Last weekend I was all set to run the Caesar's Camp 100 miler. Caesar's is somewhat of a UK ultra running institution, and is one of the tougher events on the calendar - largely due to the Race Director, Henk, who likes to make things difficult for his runners. I worked with Henk at the North Downs Way 100 last year, and we had slightly different perspectives on how to run an Aid Station; I felt that we should be aiding the runners, whereas he thought we should be calling them all c*nts and kicking them out. Both perfectly valid techniques! But as we approached the race I was shitting myself.
Unfortunately, I don't mean that figuratively.
About two days before the race, I came down with a pretty nasty gastro-enteritis bug. Very unpleasant, and very much not the ideal way to prepare for running 100 miles. In the end, I couldn't even leave the house to go and watch and cheer other people on. The timing was impeccable, so chalk that up as another one in the "man, this year has sucked running-wise" column. Sigh.
Determined to actually run something, I signed up for the Stort30; a 30 mile Challenge Running event organised by Lindley Chambers not too far from my house. The race is a 15 mile out and back route following along the River Stort Navigation Channel in Hertfordshire. Navigation is pretty simple (if you're not in danger of falling in the water, you've probably gone wrong somewhere), but temporary arrows had been painted on the floor at any point where you needed to do something other than "keep going straight", so navigation certainly shouldn't be an issue - a dangerous claim for me.