Challenge639



Moving Forward at the Ultima Frontera

On Saturday 19th October I lined up for the start of the third edition of the Ultima Frontera. I was due to run the 83km version. Other options included 166km & a 55km. Both the longer events carry UTMB points.

The event starts in Loja, which I am sure in times past was a beautiful place as some of the architecture in amazing. However it is currently, in my opinion, looking a little tired. The nearest airports are Granada, and Malaga. The routes follow a mix of trails and road. Runners are taken into the Parapanda Mountains and through Moorish influenced villages. In the main the scenery is stunning. The trails were rocky at times, but not overly technical and some of the climbs long & unforgiving. In brief a testing but scenic route.

For my part I started with the sole aim of trying to secure a finish. The opening few km were nice & sociable. During these I held a nice even pace. Pausing to take the obligatory photographs of the views. All was going as I had hoped. At checkpoint 2 the 166km & 83km runners split from those on the 55km loop. The climb from this checkpoint pretty much broke me. I managed something in the order of 3km/hr as I laboured up this, longing for the end. When the crest finally arrived I was over heated and in a bit of distress. But there was a lovely tree at the top, offering some welcome shade with a nice area to rest. So I did. This undoubtedly saved my event. It allowed me to re-group. I was joined under the tree by a fellow Brit Wayne. We then shared the trails through to checkpoint 3.

We left checkpoint 3 together. After a few km we encountered a fairly technical & extended rocky descent. My momentum got the better of me & assisted by gravity I found myself separated from Wayne. Selfishly I carried on as I knew my body was slowing down & there were still lots of km to cover.

I reached checkpoint 4 in darkness. Unpacked my head torch & after a fairly entertaining self manoeuvres extracted myself from the chair and headed off for the closing 19km. I found the opening km in the darkness difficult to navigate & was nervous about my footing. After a bit I with reference to my watch I decided discretion needed to be put to one side. I needed to make progress where I could & limit my losses on the ascents.

My determination to make the finish was high on this one. I dug very deep & laid everything I had on the track. I got my finish. Not a great time, but I was very happy to have dug so deep & make the best use of what I had on the day.

Today I am immobile. Legs hurt, back hurts, pretty much everything hurts. But give it a few days & I should be back to my normal inflexible but mobile self. Reminding myself of how fortunate this makes me is what this run, and the. Other events I have started as part of Challenge639 are all about.

This is my last event of this year. For 2014 I have some exciting plans in the making that will hopefully help me raise awareness of muscular dystrophy further. Meantime thank you for reading...

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