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2019 is going to seriously kick 2018’s ass

Current Confirmed Race Entries:

July 2018 – Hallow 12 Parish Challenge. 40 Miles Hallow 12 Parish Challenge

November 2018 – Escape From Meriden. 24 Hours. Intended distance of 100 miles https://escapefrommeriden.co.uk/

February 2019 – Arc Of Attrition. 100 Miles http://mudcrew.co.uk/event/the-arc-of-attrition/

May 2019 – Brecon Ultra. 52 Kilometres https://trailevents.co/events/brecon-beacons/

May 2019 – CAKE OR DEATH. 264 Miles https://cakeordeathrace.co.uk/about.html

 

 

 

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Robin Hood 100 – September 2017

I ran the inaugural HOBO PACE Robin Hood 100  (RH100), organised by the amazingly positive Ronnie Staton in 2016 (the man simply exudes positivity – I wish more people were like him.)  Me and my long-time ultra-running buddy Dean had entered together after reading about it earlier that year, and deciding it would be ideal for a first 100 mile finish….. unfortunately, 10 days before the race, Dean was knocked off his bicycle in a hit-and-run incident ,which left him with quite nasty injuries at the time. He ‘gave me his blessing’ to carry on with the run, and even came to support me through it, depsite being on crutches, and obviously in pain from his injuries (Dean is one of life’s all round top blokes, and a good mate)

I’d managed a 25hr 47 minute finish, and placed 20th out of 56 on the start-line. It was such an enjoyable run, that I signed us  both up for the 2017 version as soon as entries opened!…..however, Deans recovery hasn’t gone exactly to plan this year, so the sensible decision was made for him to defer entry again (next time, my friend) – I decided to carry on regardless, and was intending to improve on my 2016 finish time.

September rolled around quickly again. I had tried a second attempt at running the TWO’R in late August, but had ‘only’ reached around 75miles on the course this time (not a good day for me – I will get ’round to writing a blog post about it in due course) and had only left 4 weeks between the Two’r and the RH100, which my brain was telling me wasn’t really enough recovery time for me. I decided to just ‘tick-over’ with training in those 4 weeks, as I knew I had little to gain (other than potential injury) by increasing mileage any further.

Saturday 16th September: Race Day

I’d driven up to Nottinghamshire the night before, and stayed in a cheap and cheerful travelodge near-ish to the race. I went there solo this time, with no support crew of my own, as I knew from experience how well stocked and manned the checkpoints were at the event, and you get to access your drop-bag 3 times during the run (22 miles/52 miles/82miles) which was brilliant. I woke nice and early; had some breakfast (Muesli and a Banana), got my running gear on and set off to the Race HQ a few miles away. I’d decided to start the run in my Hoka Challenger 3 ATR’s, and had tried to keep my race-vest as light as possible (but in reality that hadn’t worked, it still felt too heavy!)

I registered in good time, leaving myself well over an hour before the 0800hrs start; Time that I used to sit down, grab a cup of coffee, take in the surroundings and get myself mentally ready to go. I enjoyed watching other people trickle in to register; seeing different stages of nervousness/anticipation/excitement on other peoples faces passed the time very quickly. Knowing the route had definitely made me feel more at ease about what was to come – don’t get me wrong, 100 miles IS a long way, but I knew it was certainly acheivable as long as I just kept moving, and I felt strangely calm and collected!

15 minutes before the start, Ronnie gathered everyone for his pre-race briefing, before we headed out of the warm village hall to walk the short distance to the start-line. Bang-on 0800hrs, we set off. 86 like-minded people, all with the same intention, starting steadily, knowing that we had many hours ahead of us until we returned to the village hall to cross the finish line.

The first 6 miles or so consist of muddy tracks and fields, before winding down toward the Chesterfield Canal and the first checkpoint. This passed quickly, as I was running faster than I intended at this early stage (sustaining a 9 minute mile average). I was running with the ‘front pack’ of 5 or 6 runners, chatting to a chap from Cornwall (Stuart) who had also run the event last year. We both kept commenting that we should slow down, but didn’t actually do so! The miles passed quickly along here and it seemed easy, enjoyable running. 2 further checkpoints, and we then left the canal, at around 19 miles. A change of terrain and scenery was welcome, and we made our way away from the canal, and added some ascent to our legs. Still maintaining a 9 minute mile average, although I had dropped back a little from the front pack ( I could still see them ahead of me!) I arrived at checkpoint 4, which had our drop bags waiting for us. Although I had planned to be as quick as possible at the early checkpoints, my feet had become soaked from the long grass alongside parts of the canal, so I opted to change shoes and socks, (opting for my faithful old Hoka Challenger 2 ATR’s) even though I was only around 23 miles in. This was definitely a good decision.

I quickly grabbed some food, and pushed on to start the first of the 30 mile ‘Dukeries’ loops. Thankfully the forecast rain hadn’t arrived, and my legs still felt relatively fresh, so I continued to make good progress. The stretch along Limetree Avenue is really pretty, even though it seems to go on for a long way (is only about a mile in reality), before re-joining the muddy fields – a nice undulating section, which was sweet relief after the first 25 miles being predominantly flat –  I’d made it a quarter of the way, in only 4 hours! I was continually checking my watch, thinking I must be moving too quick, and worrying I’d burn out too soon – “still 75 miles to go/ slow down Pete/ You’re going to regret this later” – The thing is, I was actually feeling ok, and still felt like I could have been moving quicker (but I’m glad I didn’t!)

The next checkpoint came and went, whilst I continued to keep pushing, and I was soon at checkpoint 6 (30 miles in). From here, was a 10 mile loop, including passing the well known local landmark ‘Major Oak’. Is nice forest trails through here, and I passed a couple of other competitors (as well as a couple of others passing me at one point here too). There were lots of people on the trail by Major Oak, so I had to weave my way through, explaining to a few why/how far I was running (and I still get a kick out of it when people look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them how far you’re going!) Again, I managed to maintain momentum, and reached the end of the loop in good time – a little over 40 miles in, and just over 7 hours time elapsed, which I was quite happy with.

A very quick re-fuel (I shoved a couple of Peanut butter sandwiches down, and devoured some Watermelon, which was was fantastic, and is definitely something I’d want again at any distance event I do)  and I set off again. A mix of tarmac and grassy trail for the next 6 1/2 miles. I was still running, although my pace had slowed to a much more sedate 11 minute mile average by now. I was constantly doing the mental arithmetic; working out what speed I needed to maintin to acheive a sub-24 hour finish. It was becoming a bit of an obsession, but I’m sure it heped motivate me to run, when the easier option would have been to walk for a bit. I reached Cresswell Crags, the next checkpoint, and flew in-and-out, trying to keep moving (I grabbed a packet of salty crisps to eat along the trail, which were like manna from heaven!) The next few miles went by in another blur, although I do remember phoning my wife Ginny somewhere along here, just to check-in with her, and let her know I was loving it, and feeling good still

9 hours in…. 50 miles covered…. HALFWAY!!!

In my pre-race planning, I’d worked out that as long as I reached half-way in around 10  hours, I stood a chance of finishing just under 24 hours (allowing for natural slow-down over the second half, due to general tiredness, and ‘running’ in  the dark), so I felt pretty awesome to have done so under my target. The weather was still good. My legs still felt ok. I was eating and drinking without any issues. So far, a textbook run!!

Before long, I was back at the drop bag point, having completed the first 30 mile dukeries loop. I sat down for a couple of minutes, and had a coffee, which was very welcome. I changed my socks, to freshen my feet, and put another layer of clothes on in anticipation of the impending night. I grabbed yet more peanut butter sandwiches, and set off. I was pleased how quick I was moving through the aid stations.

The light was starting to fade a little, and the temperature had definitely dropped as I returned to Lime Tree Avenue, so I was glad I had dressed appropriately! I saw a couple of other runners appear not far behind me along here, so I guess I must have slowed my pace… this gave me a kick up the ass, so I pressed on a little, and gained some distance between us again – I was running my own race, but no-one likes being passed do they!!

Reaching the next checkpoint, dusk had arrived, so it was time to turn on my headtorch.  The marshalls had been fantastic all day long, but as it turns dark, they seem to up their game even further, and form here-onwards they were just superb –  although I imagine it just felt that they were more helpful because in truth I was becoming tired!

60 miles in, and another checkpoint arrived. I felt ok, so only took on fluids and a couple of biscuits here – my first real mistake of the day…. It was 10 miles until I would return here, so in hindsight I really should have eaten something more. 65 miles in, and I started to fade; with another 5 miles to go until an aid station….. I had reduced to a fast hike now, as running felt like I was going through treacle. I was kicking myself, as to date It had all gone according to plan…. a stupid mistake of mine.

A couple of people passed me along here, and my head had definitey dropped. I perserved though, and ground out the miles. This is where having already been along the path earlier in the day paid-off, as I knew exactly how far it was until I reached the checkpoint, so I focused on that.

70 miles, and around 14 hours in, I reached the checkpoint again. This was the longest I stopped during the whole of the race ( I was there for over 10 minutes I think) and one of the fantsatic marshals made me the biggest triple-decker Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich I’ve ever eaten….I devoured it in record time. I downed a sugary cup of coffee, and grabbed some peanuts and a handful of biscuits to take with me along the trail. Only 12 miles, and I’d reach the end of the forest loops, before I returned to the canal section (which I knew was going to be a long and slow section for me!) so I focused on moving as well as I could along here. A combination of run/walk was adopted (I felt pleased I was able to start running bits again – the food was ‘kicking-in’ thankfully) I didn’t see any other runners until I was approaching the next aid station, and I passed a chap who was having to walk/hobble the remainder (his words) – I wished him well, and pushed on to the checkpoint. It was around midnight, but there was very little moonlight to be seen, due to cloud and tree cover.

I sped through the checkpoint, stopping less than 2 minutes, and taking yet more peanut butter sandwiches and biscuits (I do love peanut butter when on a long run!!) to eat as I moved along the trail. I recall talking to myself a fair bit along the next section; Mainly to pass the time, but also to motivate myself to keep moving if I’m honest. After midnight , my body naturally wants to sleep (as I’m sure most peoples do), and I could feel myself flagging a bit here – One last push, so I could get back to the drop-bag checkpoint.

17 1/2 hours in. 81 miles covered. 19 miles to go.

I again changed my socks, and thought about moving on, but I admit it was nice to spend a few minutes sat down, enjoying some hot soup. I got back out there after a few minutes, eating yet another sandwich, and tried to run/walk as much as possible. There was only 4 miles to go, so I wanted to ‘make it count’…. Running downhill into the next checkpoint felt good, and I was greeted by yet more friendly marshals, who told me I was in 15th Place – how the hell had that happened?!??!

I tried to be quick at the aid station here – I felt the canal section ahead of me was my nemesis, as last year I really hadn’t enjoyed it…. I’d expereienced hallucinations, took a power nap on a canal bench and nearly given up altogether last year! I was determined to not have the same experience this time around…..I got hold of myself and moved on.

The grass was long and wet as I started along the 15 mile stretch. The skies were cloudy, and it felt really really dark. My headtorch batteries seemed to be fading, so I stopped briefly to replace the batteries, but it didn’t seem to make a huge difference – I imagine it was mainly my tired eyes making it seem worse though. I did my best to adopt a run/walk routine, but it was definitely becoming a lot less run and a lot more walk (albeit at a reasonable pace – I was still averaging around 4.5 miles an hour, which I felt at this stage was acceptable). There was a definite drop in temperature again, and I put on another layer. The canal at night can certainly be a lonely place, and the terrain becomes very similar, very quickly. I did my best to focus on counting down the miles, rather than spending too much time feeling sorry for myself about being tired/alone/cold/dark etc….  I saw a headtorch appear in the distance behind me, which spurred me on again to keep moving. I was determined to not lose position at this late stage!

After a couple of hours of trudging along, the next checkpoint came in to sight – almost 92 miles down, and around 20.5 hours in. I stopped, grabbed a chair, and sat for 2 or 3 minutes. The marshals told me it was just over 9.5 miles to the finish, which made me smile inside! I grabbed a cup of coffee, and a banana, which I ate and drank along the trail as I moved on. The headtorch I had seen in the distance was actually 2 more runners, and they arrived at the checkpoint as I was leaving – 1 of them went straight through, and came running (slowly, admittedly) past me. Amazing, given the distance covered; well done that man!

The trail had turned in to a mix of shorter grass, and sections of tarmac for the next 3 or 4 miles, until the final checkpoint. I’d like to say it meant I could run, but I admit my legs were feeling exhausted now.  I ‘power hiked’ as best as I could, to maintain progress. Still averaging 3.5 miles an hour, which would see me well under my 24 hour target.

There was still no sign of sunrise, as I wound my way along the final part of the canal section, when nature called, and I needed to pee! I found a suitable piece of hedgerow and stopped….. OUCH!!! – As I went to move off, I experienced sharp pains in my right knee, and couldn’t put weight on it…. I had been ‘hobbling’ a bit for the past couple of miles, and I imagine stopping had told my tired body enough was enough! Panic went through my mind (not helped by the extreme tiredness that was setting in) – “I cant DNF at 96 Miles; What do I do??”…. Another runner came past me, checked I was ok, and carried on. I told myself to stop being such a wet lettuce!! Grabbed my trusty Brutal Buff from ’round my neck, and put it tight around my knee, as a bit of compression. Whilst this didn’t remove the issue, it certainly meant I could move forwards. I got to my feet and started limping on!

A mile or so down the track , I saw the runner that had passed me, with one of his supporters, stopped and having a quick food/drink stop, so I pushed on. The final mile or so along the canal seemed endless! I thought every ‘exit point’ I was approaching was the route I was going to be taking, but was left dissapointed 6 or 7 times, before finally hitting the checkpoint and leaving the water behind me. Another banana, and I moved straight on.

Less than 4 miles to go, and around 21hrs 40 mins passed. I finally knew I would be smashing my target and I could afford to continue at the same pace now, and finish under 23 hours! There was a bit of a climb up from the canal, and it was nice to vary the terrain again from the past 15 miles of flat towpath. I reached the top of the climb and suddenly had a renewed enthusiasm. I did my best to run down the other side of the climb, but it was quite stony and wet, and I was tired and clumsy, so better judgment kicked-in and I decided I ‘d fall over if I carried on! I was paranoid about losing position now too, as I understood I was in 15th place, and wanted to keep that placing! I kept looking over my  shoulder for the dim shine of a headtorch, but it was quite misty, and I couldnt see anything behind.

Dawn was beginning to break. I crossed a main road, and knew this meant I was just over a mile from the finish. My tired eyes/brain/legs/head felt the surge of excitement that always comes toward the end of an event, and I picked up my pace a small amount…. still walking, but definitey doing so a little quicker.

I descended the last small climb, and the turning in to village hall came in to sight. I hobbled along the road, and down to the finish. Greeted by a round of applause from the marshalls there (and Stuart that I had ran with in the early stages too – he’d had an amazing quick run), I crossed the finish 22 hours and 55 minutes after starting….overjoyed to have beaten 23 hours, and smashing my time from last year by almost 3 hours. And just to top it off, I’d actually placed 14th out of the 86 starters!!!

Summary:

I really couldn’t have anticipated how much of a ‘textbook run’ this would be for me. Barring the couple of very minor incidents I recounted above, everything went as well as it possibly could have for me. Ronnie, and all his marshalls truly made the route as runnable, and stress-free as they could, and I can’t thank them all enough for their efforts throughout the day and the night. If you’re looking for a fast, runnable 100 mile race, then this one is definitely for you.

After the dissapointments of not finishing challenges earlier in the year, the personalised medal/trophy I received for finishing felt extra special.

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I have a few shorter races planned during October and November, but my next big challenge will be the Mudcrew ARC OF ATTRITION Winter 100 Mile in February 2018. It’ll be a very different race to this though!

Onwards to lots of winter training!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Two’r “Fun Run” – What A Weekend!

Grab a coffee, and a comfy chair. Much like the run itself, this update is going to be a longer one!

Thursday 22nd June

We (me and Dean, my regular running buddy, who had agreed to crew for the weekend) set off late afternoon on the drive down to Jim (JP)  and Wendy’s place, where we were going to be staying overnight. JP had graciously invited us (or did we invite ourselves maybe?!!) to stop there, as it’s only a 30 minute drive to Charmouth (our start point) from his.

Mark (Doddi) arrived shortly after us too. JP had cooked us an amazing Dinner, and we all had a beer to relax before an early-ish night.

Friday 23rd June

Up at 5.30am to allow plenty of time to shower, eat and go through a final kit check, before setting off just before 7am – we wanted to have plenty of time to get to the Charmouth before our planned start of 8am. We said our goodbye to Wendy, and piled into Deans transporter.

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(Leaving for Charmouth. Left to right – Doddi, Me, Dean, JP)

The journey there was short, and we arrived on schedule. Jon was already there waiting for us, so that meant the ‘Fantastic Four’ were ready to go. The last person to arrive was Justin (The Brutal Squirrel !!) who would be another vital crew member. He would be with us for the next 24 hours.

So, just before 8am, we set off.

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(Stonebarrow NT Car Park – The Start! Left to Right: JP, Justin, Doddi, Phil, Dean, Jon’s Dad, Me, Jon)

Start – West Bay:  Checkpoint 1

We started at a nice gentle pace, conscious of the distance ahead of us. This 6 mile section is a fairly hilly start. We ran this, and the subsequent 20 miles on our ‘training run’ a few weeks ago, so it was still very fresh in my mind. Golden Cap was a decent climb, and the first proper challenge. I used my poles through this section, to try and conserve as much energy on my legs as possible early on.

 

 

 

 

We arrived in West Bay around 80 minutes later – a fairly slow pace really, but it was intentional – and the support teams were there waiting. David Miller had joined them here too, and would re-join us at several points over the course of the weekend. A top up of our fluids, and some quick snacks, and we were on our way

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West Bay – Abbotsbury: Checkpoint 2

After a steep climb up East Cliff, heading out of West Bay, the course levels off a little, as we start to run on Chesil Beach. In a previous blog post I’d complained how much I disliked running this part, and today was no different! There’s no doubt it’s a beautiful beach, but it’s just so damned hard to run on! That said, the miles passed by quickly, and the banter was great between us. A short tarmac section saw us in to Abbotsbury, and the waiting vans with Justin, Phil & Dean at checkpoint 2.

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The weather had stayed cloudy until this point, but the sun was starting to break through, and along with it the temperature was rising. Not ideal for a long run really.

Some more fluids and food ,and we moved on.

Abbotsbury – Fleet: Checkpoint 3

This 7/8 -ish mile section passes through lot of farmland, as the coastal path moves in-land for a few miles. Nice, runnable sections here. Pushing on through THE SWANNERY , we were met by Chris, who knew Doddi, and had driven out to wish us well.

Ben Royle, a veteran of THE ONER had kindly agreed to let us utilise his back garden and facilities as checkpoint 3.  He knows just how challenging the course can be, having raced the Oner only a couple of months back. He greeted us along the footpath, and guided us in. Cold water a-plenty, and proper toilet facilities were most welcome! Ben treated us like kings, and we’re really grateful to him. It was nice to see him out on course again further in to the run.

 

 

 

 

Fleet – Ferry Bridge: Checkpoint 4

Just a short way to go until we reached our first marathon at checkpoint 4… only five more marathons to go after that!!  The temperature was continuing to rise, and I could feel myself burning in the sun. I was consuming copious amounts of fluids, as were the other guys, in an effort to keep well hydrated. This is possibly one of the flattest parts we ran, and seemed to go by quickly.

First marathon complete. Approx 6 hours elapsed time.

We stopped and had some food and replenished fluids (again…. – you’ll have seen a pattern emerging here!) in the car park of the now-derelict FerryBridge Inn. I was paying more attention than usual to my electrolyte intake, and I’m sure it helped.

It Felt good, mentally, to have ticked off the first 26 miles, an everyone remained in high spirits.

Ferrybridge – Portland Lighthouse: Checkpoint 5

A couple of mile tarmac stretch along Portland Beach road was our ‘pleasure’ after leaving CP4. I would say it was nice to have some flat running, but the reality was it felt like hard work! We ran the length of this in a fairly good pace, before re-joining the coast path off-road, and starting the sharp climb up to Portland Cenotaph. We would then do a circular loop around the island, before dropping back down the same route, and returning to Ferrybridge. My poles came back out for this, and stayed out for the whole of Portland.

The view when we reached the top is spectacular, I have to say.

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We ran a nice undulating 3 or 4 miles of rocks/grass, on our way to the lighthouse, which was our next checkpoint. The mood remained brilliant, and I’m fairly confident in saying we were all enjoying being out there. We weren’t setting tremendous pace, but were maintaining our estimated time schedule.

 

 

 

Portland Lighthouse – Ferrybridge: Checkpoint 6

We arrived at the lighthouse and found the support vehicles, but couldn’t find the crew! Turns out they were all grabbing an ice cream (is hot work following us around you know). The tracker we had was a little behind it appears, as they thought we were a mile or so away still….

Another water and food top-up,, and we were on our way.

The wind had started to whip around a bit, and it was a relief to be on the other side of the island, which was a bit more sheltered. A couple of nice, slightly technical, rocky miles followed. Really enjoyable running sections like this. We did miss out ‘The Goat Path’ ( much to JP’s annoyance – he swore we were cheating!) but this meant at the top of one climb, just as we were about to re-join a short road section, we were unexpectedly greeted by Rab, Emma & Jon (and their 2 dogs) They live locally, and know the paths extremely well, with both Rab & Jon having completed the ONER in the past – They had some ICE COLD water (which was AMAZING at the time) and other treats waiting for us. This was the first of many times we saw them over the remainder of the route, and their support became invaluable.  Was a real boost to see them.

Onwards we went, and after less than a 1/4 mile, we bumped in to Ben and Chris again (both we’d met earlier on) – they’d come out to see how we were doing, and spur us on.

We skirted the prison on the top of Portland; another small tarmac section, before continuing round and back toward the point we joined the top of the island.  We even managed to collar some tourists in to taking our photo by the olympic rings sculpture that were put there following the 2012 olympics

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Re-tracing our steps along the steep climb down the cliffs again, we re-joined the causeway back toward Ferrybridge.

Just before we reached the checkpoint, we were met again by Ben – he wanted to take us in to his local Crossfit club, which was along the route, as he’d been telling them about our daft little adventure. We were greeted by applause, and words of encouragement, which was a really nice touch – thanks Ben

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Ferrybridge – Smugglers Inn: Checkpoint 7

Reaching Ferrybridge again felt like a really important marker. We were now just over 40 miles in, and thus a QUARTER of the way along our planned route. High 5’s all around!!

Yet more food…more fluids….a quick Facebook Live update (!!) and we carried on. I also changed socks at this point. Fresh feeling feet was good. Dean left us at this point, to head of to get some sleep at the Premier Inn. He was scheduled to be with us all day and night on Saturday, so it was important he got his head down.

From the Ferrybridge, it’s a 4 or 5 mile section of tarmac, that takes you along the seafront in Weymouth. By now it was around 6pm, and the pubs along the seafront were starting to fill with Friday night revellers (who must have wondered what on earth we were thinking of!!) The unspoken rule is that you have to run the whole of the seafront, no matter how tired you are….. we (just about) stuck to this, only stopping briefly for a photo opportunity at the clock tower

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The monotony of the tarmac was briefly interrupted when Rab, Emma & Jon appeared at the end of the prom with Pizza and fluids for us. (and, of course, words of encouragement) and then, to add to the picnic Davz arrived with chips too! Cheers to all of you for the treats. It was all a bit much for JP though, and he had to have a lie down to eat his!

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Only a little further, and we thankfully re-joined the softer ground of the coast path for a couple of miles, to see us in to the Smugglers Inn car park, checkpoint 7. Was good to be back off-road, and actually a relief to have some hills to climb again!

 

 

 

Smugglers Inn – Lulworth Cove: Checkpoint 8

The sun was beginning to set as we reached the Smugglers Inn. We all utilised the facilities here, and grabbed some more fluids. At this point, there was a plethora of people waiting to see us through. Justin, Phil ,Davz, Rab, Emma & Jon were joined by David Streeter, who has had a couple of go’s at the ONER, and lives fairly local. (apologies if I missed anyone – was starting to become a blur a bit at this point!)

We ran downwards through the grounds of the Smugglers, envious of the people sat in the beer garden, and climbed up the next hill. JP was feeling ‘vocal’ at this point, and ‘sang’ across the small valley to the crew at the other side… a sight and sound to behold!!

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Six miles of fairly demanding terrain followed. Lots of ascent/descent, and great scenery with the sun setting. All four of us seemed to keep moving well despite the terrain, and this was, again, an enjoyable section.

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Coming down several steep steps, we arrived at Lulworth Cove, to be unexpectedly greeted by JP’s wife Wendy – another morale boost. And here, we had reached 2 marathons!

Lulworth Cove – Kimmeridge: Checkpoint 9

Night had arrived, and it was time to get our lights out. We were about to pass through 6-ish miles of the MOD firing ranges, and had pre-arranged for someone to guide us through them.  Jon, who had been out on the course supporting had kindly agreed to be with us, and Davz joined us for this segment too.

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So, 6 headtorches set off in to the night….

From previous runs along the course, I knew this was possibly the toughest section of the route,  with a couple of particularly relentless climbs. I was pleasantly surprised how much of it I was able to run though, which I guess is testament to my fitness level now, compared to a year or two back. Davz and I were chatting, and unwittingly gained a bit of ground on the others – this wasn’t intentional, but without realising we got a bit of a pace on. Was good to run with Davz, as he’s a genuinely nice chap. And, he tolerated listening to me waffling on extremely well!!

Saturday 24th June

Kimmeridge – St Aldhelms Head: Checkpoint 10

It was past midnight now, as we approached the deserted beach car park. This was checkpoint 10. Greeted again by Justin, Wendy, Rab & Emma. Topped up water, and headed off again. It was starting to rain at this point, and the wind was increasing too. Another couple of steep climbs, near Worth Matravers, with the wind howling as we passed the Royal Marines Commando Memorial, almost knocking you off your feet…. and then it was the affectionately known STAIRS OF DOOM awaiting us. This is a ‘lovely’ steep climb down countless steps followed swiftly by a climb back up steps the other side. (photo below taken on an earlier training run).

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Tired legs, and very uneven, mis-shaped steps make this a tough little climb, especially in the dark, and with the weather turning a little sour. Thankfully, our checkpoint was virtually at the peak of the climb.

This segment had taken us a while to navigate through, and it was now approaching 2.45am. Justin was on his own at the checkpoint, as the others had very sensibly gone to bed for a few hours. We tried to find shelter around the back of his van, but the wind was really whipping around us…. Time to move on!

St Aldlelms Head – Swanage: Checkpoint 11

7 miles stood between us and Swanage. On a ‘normal’ run, with fresh legs, this should be easily achievable in around an hour. This is no ‘normal’ run though, and at this point we were around 70 miles in. Inevitable tiredness was setting in amongst the group, which is to be expected after nearly 20 hours on the trails, and an amount of negativity seemed to be rearing it’s head with me. Looking back now, it’s easy to see it was purely due to sleep deprivation, but at the time I was beginning to doubt my capability of carrying on to even the half-way point. I don’t think I was alone in  feeling this way at the time either.

We took nearly 2 1/2 hours to move along the coast here, before running downhill in to the edge of Swanage. To me, it seemed a lot longer.

We all fell in to the checkpoint where Justin was waiting for us with his usual cheery face, and words of encouragement (taking the piss out of us might be a better description really!!) This had been such a positive run so far, but for me, this was the lowest point I reached…… I was tired. I even updated my social media with some stupidly negative comments, which in hindsight was a daft thing to do, and I should know better! Justin made us a hot drink, and after a comfort break (which was tricky as the public toilets were closed!!!)  we pushed onwards.

Only around 7 miles to the end of the ONER course, and our half-way point.

Swanage – Studland : Checkpoint 12

Half-way was always going to a huge milestone to reach, and despite the fact we’d stopped quite a lot at checkpoints we were still on schedule (just) to reach here in our intended time of 24 hours (which is the same as the cut-off time for the ONER) As is always the way when reaching the end (although I appreciate this wasn’t the actual end) of  a course/race, the last section always seems a long way, and this was no different.

We ran along the seafront in Swanage, which is a lovely little seaside resort, and through some houses, before getting back off-road on the coast path. A nice climb up again, and we were on top by Old Harry Rocks.

We started winding back down towards Studland Bay, and the beach. When I ran the ONER I was particularly broken at this point, and I have a distant memory of this beach feeling around 250 miles long! We tried to adopt a run/walk strategy, although I admit I was dragging my heels more than the others. Jon in particular was looking strong here. Only 2 1/2 miles of sand and we would be there.

The 24 hour point was fast approaching as we turned the corner at the end of the long flat, where we would come off the beach in to the car park, and checkpoint 12. Friendly faces of Rab, Dean & Justin were waiting for us on the beach to bring us in. Mentally, achieving around the 24 hour mark was a big bonus, and I did so just 1 minute over.

We all felt a big surge in positivity as we ate, drank and changed clothes to freshen up. Dean, Davz, Emma and Rab had re-joined us after a bit of sleep, and Jons brother Karl had come along now to take over from Justin – he was heading off to crew another Brutal Events run in the Brecon Beacons later in the day! – Thanks Justin; you were superb all day and night, and I know we’re all really grateful for you being there

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Studland – Swanage: Checkpoint 13

After a considerable stop of around 40 minutes !! we set off back towards Swanage. We were now in to unknown territory, and if you’d have asked me 2 years ago when I completed the ONER if I’d have wanted to re-trace my steps I’d have told you where to go!! I did feel an amazing sense of re-gained positivity now though, and in all honesty I felt awesome. The running endorphins were definitely kicking in, and the LONG stop at Studland seemed to have helped, as we managed to move fairly well back along the beach

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We wound our way back to Old Harry Rocks, and down the hills toward Swanage seafront.

 

Along the way we met Mike and his dog, a friend of JP’s , who’d been tracking us and decided to come out and say hello, (and we persuaded him to take a great shot of us too, as shown below) and shortly after, David who we’d met at CP7 earlier joined us to run several miles too, which was great. Gave us all a nice morale boost again.

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Moving back along the seafront of Swanage, we rolled in to checkpoint 13

Swanage – St Aldhelms Head: Checkpoint 14

We were greeted at checkpoint 13 by hot pizza from Davz (thanks again) at a perfect spot overlooking the sea. The crew looked after us brilliantly again, and we spent a few minutes eating and prepping for the next segment. David and Davz joined us to run the next part, which would be around 7 miles.

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Continuing to re-trace our steps from only a few hours ago, that now seemed a distant memory, we headed back up out of Swanage, on towards St Aldhelms. We had most definitely adopted a run/walk strategy by now, but having fresh legs (the 2 Dave’s) with us certainly helped to keep us moving (even if it was slowly!), and it was good to chat with both guys.

Our average pace had REALLY slowed down, which was expected at this stage, and it was around 1hr 50 of moving when we arrived at the next Checkpoint. A combination of sleep deprivation and physical exertion was starting to show

St Aldhelms Head – Kimmeridge: Checkpoint 15

People were starting to look tired here. We knew there was the return of the 2 toughest sections ahead of us, and I think mentally that was playing with our heads. A hot cup of coffee and a biscuit saw me done here – although keeping on top of nutrition was obviously important, I was starting to feel fed up of eating so much if I’m honest.

David left us at this point – was great of him to come out and join us.

Pressing onwards, our first challenge was the aforementioned STAIRS OF DOOM… coming down them felt harder this time. Jon and Doddi flew down though, and were back up the other side in the blink of an eye! JP and I encountered some walkers out on the path who were really interested in our challenge, but thought we were crazy too!

The hills seemed to go on, and on and we were reduced to hiking pace for most of the section. We did, however, reach the 100-mile point shortly after leaving St Aldhelms – this felt great. The weather was rubbish along here though, with thick coastal mist/fog and wind most of the way

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With around 3 miles to go to Kimmeridge, something changed in the group. Looking back, I can only put it down to tiredness, leading to a lack of self-belief.

A decision was reached to end the challenge at our next checkpoint….

We arrived at Kimmeridge 32 hours after setting off from Charmouth. Tired; a little jaded; but still a ‘team’.

We all headed to the Lulworth arms for a pint and a rest…….

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Overview:

Whilst there is an obvious big negative to take from our attempt, in that we didn’t achieve the full mileage intended, I need to focus on the positives….

We covered 104 miles; that’s 4 MARATHONS…. That in itself, especially on the demanding terrain we were on (nearly 15,000ft of ascent over the distance) , is worthy of praise.

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Although I was obviously worn-out when we stopped, I hadn’t totally emptied the tank. I recall how broken I was when I completed the ONER a couple of years back (so much so I didn’t run at all for 2/3 weeks afterwards, and even then it was a very slow ‘phased return’), and we’d done a further marathon distance on top of that this time –  I did feel I had something left in my legs, which bodes well for the return (more on this shortly), and I’ve been getting round ‘normally’ this week, and resumed training too.

We had fantastic support: I said this before we started, and I can’t express it enough now. We are so, so grateful to everyone that came out and supported us. Those who were at a checkpoint – you were amazing every time. Very attentive to our needs, (even you Justin!! ), which can’t have been easy with 4 tired sweaty men, and we couldn’t have asked any more of you. Also to those that came out on the course, and ran a section. That was great, especially in the latter stages where we appreciated the boost. And those that came out on course to meet us and ‘cheer us on’, and/or let us use facilities at their houses. Again, this was so good of you all. Finally, to those who sent messages of support or watched and commented on any of our social media activities. That was really kind of you.

So, turning thoughts to what we could have done differently… Although the checkpoints were great, we spent FAR too long at each one. so much so that the last 3 or 4 checkpoints took around 2 hours of our time in total! Admittedly, a lot of that was down to tiredness, but it’s something we have to address next time. Certainly earlier on, we should have been ‘in and out’ much quicker.  Also, our kit was too muddled at the checkpoints, which made it difficult for the crew to find things, so we need to organise that ourselves in advance in a much better format. Whilst we all enjoyed updating our social media during the build up to, and during the run, and keeping friends and family updated on our progress, I do wonder if this put too much pressure on us? We have all agreed on the return that this will take more of a back-seat.

The return then…… We have pencilled in a date toward the end of August (which will coincide nicely with my Birthday!) to tame this beast. It may seem fairly soon, but we have all trained hard to this point, and have a decent level of running fitness; It would be a shame to not utilise this now.

Once more; thank you so much for all your support, and for reading my garbled blogs in the build-up.

This Is It!…

So, here we are. Tomorrow at 8am, we embark on this crazy adventure; the ‘fun run’ that has consumed my life and thoughts for the last few months (You’re possibly fed up with my inane ramblings about it by now too…but, hey, you’re reading this far, which I’m grateful for)

I’m currently strangely calm and collected about the whole thing, which is most unusual for me this close to an event. I think it’s a combination of the great company I’ll be running with, and the fact I know I’ve put more effort into mentally and physically preparing for this than I have ever done.

That said, I havent actually been running for the last 5 days! This is intentional, however. I have done an increased amount of walking/hiking though, having covered somewhere  in the region of 45 miles in this time – I’m certain there’ll be a good element of run/walk involved over the latter stages of the weekend, so thought it would be a good idea to keep my legs ready! 

The weather is, thankfully, cooling down too, compared to the heatwave we’ve been having here the past few days. 

164 miles, and 25,000ft climb……Let’s be having you!

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A reminder of the tracker we’ll have, if you’d like to follow our progress http://live.opentracking.co.uk/twoer17/

 

10,080 Minutes…..

I can’t believe how quickly it’s arrived, but there is now only 1 week – that’s 7 days, or 168 hours, or 10,080 minutes – until we start. It’s been an exciting journey so far, and despite me not being the best writer, I’ve enjoyed blogging about it. All the hard training is done; Time now to chill, and prepare mentally for the challenge……

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164 miles…. it sounds such a ridiculous figure when you say it out loud! The reality is, I’m going to give it my best shot…. as long as I do that, even if for some reason I don’t make it to the end, I will have nothing to complain about.  I don’t think I’d have been able to fit in much more training than I have, especially over the past 2 months where I feel I’ve really ‘upped my game’ (I even managed a PB at a trail 10k last night!) and at least 50% of the work I do in any Ultramarathon comes down to my mental attitude. I’m as determined as I can be that we’ll tame the Jurassic Coast, and can’t wait to be ‘standing’ (hopefully still standing that is!!) in Stonebarrow NT Car park feeling elated at our achievement.

We have one tracker we’re all sharing during the event, and if you wish you’ll be able to follow our progress here: http://live.opentracking.co.uk/twoer17/   We’ll try to update various social media along the way too, when signal and battery-life allows!

One piece of bad news is that our Super Six runners have unfortunately now become the Fearless Five……   Martyn has had to pull-out for personal reasons – It’s never an easy call, but in this instance is definitely the correct one for him.

Skull Twor

So, that leaves the aforementioned Fearless Five….

 

Jim: A crazy man, who has lots of crazy ideas, that he then turns into crazy reality. This is all his fault, and I blame him entirely!

Mark: A strong runner. Previous double-brutal Ironman winner, and fourth at the Triple Brutal too. His training ground is in and around Snowdonia, which I’m very jealous about.

Jon: UTMB finisher, which in itself is an amazing life-achievement . Awesome distance runner and purveyor of fine home-made beer, which he’d better bring for us to enjoy at the finish 😉

Paul: The strongest runner amongst us (sorry guys, but it’s true!!) Winner of this years ONER and 2nd overall at the epic 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race  ……He will smash this

Pete: Me…. I like to run…..I’m just going to wing-it!

 

And not forgetting, our various crew that will be there over the weekend – Dave, Phil, Karl, Dean, Justin, Phil, Mark and Rab. (and anyone else that I’ve forgotten) – you guys are the difference between us finishing or not finishing, and we couldn’t do it without you.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m ready…..We’re ready….. Let’s do this. #Twor

 

 

 

 

Lists, Stats & Planning

With just 2 weeks to go, my thoughts have been turning to the planning side of things. 

I love looking at stats when it comes to running, so enjoy this part of planning. I find that working out speed/distance/timings on a spreadsheet helps me to appreciate the enormity of the task in hand (I mean this in a positive sense) I also like to carry a small printout of this with me, ‘ticking off’ mentally the distance as I go along. Also helps to keep me on pace. I’ve meticulously looked at the times we need to reach each checkpoint in order for us to finish in a reasonable timescale. Hopefully this will help me (and the others, if they’re as sad as I am, which I very much doubt!!) on the day

I’ve been making an exhaustive list of kit I need to pack too. We have the great fortune of not having to actually carry much during the run, and will have regular contact with our support crews throughout, so can afford to be quite luxurious with our kit when compared to other events. Having clean, dry clothes to change in to will be so good, especially after the first 20 hours or so.

Even before we start, I can’t be grateful enough for the assistance our support crew will give. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to even attempt this. 

Final list has been the food I want to take. I’m still undecided on exact requirements, and have added in then taken out various items, several times now. The crew will have facilities to heat food and drink for us, which will be great, especially during the night sections. Getting a balance of the right food has always been a tricky one for me, and making sure I take on enough calories is going to be key to completion on this occasion. (Sorry crew; this means I’m  likely to have a huge box full of food for you to transport around!!)


Training:

My gradual taper continues, and I’ve had an easier week since my last update, with only 20 miles covered. Has felt a little odd after a few weeks of higher mileage, but I’ve been determined to stick to my plan. I’m intending a 15mile trek out over this weekend, and have a small trail race early next week (Malvern Joggers 10k) – the 6th year in succession I’ve entered, as it’s a great route across the base of the Malvern Hills, and organised by a friendly local club.

Nerves haven’t fully kicked-in yet either…that’s probably tempted fate now though………, 

A Day Out On The South West Coast Path

29/05/2017

As part of the build up to the epic upcoming TWOR challenge (which at the time of writing is only 25 days away!!) JP suggested a training run on the SWCP. Being a bank-holiday, and no work, I jumped at the opportunity, as it seemed a great way to condition my legs, and to remind me (as if I need reminding!) just how demanding the terrain is.

We planned to cover a double marathon (just over 52 miles), starting from Charmouth, and running to Ferry Bridge, on the edge of Weymouth, then turning around and running back to our start point. These sections represent the beginning and end sections of the TWOR route. I was intending to try out my cheating sticks, as I’d not yet used them, and hoped they’d be of benefit on the hills.

JP and I Started the day nice and early. Up at 3.30am for some breakfast, and out on the trails by 5.00am.   Jon, who is also running the TWO’R started the opposite end to us (at Midnight, as he was busy during the Bank Holiday afternoon so he had only able to run with his ‘Boyfriends’ – his wife’s description –  during the morning ) and he ran to meet us as we started. This meant he also covered a double marathon distance.

The route starts off running downhill (just to lull you in to a false sense of security) before starting the climb up to Golden Cap. This is the first of many serious climbs on the route. The mist/cloud was heavy when we reached the peak, so we couldn’t make the best of the views unfortunately. We adopted a ‘Power hike up the hills, run the flats and downhills’ approach, so we didn’t ruin our legs straight away

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After dropping down the other side, we carried on up and over a few other smaller climbs, before reaching West Bay, at approx 6 miles in (apparently the TV programme Broadchurch is filmed here?!) We will be using this spot as our first aid station when we come to the TWOR.

After West Bay, it’s straight up another big climb (East Cliff), with some fantastic views when you reach the top.

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Folowing more climbs, we dropped down in to Burton Bradstock, then headed out toward chesil beach…. this is a deep gravel beach, and is HORRIBLE to run on!! Trying to find some harder ground was tricky, although the path does come slightly inland for a short section, allowing running on the grass for a break…. We won’t mention how I managed to fall in a ditch at this point however! After what seems like an eternity, although in reality is only a couple of miles, you reach the end of the beach, and to Abbotsbury – approx 14 miles in, and the point that we will be using for our 2nd aid station.

The coastal path then winds inland for a few miles, and levels out a little, with the climbs becoming smaller, allowing the opportunity for some ‘quicker’ running. We encountered a short sharp rain shower, which was sweet relief, as the temperature had been gradually rising.

Staying inland for a few more miles, we came back down toward the sea again, and reached the point we will be using as our third aid-station, Langton Herring (although I think we may utilise a friends house/garden somewhere near to here).

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Our final section on the outward journey is approx 7 miles, toward Ferry Bridge (our planned Fourth aid station), at which point we’d complete our first marathon. This is again a relatively flat part, with plenty of runnable sections. Along here, we met Dave, a ONER veteran, and a big part of our support team for the TWOR and he ran the last five or so miles in to Ferry Bridge with us.

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We stopped for 20 minutes or so to grab something to eat, and a much needed hot drink (cheers Dave, you don’t know how much of a boost that gave us). If nothing else, the days adventure was making me realise how important regular food and drink is going to be if we’re to complete the whole 164 miles in a few weeks time.

I applied some BETTER YOU magnesium spray to my legs which JP, and others, have been advocating for some time now – it definitely seems to help with recovery I must say.

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At Ferry Bridge, Jon left us, as he’d completed his run. He looked knackered, but hadn’t slept for around 36 hours. He was still running faster than me for the last mile or two though!!

Back on the trails, and feeling re-energsed following our food break, we started to re-trace our steps. I’ve run sections of the SWCP a few times now, but never in this direction, and it felt a little disorientating! The return journey was likely to be slower, as we wouldn’t have fresh legs. Dave continued to run back a further 5 miles or so with us, before shooting off home, leaving just myself and JP to complete the last 20-odd miles.

We maintained a steady consistent pace, running much of the trails while they remained fairly flat for 10 miles or so, and time seemed to pass really quickly, as we chatted all the way along. It rained a fair bit during this time, but because it was fairly warm it didn’t have an adverse effect.

Before we knew it we’d returned to Abbotswood, and the dreaded gravel beach loomed. I know I need to get rid of my ‘fear’ of this before the main event, as it’s such a small section in the grand scheme of things.

Along the route, JP had a great suggestion about us stopping for a few minutes at West Bay on our return to purchase some chips (with LOADS of salt on them!) – I can safely say, chips have never tasted as good as these. They really hit the spot, and helped to motivate me to tackle the final 6 hilly miles.

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Despite the ‘chip-break’ the last section seemed tough. A combination of tired legs, and general fatigue made the hills feel higher than they did on the out-journey. Pace slowed a little, but my spirits remained high, as JP is such a positive person when talking.

The final major climb, back up to the peak of Golden Cap again, seemed monumentous….I do think there is a psychological effect with me, when coming toward the end of a long run, as I know I’m soon able to rest, as I tend to slow down my pace. I need to work on that.

We returned to the car park after 11hrs 53 minutes of moving, having covered 52.3 miles and 6706ft of ascent – a good days work!

LINK TO STRAVA ACTIVITY

In summary: A fantsatic day out. GREAT company. Some good runnable sections. Some hard, non-runnable sections. A few things to think about with nutrition and fluids for the big day, but nothing major to tweak.

I’m intending to start a gradual taper from now until the event, and this will have been my last ‘big long run’ before it – this may seem pretty early to start a taper , but I want to be properly rested for it. I’ve ran over 240 miles in the last month, so know I’ve been putting in the time as much as I can.

Thanks again to JP, Jon & Dave for the company today

 

 

Hills, Racing & Pain!

Started this week with a 5am run on Tuesday. I’ve never been great at getting up early and going for a run before leaving for work, and this was no exception.. only did 5 miles, and it felt like the worst run in weeks! (Although I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as it felt)

To stop feeling sorry for myself, I went back on the Malvern Hills the next day, and it was glorious.

I may have pushed myself a little though, as I woke up the following morning with what felt like shin splints (which I haven’t had for years) in my left leg…. as I had a race booked for Sunday, I decided to rest the next couple of days

Sunday: Race Day – Dymock half marathon.

Stuck with my plan, and ran the 4.5 miles to the startline. Nice and steady. The pain in my leg felt better.

The course was described as ‘undulating’, which is a perfect description! I’m not the biggest fan of Road running, but the amount of hills involved made it far more interesting. Kept to a nice steady 8 1/2 minute mile pace throughout, and finished in 1hr 50. Nowhere near a PB time, but well within my intended sub-2-hour plan, so quite pleased

Ran home again afterwards, adding to the weeks total of 32 miles in all.

Off to visit JP tonight, for an early start tomorrow (Monday)  in Charmouth, Dorset, where we intend to do a recce run of 50 miles of the Two’r course (and hopefully meet up with Jon on course too)

Counting down! 5 weeks to go.

Five weeks to go until the big day. Feeling stronger than I have for some time, and enjoying training.

My biggest concern over the last week has been the lack of ascent contained in my training runs – I moved house 12 months ago, after living on the Malvern Hills for the best part of 17 years, so had been used to lots of vertical on my runs. Where I live now is relatively flat by comparison. I had a couple of days booked off work, so thought I’d ustilise them to get a few miles and some ascent in.

Thursday: The other likeminded idiots, I mean friends, that I’ll be running the Jurassic coast with are advocates of the benefits of doing a ‘double-run’ day , and I recently read an old RUNNERS WORLD ARTICLE underlining this too – Hey, I thought, I can do that!…

Started the morning with a great 6ish mile run over the Malvern Hills. Included an ascent of Black Hill and Pinnacle Hill, with around 1400ft ascent overall.  Was good to be back on the hills.  Then in the afternoon, I took a flatter road/trail mixed route and acheived 10.5 miles. Took both runs at a nice steady pace (I’ve never been a particularly fast runner anyway, hence me leaning more toward the endurance side of running rather than fast paced, shorter distances) – Felt great to be out enjoying the views, and the freedom: one of the reasons I started running in the first place

Friday: My legs felt less tired than I’d anticipated, so I decided to head out on another long-ish run. This time starting on the relative flat, winding my way toward Eastnor Castle and the Deer Park, which then climbs up sharply to the Obelisk which is west of the Malvern Hills, and onwards toward the Herefordshire Beacon, before dropping back down the hill toward Upper Welland. Managed a cumulative 1500ft climb over 12 miles, which I was very pleased with, especially after having gone almost 18 miles the day before

Combined with a couple of other shorter runs , my total for the week was just over 40miles, and around 4500ft ascent.  – almost the same ratio of ‘ascent per mile’ that we can expect on The Twor

 

This week:

Again, fairly last minute (I seem to be forming a pattern here!), I’ve entered a race this coming Sunday (27th May) – Dymock Half Marathon – the start line is around 4.5 miles from my house, so in true Forrest Gump style, I’m intending to run to the start, participate in the race, then run back home afterwards!

Excitement Vs Fear

With under Six weeks to go until the main event, I’ve started to think about the enormity of the task in hand. Up until now, I’ve been dragged along by the excitement of the whole thing… The last time I was looking forward to a run as much as this was before my second go at the ONER back in 2015 (I hasten to add that I’m still not as excited as JP is though – he’s like a kid waiting for Christmas to come!!)

We’re around 40 days away, and I’ve had a bit of a ‘mental blip’…. I often do this in my head a week or so before any event, and I’m sure that anyone who competes in any sporting activity must go through exactly the same thing, but this has caught me off guard a bit, as it’s happened earlier than usual.

I’m thinking about the jurassic coast 24/7; worrying about not getting enough training in; stressing over nutrition and sleep deprivation during the run, and then the tiny bit of brain-space I have left has been filled with fear of not finishing/getting injured/not being fit enough etc, etc, etc….

At times like these, I often wonder why we sign-up to things in the first place…. BUT….. all that said, I’m still stupidly excited, and think it’s going to be the best thing I’ve ever done!

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I know that to most people (myself included!) that makes no sense at all… how can you be dreading something to the point of it making you lose sleep, but at the same time be looking forward to it more than anything in recent memory, to the point of it making you feel zen-like with your running? – I’m feeling fitter than I have in a long time, and have definitely re-gained my enthusiasm for running, which had been dwindling over the winter months.

One thing I do know though – even if for some reason I don’t finish – it’s going to be an EPIC memory

Training:

I intentionally had a quieter week this past week, only running 25 miles (3 runs in total –  6miles, 12 miles & 7 miles respectively), after doing a great 75 miles the week before.

My target for this week is to get at least 35 miles in, inlcuding one hill run with plenty of elevation