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Where Ravens Dare - Run


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Caerphilly, Wales
GB
Long Distance Walkers Association
14C / 57F
Sunny
Total Time = 7h 03m
Overall Rank = 13/95
Age Group = n/a
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Worked the night before and got to bed at 0200 am. Woke up at 0600 am, quick wash and a cup of coffee, packed by pack, then drove the c.12 miles to the start, which was at Machen Village Hall. I was expecting this to be a low key event, with, perhaps 30-40 people attending. I was surprised by the amount of people that had actually turned up. It may have been due to the out of season weather that had been forecast for the day. There were two distances being run/walked today, 27 miles and 15.5 miles.
Event warmup:

Firstly, let me point out that this "race" is not a "race", it is a challenge event. By that I mean that event placings relative to other participants are not really recognised. This is due to the organisers being a walking association, and it's cheaper from an insurance perspective if it is not classed as a race, thus enabling the organisers to keep the costs/fees ridiculously low (more on this later).

Upon arrival, I was directed where to park my car and went into the hall to register. I was asked if I wanted to start at 8 am or 9 am. I had opted for the 9 am slot, as I was going to run/walk the course and was aware that if I went off earlier, I would be waiting for cp's to open. How wrong I was.

I then went and sat down and was offered tea/coffee and toast, how very British :) nof which I had some coffee. I got talking to two lads that were sat next to me who had down the course before, were obviously very keen runners and looked very fit. They were going to set off at 8 am. Ohhh, mmmmm, nperhaps I underestimated this course. I explained I was pretty new to this and they offered for me to tag along with them. Bargain, switched my start to 8 am, and had 2 minutes to drink up and set off :)

Run
  • 7h 02m 13s
  • 27.75 miles
  • 15m 13s  min/mile
Comments:

This is a self navigation course, where you follow a map and route directions. I was a bit rusty with my map reading skills and new that this would be a challenge, but enjoyable.

On leaving the start point, everyone seemed to get into groups and headed, straight up, to the first check point. It was all very civilised, with people talking as they walked along briskly. If ever you were in the camp of running off too quickly at races, you should try one of these events :) It was 1.4 miles to the cp, with a climb of 1040 feet. Mostly on tarmac as we left the village, but quickly turned into a single-laned trail. It was going alright so far, but I was a bit worried at what I'd got my self into if that was only the 1st mile and a half.

Next two check points were spent descending, and it was rough under foot. Lots of loose stones and a fairly technical descent (in my limited experience). Quite easy to take a fall on this type of trail. We managed to get to cp3, 4.7 miles, in about 1h 10m.

From there, we headed up the next summit, Twmbarlwm, and ancient hill fort, with a climb of 1310 feet. Up to this point, I hadn't been directing the route, as the other two lads had completed the route before. I had been following my map as we ran just as a practice. Halfway up the climb, they took us down a lane to the left, we traveled for about 500 meters before I called a stop and said I think we were going the wrong way. On doing a few back bearings, I managed to triangulate our current position and quickly put us back on the right path. We should have turned right :) Army life was good for something.

Pretty much same old, same old, for the next few checkpoints, with us talking whilst we jogged the flats/downs, and walked the climbs. I managed to put us back on the right track three more times (seems he went the wrong direction last year also). I could have probably run a bit more than what we did, but struck up a chord with the two of them, so wanted to stick with them as the time was flying by.

We got to CP 6, distance 17 miles, total ascent 3658 foot, at about 4h 25 min. My knee was starting to ache a bit, probably from the thrashing they were taking on the descents. One of the lads I was running with gave me some Nurofen. We had some chocolate cake and a cup of tea, refilled our water bottles with juice, and were off. Ohhhh, I've failed to mention the food on these events. WOW, this is probably the only event were you can complete a marathon/ultra and put on weight :) Every manned check point had cup cakes, gateaux, fruit loafs, sandwiches, tea, coffee, juice. All for the princely sum of £9 (c.14.5 USD), bargain.

By the time I reached the next summit, the pain killers had kicked in and my knee was feeling better. We had another steep descent, partly on tarmac, down to the next cp, held in a pub :), Total tally so far 20.5 miles, 4679 feet, 2 cup cakes, 1 chocolate slice, 2 x Nurofen, bum cheek rash x 2 (1 per cheek), pack rash on lower back x 1, 1 pint of Guiness :)

On to the final ascent of the day, along the ridgeway, and back down the steep descent to the finish to give a total of 26.6 miles and 5708 feet of climbing (27.75 miles by my garmin, perhaps had to do with someone trying to take us the wrong way).

I was looking for 6 hours for this, but am happy with just over 7.

What would you do differently?:

Pack nurofen.

Get used to running with a pack more, increase weight gradually. Pack weight for this run was 16 lbs.

Practice map reading skills.

Join Long Distance Walkers Association and get in some hill walking practice. I really felt this run for days afterwards :) but in a good way :)

Take my camera out of my bag and actually take some photos (ffs).
One of the other walkers took a camera with them and posted these pics,

http://www.flickr.com/photos/john_pp/sets/72157636225232446/
Post race
Warm down:

Registered with the marshal, and was told to sit down at the table and they'll bring some soup and bread over.

Demolished the Cawl broth they brought to me
http://britishfood.about.com/od/maincourse1/r/welshcawl.htm

Then proceeded to sample the many different cakes on offer before collecting my certificate.

Had a check of my feet as I had wore my Salomons and these had ruined my feet on the Ultra I ran in 2 weeks earlier. I bought a pair of Injinji socks to try on this run, and they worked a treat. Only slight blistering on one of my toes, but I think that could have been sorted out with a bit of lubrication prior to running. I feel I could do with putting on a 2nd pair of socks over the top of these to add a bit more shock absorbing as I found the rocky trail section tough on the soles of my feet. Will definitely been getting a few more pairs of these. Not cheap though, at £10.00 a pair.

Finished scoffing my face, drove home for a bath, then off to work for a 15 hour shift :( that was probably the toughest part, trying to fit work around a long day like that.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Experience, fitness.

Event comments:

A---effing--mazing




Last updated: 2013-09-26 12:00 AM
Running
07:02:13 | 27.75 miles | 15m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/95
Performance:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/385910346 http://www.strava.com/activities/87042987
Course: Mostly trail route with over 5000 ft of ascent.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2013-10-09 6:41 AM

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Regular
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Caerphilly, Wales, uk.
Subject: Where Ravens Dare


2013-10-09 8:27 AM
in reply to: #4873573

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Royal(PITA)
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over the rainbow
Silver member
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
Sweet work!! Sounds like a very tough course.  Like the navigation challenge!  You sure got a bargain with all that food for a "no frills" event!
2013-10-09 9:43 AM
in reply to: #4873573

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Master
4745
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Paradise aka Englewood
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
Wow, way to get after it dude. That looks like an enjoyable event. I hope work was not too bad afterward.
2013-10-09 10:35 AM
in reply to: #4873573

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Master
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Rio Rancho, NM
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare

Wow. That sounds challenging and incredible! Tea and chocolate at the CP?! Sign me up! A pub CP?! Definitely sign me up!

I agree with you on the Injinji, pricey but worth it. I also use lube between my toes and on the ball of my feet to help ward of blistering. I really notice the rocks if I don't.

Sounds like a great time and you did well sticking with those guys and helping them out. Nice call.

Work after all that? Oh he!! no!

2013-10-09 10:36 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Master
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Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
Crazy climbs! Love the scenery. Less than $20??? I've paid more than that for a flat, ugly 5k! :/Great job balancing the "race" with the fun. Oh, and way to triangulate
2013-10-09 10:45 AM
in reply to: cdban66

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Champion
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Austin, Texas
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare

Wow - nice work! 

And what a great bargain for the price - complete with tea and cakes.  So very British 

How the heck do you even say "Twmbarlwm"??? 



2013-10-09 11:32 AM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Regular
609
500100
Caerphilly, Wales, uk.
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
Originally posted by blueyedbikergirl

Wow - nice work! 

And what a great bargain for the price - complete with tea and cakes.  So very British 

How the heck do you even say "Twmbarlwm"??? 




Really hard to write this phonetically, because there isn't a word in English that sounds like the Twm, part. Best I can explain is like the word time but without the letter i. Then Bar-lum. TM-BAR-LUM
2013-10-09 12:33 PM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Master
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Orlando
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
Originally posted by blueyedbikergirl

Wow - nice work! 

And what a great bargain for the price - complete with tea and cakes.  So very British 

How the heck do you even say "Twmbarlwm"??? 

That was my exact thought?!  I think it is a made up word.  This would have been amazing on its own, but coming 2 weeks after your ultra AND before a 15 hr work shift it's just crazy!  Great job.

2013-10-09 1:59 PM
in reply to: amd723

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Member
1137
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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
HOLY CRAP - that sounds like a blast!! Yeah tea and cake at a checkpoint? Why don't they all do that? oh yeah, but STILL!! LOL

2013-10-10 11:46 AM
in reply to: #4873573

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Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
The event sounds like so much fun and thanks for posting the link for the pics, it looks like a very beautiful, interesting area and all the raven stuff is neat, too.  Yes, it looks like 'nutrition' wasn't a problem!   Glad you had fun, met friends, and showed off your superior mad orienteering skillz!  Congrats!  You are one tough cookie squeezing an event like that in between two very long work days!
2013-10-10 1:45 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Master
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Raleigh, NC area
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare

Wow!  Sounds like a great event!  Good job!

Thanks for the Flickr link ;-)



2013-10-11 7:46 AM
in reply to: amd723

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Regular
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Subject: RE: Where Ravens Dare
Originally posted by amd723
Originally posted by blueyedbikergirl

Wow - nice work! 

And what a great bargain for the price - complete with tea and cakes.  So very British  :)

How the heck do you even say "Twmbarlwm"??? 

That was my exact thought?!  I think it is a made up word.  This would have been amazing on its own, but coming 2 weeks after your ultra AND before a 15 hr work shift it's just crazy!  Great job.

This.  The event and your scheduling around it are both incredible.  Very strong work :)  And +whatever for tea and cakes on a long distance event.  The pub? That just puts the whole thing over-the-top awesome.

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