour for once, I drank a whole bottle full of hot tea, which is definitely not normal for me.  My stomach didn't really deal with all the liquid before the event commenced, either, and I could feel water sloshing in my innards every time I picked up the pace and ran.   Bad idea.  Note to self:  don't drink so much before a race.   My stomach never did digest all the water, so I ate some food to try and damp it down.  That didn't help either as I started cramping as I ran.  And then of course I got thirsty because my mouth was dry, and drank more water.   Ah, well, let's just say that running down hills, usually my strength, was quite painful and jolting.  Once I figured out that it would be a slow day, I gave in at one checkpoint and took a jelly-filled donut.  Not really great to eat on a sloshing stomach, or really during any long run in my opinion, but boy did it taste good!   I did sort of gag at the thought of eating multiple hot dogs, though, which were being handed out at one checkpoint.  I can't imagine eating a hot dog while running...much less three of them in one huge bun.    

The race, which was forecast to be hilly (not a surprise when the route goes any where near Stoodley Pike), was even more hilly than I imagined, or really wanted.  I stayed close to my hoped-for pace of 5 mph for the first couple of hours, then hit several hills in a row that were wickedly steep and went on and on and on and on and on.  By the time those were over, I was miles slower than my predicted finish time.   Yet the weather was nice, cool but not cold, cloudy but not rainy, and it was much less boggy and muddy than I had seen elsewhere.  It seems that every time I get out on the trails in England, there is always a surprise bit of scenery that is amazing to behold.  See the pictures of those suprises here, oh wait I forgot the camera.  Suffice to say that I did enjoy the scenery, even when I was huffing and puffing up the hills.  So I kept plodding onwards, and made up a bit of time in the flatter sections nearer the end. 

This was the first race of the Runfurther Series (I may do all 12 one year, but this will not be that year).  The race photographer stationed himself on a hill and entertained himself by trying to get us to run up it for his photos.  Needless to say, mine are not very flattering.   Luckily I don't even feel tempted to paste one of them in here as they are copywrited, and won't let me :) 

As there were always people around me to follow, I never did pull out my map and navigate for myself.  However, my recall of the route description and my map plottings the night before was surprisingly clear, as at each intersection I had to guess the correct route, I was right.  And thanks to a few tips before the start at tricky junctions, I saved myself and a few others some wrong turns by heeding Nick's advice. 

Fellow Reservoir Runner Peter and his teammate Jacqueline finally caught up to me with about 8 miles to go, after saying that they would "take it steady" from the start.  I was glad to have some company, and they helped push the pace a little, so the last few miles (which can take forever in an ultradistance race!) seemed to pass quite quickly.   The raindrops waited to fall until we could taste the stew back at the finish line.   At that point I didn't care if it rained all the way driving home (it did), as I had made it round, in just over 7 hours.  Sloshy stomach or not, my legs felt strong, and I think I am starting the year out fine, towards my soon-approaching goal of the 100 miler at the end of May.


  1. Well done Dawn - great write up and hopefully we can say hello on the next start line. Good luck for your 100 miler

  2. Quite fancied this one, but usually quite a fast field I gather, and not that local for me really. I echo your thoughts about the start and probably knowing most people through blogging, but not actually recognising anyone!

    Keep strong for the 100 - it's getting closer! I'm still trying to work out my game plan for getting round... at least there's plenty of time to do so.

    We had a good view of Stoodley Pike from 'Elland Back on the Sunday - never a nice trudge up there - luckily we only had to view it at a distance!

  3. Dawn, you could always buy your piccies then you could stick them where you want - on the wall, on the blog. Of course they're flattering; you're smiling :-)

    Nice report by the way.