Confessions of a slow Ultra Runner – Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. To be honest I’ve just not felt like it. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes but that’s for another blog.

On 10th July this year (hopefully) I’ll be on the start line of Race to the Stones 100k. This race has been on my bucket list for several years and I finally decided to sign up, well for last year that is, so of course, it was deferred.

Whilst I’m now in training, I thought I should make note of some of my thoughts, so here goes:

  1. Weather – I don’t like weather! It’s either too hot, too cold, too windy or too wet. Can we just not have a nice temperate climate with no wind or rain please?
  2. Running – Sometimes I don’t actually like running. Those days when it’s really difficult and you feel rubbish, yup that’s when I really don’t like running.
  3. Hills – I really hate these. I have little short legs, those darn hills are really tough for me to get up. Mountain goat I will never be.
  4. Training – Trying hard to stick to a training plan, but the runs often get moved around dependant on what else is going on.
  5. People – I really miss running with people. So looking forward to that.

As this is just part 1 I shall leave it there for now. I am into my 3rd proper week of training and things are going okay. I know I’ll not be running the whole way and I’m doing the distance over the weekend, but that’s still over a marathon each day. I will be walking up hills and I expect there will be some swearing too. I just hope it goes ahead and I can get there. Travel arrangements have not yet been made.

Will do my best to update at least weekly, but there will be more confessions coming up 🙂

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Virtual Race to the Stones – Days 6 & 7

Didn’t get around to writing yesterday. Was a bit miffed at the end of Friday as the app was showing that I had completed more than I had.

Had no plan really for Saturday other than cover as much ground as possible. Ended up wandering round with Al as he was doing a town round. Then got some treats at The Kilted Frog then walked home. When I totalled up the distance it left me with 5.77 miles to go.

This morning I got out just after 8am. It was a glorious morning. I did thus time have an idea about where I wanted to go and my route took me into a more rural setting. I was serenaded with birdsong and the the beautiful smell of honeysuckle. It was just the perfect walk to end on.

I had planned to finish at a Stone circle close to me, but decided on finishing at a Pictish symbol stone in the town instead. Stopped to collect Al on the way and he accompanied me to the finish.

100k done 🙂
Almost there …
Smashed it 🙂
Woo hoo

Am so glad I signed up for this. Although I did the majority walking it was no easy task. By this time next year I will have done it for real. I would have never been fit enough to do it this year so perhaps a blessing in disguise.

My main issue now will be keeping up the momentum I have built up. I do have plan but I have form for being full of good intentions, then not following through. I guess you’ll have to wait and see …

Virtual Race to the Stones – Day 5

After an early alarm and the associated grumpiness I have had a great day today. Each time I was out I was grinning like a complete idiot. Definitely feeling the mental health benefits. Hoping I can keep it up to some extent afterwards.

Was great seeing the miles tick by and I laughed when I met a friend out walking with her daughter. We all paused our respective devises when we stopped for a chat.

Have had to double check my mileage and I have a half marathon to go. Had started to develop hot spots on my right foot but a change of trainers soon sorted that out.

Nearly there.

Going to take it a bit easier over the weekend, as I feel like I am in the home straight. Not sure how much I will do tomorrow so watch this space.

Virtual Race to the Stones – Day 4

Just a quick blog tonight as I am pretty tired. An early start and a lovely morning walk.

River view

Weather took a turn for the worse before lunch time but was pretty lucky to stay dry and even managed to fit in a cuddle stop (it’s Al’s day off) and a coffee stop.

Dark skies

Got out again after work and before dinner and was grinning like an idiot. Think I am actually enjoying this. Am now 67% complete.

Today’s mileage

Early alarm planned for the morning.

Virtual Race to the Stones – Day 3

No early alarms this morning, so up at my usual time but out the door shortly after 7am. It was sunny and warm. Had to take my jumper off for the most of the walk.

It got to lunch time and the weather had turned into cold and threatening to rain. Once I had warmed up there were only a few spots of rain so that was fine. Came home with a bizarre craving for peanut butter and banana on toast, so that’s what I had.

This evening was the best though. A socially distanced run with Annie (AbzAnnie1903). She went with the flow and after initially starting on a run/walk ratio of 90 seconds/30 seconds I was doing far to much yapping to concentrate, so just ran some and walked some. Noticed a sculpture I have never seen before which I really liked.

“Granny”

We had a little go on the swings and then carried on with only one more stop at the river to watch all the ducks for a bit. Very chuffed with just over 5 miles in total.

Distanced Selfie

Here’s how things looked for the day. Now 49% complete 🙂

Not surprised I am tired

Hoping I may be able to finish early but glad to be half way.

Virtual Race to the Stones – Day 2

I so did not want to get up this morning when the alarm went off. I *may* have sworn. Can’t say for certain as I wasn’t very awake.

After some major wrangling with my inner voices, I listened to the one that told me to get out of bed and get on with it. Was out the door by 5.30am and it was a lovely morning. Ended up doing a total of 4 miles which was a great start.

By lunch time my enthusiasm was waning a little but I took advantage of a break in the rain showers and got out again for just under 3 miles.

Weather break.

I was starting to feel quite sore. I must admit I have been pretty lazy lately, so this is a bit of a shock to the system. By the time I was ready to go out for my final walk of the day I was tired and sore. My legs are not best pleased with me, so this time it was a less purposeful walk and more of an amble which was just fine.

Day 2 done and dusted.

That’s now 32% of the distance complete. There will be some ‘running’ tomorrow and a rare treat in that I will be running with a friend. Can’t wait, so here’s hoping I am able to get out of my bed in the morning! 😂

Virtual Race to the Stones – Day 1

After insufficient sleep thanks to a needy cat I was up and out at 4am this morning in the drizzle for my first run in quite a while. I took it easy with a 4 minute walking warm up, then settled into a run/walk ratio of 90s/30s with a couple of minutes walking warm down at the end.

Thankfully by lunch time I was still awake and the weather was no longer wet but more windy. Fine for walking.

The weather stayed the same for the rest of the day so after work got my final walk of the day in.

Miles covered in day 1

Am pleased that I am off to a decent start with 9.58 miles covered, which equates to 15% of the total distance.

Planning similar for tomorrow, however hoping that the cat allows me to sleep a little longer.

What I Would Have been Doing …

Well if COVID-19 had not have happened I would be settling down in my hotel room in Swindon having completed Race to the Stones. Instead I am most certainly apprehensive about starting the virtual event tomorrow.

Training pretty much stopped as soon as the cancellation was announced and have lost all motivation. Have had a little bit of knee trouble that seems to have been caused by my IT band.

When the virtual race was announced I wasn’t keen to start with but then decided that it would be the kick up the butt I need to get me going again, as usual rather than choosing one of the shorter distances I chose the full 100k. This explains the apprehension. I have from tomorrow, Monday 6th until Sunday 12th to cover the distance.

I need to cover just under 9 miles per day. Am going back to basics and will be using the Jeff Galloway run/walk method for the ‘runs’ and also doing lots of walking. Will be nice to get a bit of fitness and routine back. Have also had to give myself a bit of a slap as my diet has been full of comfort food and stuff that sends my blood sugar high.

100k? No problem 😨

None of this is going to be easy, but it seems I like a challenge! Hoping to give short daily updates, so watch this space …

Lockdown Blues

I have been working from home since 16th March. Boss and colleagues gently coaxed me there due to my long term health conditions. I have been to a supermarket once since then mostly getting provisions from the local Co-0p at the top of my road. What I can’t get there, my obliging boyfriend has dropped round (at a safe distance of course).

Most days have been okay and I’ve managed to get out for some form of daily exercise, but in the past week or so, any routines I had have gone to pot. As more races have been cancelled and others, even later in the year looking unlikely my training plan, albeit a bit on the vague side has gone out the window.

I’ve struggled to get out of bed in the morning, I’ve been eating too much junk food and I’ve been drinking more.

I was so excited to get a surprise package through the post but even my enthusiasm for this has waned.

Study Material

I’d taken to trying anything to cheer myself up, which included documenting my bed head hair on particularly bad mornings. It did give myself and others a bit of a laugh.

Not quite sure what I do during my sleep to deserve waking up to some of these!

I think that the hardest part for me has been the lack of contact. I know that whenever I’m feeling down a hug would make things all better. As my boyfriend Al is a postie, he quite rightly, doesn’t want to potentially put my health at risk. That’s so hard for me as I’m most certainly a hugger. Living on my own has driven me to the depths of despair this weekend in particular. It just feels like it’s getting harder and harder.

Thankfully I have amazing friends and Al has been brilliant as I’m sure it’s just as difficult for him, especially when I burst into tears when he brings me Almond Milk!

Last night I had the realisation that the lack of structure to my days was probably what was slowly turning me into a hermit. So I set about Google Calendar with some colour co-ordinated categories and scheduled in outdoor exercise time, study time, Zoom calls and Running Club activities. Just seeing something written down helped enormously. I went to bed feeling like I’d accomplished something, finally.

Today I’ve got a day off work (long weekend actually), and I am looking forward to cutting myself a little slack, but also getting on with those scheduled activities. I have found it hard to switch between work life and home life, given the two have now merged in my home, but have hopefully found a way forward.

It’s going to be a long road back to anything that looks remotely like the normal we used to know, but at least now things are looking a little brighter, so to end with here’s a picture of one of my cats (Poppy) demonstrating that she’s broken!

How can that be comfortable?

Sending virtual hugs to all my friends and family, until I can hug you again in person.

Stay safe xx