Team WhittleFit racing roundup - 12th, 13th & 14th April 2019

 

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We had quite a few WhittleFit athletes racing this weekend, lets see how they got on: 

  • Dead Sea Half Marathon: Merry used the Dead Sea Half Marathon as a tough training session on Friday, coming home in 1hr31. Well done Merry, bodes well for next weekends race and your upcoming races. 
  • Ultra Tour of Arran: Myles Povey successfully completed the Ultra Tour of Arran this weekend. This event looks stunning, if you fancy doing something a little bit different, check out the Ultra Tour of Arran. 
  • Bynea 30 mile TT: Andrew Martin and Lawrence Cronk raced the Bynea 30 mile TT yesterday, congrats both, Andrew placed 3rd (2's off 2nd place) and Lawrence placed 7th. Well done guys, this bodes well for your upcoming big races! 
  • Llanelli half and full marathon: We had Finn Artenz (half) and Craig Fowler (full) racing the Great Welsh Marathon race. Despite sickness, Finn secured 3rd place in the half distance race and Craig finished bang on schedule (3hr26) for the full distance marathon, as part of his training for Ironman Wales in September.  
  • Tour de Gwent sportive: We had lots of coached athletes and friends taking part in the Tour de Gwent sportive, well done all on a very cold morning!  
  • Amman Valley Sprint Triathlon: Josh Lewis raced his 1st ever triathlon at the Amman Valley Sprint Triathlon yesterday and came a very commendable 17th place, well done Josh! 

Team WhittleFit racing roundup - 6th & 7th April 2019

 

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We had quite a few athletes and lots of friends of WhittleFit racing this weekend, lets see how they got on:

  • Vienna Half Marathon: Lyndsay and Craig Patterson raced in Vienna this weekend at the Vienna Half Marathon race. Having not really trained many long miles Lyndsay still came away with a time only a few minutes off her PB and Craig was solid, running under coach Chris's orders to run at marathon pace (to help protect an ongoing injury). Well done guys! 
  • Machynlleth Sprint Triathlon: Steve Rowlands raced the Machynlleth Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, and sneeked a win, by 4 seconds! Great work Steve!
  • Reverse 10: coach Henry raced the Reverse 10 mile race on the weekend, coming in the top 10 and 1st vet, nice work coach!
  • Challenge Salou: James Peters raced the middle distance triathlon in Salou this weekend and came away with a sub-5 hour time and a PB, nice work James!
  • Penarth Duathlon: we had lots of friends racing the Penarth Duathlon (a great turn out!) and coached athlete Luke Pryce came away with an excellent 3rd place for his first ever podium! Great work Luke.
  • British Elite Duathlon Championships: Tom Foster raced in the Elite field at Bedford this weekend at the British Duathlon Champs. This was a stacked field and Tom did himself proud, mixing it with the elite and full-time professional athletes finishing a very respectable 25th position.
  • RWC Vale Ultra Half Marathon: Cath Colleypriest, Emma Edworthy and Ben Tipping raced the Vale Ultra on Saturday (Ben did the 18 miler (edit: Ben finished 9th) and Cath & Emma did the 32 mile race). Very impressive displays all round, well done all, the WhittleFit coaches are extremely pleased!   

6633 Arctic Ultra: The aftermath……….

 

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It’s been a few weeks since I completed the 6633 Arctic Ultra and I’ve had some time to reflect on the cold, the wind, the distance and the endless pulling of the pulk. I’ve written several blog posts after the race and these blog posts have been quite cathartic and made me think more about the actual race itself. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment and forget the little things that were going on at the time, so writing the blog posts were a good exercise for me.

There were a few things I didn’t mention in the blogs (because I forgot or didn’t appreciate them then), one of them was the amount of sleep I got over the 9 days of 'racing'. After counting up the sleeps and my mini-naps I calculated that I had 19 hours sleep over 9 days, which works out at a little over 2 hours of sleep a day……for 9 days! This explains the fatigue and the hallucinations, but one thing we must remember is that this was self-inflicted. I chose to sleep so little. I had to keep moving to meet the cut-offs (and keep warm), so sleep wasn’t a priority; moving was a priority. A good friend of mine who completed the 6633 last year told me before the race “If you aren’t moving, you aren’t finishing”. And this is so true. You have 383 miles to cover in 9 days, so you have to keep moving. Not sleeping is a form of self-torture and it was my choice at that point in time. Sleep deprivation can drive a person crazy (there’s a reason people use sleep deprivation as a tool of torture) and my mind was all over the place at times!

Read more: 6633 Arctic Ultra: The aftermath……….

6633 Arctic Ultra: CP7 to the finish (Gateway to Tuktoyaktuk)

 

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We're cold but have to move to get warmed up. We also can't hang around as we know that we're very close to the cut off time and need to move quickly to make sure we get to the finish line on the Arctic Ocean before 10:30am tomorrow! 

We haven't seen that many other athletes since day 3 of the race and we know that David left the check point at Gateway about 4 hours ahead of us, so we're pretty sure we won't bump into him; and as we're not racing it's not important to us at all. We start to warm up, then have to stop for some running repairs on Hayley's contact lenses. As much as I tried I couldn't push that little lense against a squashy eyeball! So her three layers of gloves come off and she pops it in in a flash......easy! 

We continue on and we come over the brow of a hill. Hayley stops suddenly. She pushes me forwards and says "Is that a bear?" Now I'll be honest, my long distance sight isn't the best, but I did see what she was talking about. Indeed, in front of us was a tall dark creature, standing upright on two legs. It took a second to come into focus, then I noticed that the 'bear' had a small 2-man tent and a pram. It was David (yes, he was pushing a jogging stroller/pram rather than a traditional sled). He had just gotten out of his tent, was stood upright, stretching in his large black insulated jacket and trousers. We were safe! 

David was struggling, he just couldn't get warm, so had decided to get into his sleeping bag and try to warm up. He was talking about quitting, but the sunrise had slightly swayed him and was now contemplating carrying on. He'd called one of the support crew and we all decided that Hayley and I would continue on and that he would probably catch us up later on down the course. 

Read more: 6633 Arctic Ultra: CP7 to the finish (Gateway to Tuktoyaktuk)

6633 Arctic Ultra: CP6 to CP7 (Inuvik to Gateway)

 

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We leave the checkpoint at Inuvik just as the sun is rising, suitably refreshed and ready to tackle the remaining 100 miles. On leaving we're told to wrap up as it's -32'c further down the course, we heed their advice, wrap up and get going!  

We're both feeling great right now, we're ticking off the miles and dreaming of the finish line at Tuktoyaktuk. We're very confident........too much too soon?

We're sticking to our 2 hour on/15min off schedule and also adding in a quick stretch every hour; Hayley's ankle is sore and our bodies are tired, so these 2 minutes stretches really helped with the tightness we were feeling (in pretty much all of our muscles). The course is hillier than expected, we knew it was due to flatten out soon, and it didn't come soon enough as some of these hills were now taking their toll on us (the race director said this part of the course is undulating, not hilly, I beg to differ. It might be undulating in a nice warm 4x4 truck, but it's certainly hilly on foot, after 7 days of hiking).  

The route now is quite open, there is little tree cover and where there are trees they're stunted by the cold. In fact, the further North we've been travelling the less and less trees we've seen, I guess a result of the colder Arctic conditions as we move nearer to the Arctic Ocean.

We stop for a break and the offical photographer, Weronika, stops for a chat and takes a few photographs. As I'm changing my socks I notice some paw prints, I ask Weronika what they're from (she's a local, so knows her wildlife) and says they're too big for a coyote or wild dog, they're wolf prints! We hadn't seen any wolves so far (a colleague did see a big black wolf on Wrights Pass), but I was keeping my eyes peeled from this point on! Check out their paw prints in the photo below! 

It's now mid-afternoon and Hayley is starting to struggle. Her pace dropped dramatically and something had to be done, we couldn't carry on like this. I ask her to pull over, at exactly the same time we both say that she needs a sleep.....great minds and all that. We ignored the bivvy for the first time and simply lay face down on our sleds and were out in seconds. For some reason we both woke up after 5 minutes. I decided we needed more time, so set my alarm for 15 minutes and back to sleep we went for a super-quick power nap.

Read more: 6633 Arctic Ultra: CP6 to CP7 (Inuvik to Gateway)