Course profile

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

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Now it gets tough ...

On Wednesday just gone I was half way through my training for the Ultra marathon with 4 1/2 months down and 4 1/2 to go.

I don't really know how I feel about that. On one hand it's good that I've kept the training regime going but on the other it's pretty scary that the longest I've ever run is for 3 1/2 hours and it took me this long to build up to that - I've now got the same amount of time left to be able to run for probably 5 times that.

It's only going to get harder from now on as well. Up to this point my training has been focussed on building up a core level of fitness, so my long run has remained at 3 hours for some time. But today I started to increase it, going out for 3 1/2 hours and really noticing the difference. It didn't help that the weather today was probably the worst I've been out in - constant heavy rain, strong wind and quite cold.

You know it's bad when the sheep just stand still with their backs to the weather!
At least the waterfalls were good ....
I also encountered some problems today I've not experienced before. My feet where freezing for a while as there was so much water about I was constantly running though quite deep floods on the paths and refreshing the cold water in my shoes. I also suffered with some quite nasty chafing in .... places .... which is a new one on me, but one I definitely need to sort out.

But overall I'm pleased with the day. I now know how far I'm running thanks to my new purchase of a GPS watch so was pleased to have covered 18 miles. I kept going despite all the adversity and after a few hours back home feel reasonably ok. Most of all, I still sort of enjoyed it although I couldn't work out why. I don't think I'll question it too much though, just hope I can hold on to that as the miles ramp up ....

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Spring is here .... almost

It's been a long old slog getting through the winter, sticking to the training plan, but at last I'm starting to feel like there's some light at the end of the tunnel.

My day job as a National Trust ranger means I'm out and about a fair bit and probably notice the changing of the seasons more than I would if I worked in an office, but this has been heightened this year by the addition of the running. As a result, I can say that I think I've never looked forward to Spring as much as I am this year.

Might not be long before I get a break from sights like this ....
This winter of course it's not been the cold so much as the rain that's made things tough. Our recycling bin has been full every time with old newspaper from stuffing my shoes, but this last week has finally seen a change. For a while at least, it's stopped raining!

Wednesday evening's run - There might still be snow on the fells, but it's sunny at last!
So I'm starting to get an inkling of what I'm thinking of as my reward - The time when Spring finally arrives and I can be out on the dry trails, eating up the miles and revelling in the fitness I've built up over the winter. Of course, being British it'll only take one mildly warm day before I'm complaining about being too hot!

Saturday afternoon and there's still some sun and it's still not raining!

Monday, 1 February 2016

The tale of Langdale 1/2 marathon

I've mentioned my Langdale half marathon experience a few times, so maybe it's now time to look back at that in more detail. First, a bit of explanation as to why I've called this blog 'from 0-68'. Despite the fact I've already done a run of this length, I really feel I started the training for the 68 mile run from a base of running 0 miles.

Technically, it's true. When I applied for a place in late September the last time I'd been out for a run was about 7 weeks before. Janet and I had entered a 15km trail race and had been running together, training for that, but Janet had a nasty fall and injured herself and we'd not been out since then. I wasn't running alone as it had been Janet's idea to start going the August before that and I'd been enjoying the companionship of running with someone - something I've not done before.

Before that I'd not run for 4 years, when I took part in the aforementioned Langdale Half marathon in 2010. for me this lived up to it's billing as one of the UK's toughest half marathons, so much so that when I finished I vowed that I'd 'never run again'.

Why did I find it so tough though? Well, I reckon there's a few reasons and therefore lessons:
  • Make sure you do enough training. I probably didn't, just going out for a run when I felt like it, with no plan to follow. The furthest I ran before the event was 9 miles and when I got to 9 miles on the course I really felt like it was time to stop. Except that point was right at the bottom of a massive hill .....
  • Get your pacing right! My last blog was all about this - It's always been a bit of a weak point with me and I distinctly remember starting off full of excitement, trying to keep up with the front of the pack. Trouble is, the course heads up another horrible, steep hill to Blea Tarn after the first 1/2 mile. By the time I got to the top of that I was already in trouble .....
  • Don't drink a couple of pints the night before. Should be obvious and Janet did point out to me that it might not be a good idea at the time, but I knew best ....
All good solid reasons why I ended up running the last 2 miles back up the Langdale valley like Steptoe, grimacing and waddling. When I look back now though, a valuable experience and those three points are definitely things I can apply to the current race.

I guess I should just be glad I didn't run the full marathon. That uses the same course but with two circuits, so you'd have to run past the finish line with all the relieved half marathoners finishing and head off straight back up the horrible hill to Blea Tarn. It's anyone's guess what my vow might have been if I'd tried that .....