It’s been a particularly long week and while I’ve got a few runs in (some good, some not so good), it’s been difficult to do anything worthy of blog content.
So this week I’m going to settle for a Throw Back Thursday – to RunThrough Victoria Park Half Marathon in March 2018.
That race is still my Half Marathon PB – 1:22:48. I haven’t run many pure half marathons in the past year, with the focus on ultras. But now the sub-3 hour marathon training is back on there should be a few speedy half marathons along the way.
Here we go again. Tomorrow I’ll be running the Centurion North Downs Way 100. The 100 is a slight misnomer. The course is officially 103 Miles (165.762km!).
In the context of a 100 Mile race, an extra three might not seem like much more. But after 24 hours on your feet with no rest and 3,000 metres of climb, those extra three miles can be the difference between finishing or being cut-off by the time limits.
This will be my second attempt at a 100 Miler. The first was back at the beginning of May, at the Centurion Thames Path 100. I dropped out at mile 60, not because of any physical issue but because my mind wasn’t in it.
So no excuses this time. The weather is looking to be ideal. Around 23c, overcast and with a sprinkling of rain in the afternoon/evening to take the edge off of things.
Naomi will be meeting me at the 50 mile checkpoint and from then on will be attempting to make it via train to each of the following crew points where possible, with my parents joining at some point in the evening.
There’s a 30 hour cut off for this one, although the aim is to bring it in under 24 hours if possible. Failing that, just finishing will be fine.
I can’t really explain why I feel the need to do this, other than it’s there and waiting to be done. The same as with my sub-3 hour marathon attempts. There’s always something to be aimed for, whether it be further or faster.
Here we go again! Tomorrow is the Ultra Challenge Cotswolds Way 100km. I first attempted this race last year and it was my first ever attempt at an ultra marathon. The weather was boiling hot, I wasn’t sufficiently prepared and I dropped out at 94km.
Not this time! I’ve run 24 ultra marathons since then, have plenty of experience of hot weather running (tomorrow is promising to be another scorcher) and I’m much fitter than last year.
I’m dialling down the kit I’m carrying this year. Having never run an ultra marathon before, I turned up at start with a pack stuffed with anything and everything. I now know what I need, what works for me and what’s just unnecessary weight.
I am however carrying poles with me for the first time tomorrow. I’ve not used them in a race before but the course has over 2,500 metres of climb and it will be a good opportunity to test them out in advance of the very hilly Centurion North Downs Way 100 Miles at the beginning of August.
As in the “About me” section, I ran Brighton Marathon in 2014 with absolutely no training. “Run” is probably generous, as it was more of a stagger, hating every single step so much that afterwards I threw my running shoes away and didn’t run a single time for the next three and bit years.
In 2014 I was the largest I’d ever been and my mental health was all over the place. So one weekend in 2017 I bought a pair of running shoes, went out for a run and collapsed in a heap. Then signed myself up for a number of races to make sure that I kept on going out.
The first photo is from one of those early races in 2017. I’d already lost a lot of weight by then and in my head I was at the top of my game, fit and slim (which relatively speaking, I was). Two years later, I know how wrong I was.
When I ran that half marathon in 2017 I don’t think I’d ever even heard of an ultra marathon. I certainly had never contemplated one and would have thought the idea of ever doing so was absurd.
Over the past 12 months I’ve run 24 of them (soon to finish my 26 ultras in 52 weeks), including 10 on 10 consecutive days. Goes to show there’s always something more to aim for.
Running is great for my physical health but essential for my mental wellbeing. I’m incredibly lucky that I found it and that I have those who relentlessly support me in it.