Meet the Team :: Alice Hector

Meet Alice. Team Bike Science’s dark horse for a podium slot at the national relays? Maybe, if we can convince her to come back to racing triathlon!! Here’s Alice in her own words, plus a race report from her crack at the recent Cardiff 50 Mile Ultra run…

Former pro triathlete and European Long Distance elite medallist 2007, with 16 national championship medals in multisport events, I’ve taken a step back since then but still have completed an Ironman (6th pro IMUK 08), and won every local multi-sport race I’ve entered since (opening myself up for a fall here!) When I do triathlon now it is just for the feel-good factor but I do like to do well too!

Recently I have switched to ultra marathon running and won my first 50k race by 45 mins and won my first 50 miler in May this year, with no specific preparation.

My aim is to qualify for the GB team and compete and do well in the 100k Worlds in the next few years. Cycling and triathlon events will help along the way as they’re lower impact so I can develop my aerobic efficiency and muscle conditioning without damage.

Cardiff Ultra 50 mile Race Report

I entered the race on a bit of a whim, as I was bored one night and was browsing on the internet thinking I hadn’t achieved anything for a while. I saw this and thought ‘hmmm, could I?’ and then the fateful seed was planted. I had done 40-60 minute runs a few times a week for the past 6 months but nothing specific. It would be an interesting experiment to see how far I could get without having been meticulous. I entered the next day, 3 weeks before the event. That gave me 1 week of training before a 2 week taper! So I did a 2 hr run, then a 2hrs 30 run and a 3 hr 20 effort at the weekend. 2 hours was fine but 3 hr 20 was a struggle!

Then it was a case of not doing much for 2 weeks, just ticking. You can’t gain fitness in the 2 weeks before a race but you can tune up so I kept running frequently but just for a few minutes at a time.

I knew it was just a case of good self-management. I didn’t have the best fitness but I did have muscle memory and I did have good knowledge of race nutrition, so it was just a case of controlling the controllables and seeing how my legs/stomach held up. So long as nothing was too bad I would make it to the line.

During the race, after 2 hrs my legs started to go a bit. The thought of running for another 6 hours on tired legs kind of scared me, but the sadist inside me was like ‘Bring it!’ It was 20 miles further than I had ever run before which was a daunting prospect if I stopped to think about it, so best not to. It was just about all on tarmac too, and as a rule I don’t run more than an hour on tarmac as I find it so unforgiving. I knew I would be ok so long as I didn’t cramp, which of course is highly debilitating. The pain I could cope with but you can’t work with spasming stumps, so it was just a case of taking enough water and salt and hoping that that wouldn’t happen.

As it turned out, nothing really happened! My legs got really sore, sorer than I have ever experience by a long shot, but I just kept eating and plodding and picking off people who had failed to eat/drink enough. Women had been around me up to the 2 hour mark but me being me got competitive and decided I wanted to be in front so I ran off! It changed very quickly from just wanting to complete the distance to actually wanting to compete. I would have been far less happy had I come in 2nd.

At mile 43 I went wrong and ended up doing an extra mile. I slipped from 5th overall (out of the men) to 7th, which was disappointing, but hardly surprising; I normally do things like that. An extra hilly mile at that stage did have be throwing my toys just a little bit!

In hindsight I was too scared and held back too much, and with a bit more prep I know I can definitely push harder. All that was lacking was the leg strength: the ability to withstand muscular fatigue. Energy levels were fine throughout as was mindset. It was actually far easier than I anticipated. Less than half a day’s effort and I’ve achieved something really cool!

So after a good month of easy running I’m just about fully recovered and will look to do another ultra later in the year. I love the simplicity of ultra compared to tri. You just run. I like that :)

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