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What lies in wait on 2nd July - The 110k course profile

Saturday, 2 January 2016

End of year report!

Happy new year to everyone out there! Now it's 2016 I'm faced with the reality that the ultramarathon is this year, not next year any more. Scary.

So I've been in training now for 3 months, one third of the way through (also scary). With the start of the new year it seems a good time to take stock of how I'm doing. First things first:


Hard to say, but I think I'm holding up ok. I've been lucky enough to not suffer any injuries so far, except for a niggling pain in the bottom of my left foot. Reading up, it may or may not be related to Plantar fasciitis which is a well known, much dreaded and little understood problem. There's an almost endless amount of advice and doom and gloom about it on the internet, so I've decided to deal with it by listening to my body and taking it easy when necessary. Luckily, the time it's worse is if I'm running hard up a steep hill and as a common Ultra technique is to walk up the hills then going easy on my foot fits very nicely with my training. It's not got any worse since I first noticed it about 6 weeks ago, so this seems to be working.

The upper reaches of the Garburn Pass

Looking down into Kentmere, the trail visible ahead.
Apart from that, I've now built up to the stage where I need to maintain a level for a few months before building up again to the actual event. So I've reached my current maximum level of a 3 hour long run at the weekend, something I did for the first time today by running a chunk of the early part of the event's course over Garburn Pass and back. Being both the furthest distance and the longest time I've ever run it was nice to start the new year with this milestone although I'll admit to being quite knackered after it. I'm mainly trying to avoid thinking about how to complete the Ultra I'll need to do that about 5 times. Which leads onto:


My summary on this blog gives the main reason I'm doing this, which is a big incentive. Apart from that though I think the main thing I'm now struggling with is getting to grips with just how far 68 miles is. After this morning's exertions for 3 hours it's taking quite a lot of faith to convince myself that in 6 months time I'll be up to doing that another 5 times.

I've just read another American Ultra runner's book, Dean Karnazes, where he describes going stiff as a plank in absolute agony with cramps inside his car after his first 50 mile race and projectile vomiting all over the inside of it. I don't fancy that much and it's stories like that that can play on your mind a little.

Having said that, heading up towards the Nan Bield pass today felt exciting and adventurous and a bit like my first taste of what running for such a long time will be like. It was a feeling of freedom and ability that I've not experienced before and while it didn't last long it was something I'm looking forward to getting more of, which will get me through the coming months.

Tempting! The trail beckons, heading up the Kentmere valley towards Nan Bield 
Then there's:


Unexpectedly, the thing that's really got me out every day is a spreadsheet. When I signed up for this run, the first thing I did was work out an entire training schedule from that day to the race . I based it on a short 'you can run an ultra' article in Trail Running magazine and some internet research. I fill in what I've done every day against this and the longer I do it, the more difficult it becomes to not do it. It's an unexpectedly compelling trainer ...


Less to say about this really. I've still got the same gear I had when I posted about buying some new shoes, except I've now sold the new shoes as I didn't like them after all. I think they may have contributed towards the mysterious foot pain. Might buy more socks soon, but I have bought another pair of shoes - exactly the same as my first pair .....


Hmmm .... Not much to say here either. I probably need to start taking this sort of thing seriously, but so far have found that Christmas cake and Cadbury's Brunch bars go down well and I don't seem to be having any difficulty eating whilst running. Quite pleased about that.

Time to turn back! That's as far as I got up the valley today - further next week?

So, overall I think I'm progressing ok. Today was a bit of an eye opener for sure, but if I stick to my schedule, keep eating cake and try to avoid any more uncomfortable shoes I have to believe I'll be lining up on 1st July ....

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