The St. Illtyds Ultra

How it Happened

Around this time last year I saw an explosion of social media about a little ultra in Wales called St. Illtyds. However, it wasn’t until December that I registered for it – around the same time that I was preparing to go back to visit Vancouver for the first time since I made the snap decision to move to the UK in July 2016. I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with the beautiful North Shore trails that I grew up on and this definitely influenced my decision; St. Illtyds is a beautiful trail.

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The view from here overlooked the town of Pembrey and Burry Port, as well as the ocean and the Gower Peninsula.

The Crew

Tweeting that I had registered for this race unlocked a hidden dimension of Twitter I was unprepared for. My friend Baz added me to a message group the likes of which I’d never seen. In it is/was about 40 #ukrunchatters all signed up for the race, 1,001 ongoing running jokes, and an amazing support network for all the trials and tribulations that come with ultra running.

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Coincidentally, a lot of us are members of racecheck.com’s visorclub. This is the next best thing to a full group photo.

To put into perspective how overwhelming we were when we descended onto the small town of Burry Port, in 2017 there were 57 runners and this year there were 161.

This was only the second year of the race.

On the Saturday, we arrived from all over the UK – it being a long weekend in May, it was not without complications – checked into our hotels and B&Bs, and sat outside the Hope & Anchor Pub to sun ourselves and talk smack. Quite a few of us then made our way to the Coastal Pilot Hotel for a big pasta meal and more drinks.

I was staying in a family-run B&B called the Four Seasons, and my wonderful landlady Margaret told me upon arriving that there was another woman staying who was running the race. Once I was in my room, I posted something to this effect to the Twitter group and immediately heard a voice from the next room, ‘Alison?’. This was how I met Jeanette.

There were two others staying at the Four Seasons, husband and wife team, John and Clare, and we drove down to Burry Port Yacht Club through thick fog the next morning in a cavalcade. Weather forecasts had been for warm, sunny weather, but the morning dawned foggy and it took a few hours to burn off.

We parked, registered, and hung around the start sorting out packs and applying Vaseline. Kat of Racecheck found me and gave me my Racecheck visor (I’d been picked to join the #visorclub the week before) and we took our group photo before RD Nathan gave us our race briefing and sent us off.

As usual I went off too quickly…

…no I didn’t, this was a 50km and my plantar fasciitis was only just beginning to improve. Myself and Sarah settled in for a chat as we ran along the canal leading out of town. We wound through a neighbourhood and down the wide path through the Pembrey Nature Reserve. We crossed the train tracks and a road with the help of a familiar looking course marshal (Nathan) and down a single track trail where Sarah and I stopped to talk to some llamas. Then we started the first climb through some woods, up a country road (bit too far up, but we caught ourselves and turned back), and off through some beautiful, bluebell woods where Rob (beerrunner.co.uk) was waiting with his camera.

We emerged from the woods and carefully stepped over an electric fence to climb up through fields and catch our first view. We stopped in a field to say hello to three horses (and take a selfie with them) and then continued up a steep road to the cheers of Kat and Joshua‘s girlfriend Merit (we were going to walk, but Kat had her camera on). There were more fields before going down a steep road to the first checkpoint where I met up with Jeanette. The three of us continued down and then up a long road, across a field – where we made more noises at sheep (Sarah speaks New Zealand sheepish. Sarah pulled ahead and Jeanette and I had a good chat all the way along a long road segment, back onto some trails, and down what Rob dubbed ‘the chute’ to the second aid station. We met up with Sarah again, headed out, and here’s where it gets a little confusing.

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I remember chatting to Sarah, who was running behind me along a road, and then suddenly we were in the village of Furnace, Sarah was no longer behind me, I was with seven other people, and we hadn’t seen a piece of flagging tape in a while. We would have been there a while if it weren’t for a volunteer who pulled his a van over with a few beeps of his horn and informing us that we were quite a ways off course and that he’d take us back to where we’d gone wrong. We’d missed a turning off a road and into a field of young cows – if you know me, you’d know how sad I’d be to miss that.

A few people opted to climb into the neighbouring field and avoid them, but I went to say hello and take a few photos before continuing the climb up a few more fields. I caught up with a few ladies and we discussed when we’d get to see the crazy horse that had necessitated a slight course change. The sun was getting quite hot here, especially as we began climbing down some open country roads. As my detour of just over a mile had set me towards the back of the pack a bit, I began seeing some familiar faces coming back from checkpoint 3 and the turnaround point. At the bottom of quite a steep road I turned off onto a path through shaded woods that circled the Cwn Lliedi reservoir and up a road the the turnaround point in a parking lot. I got there just as Sarah and Jeanette were leaving. Sarah had gotten lost at the same time I had, but we somehow didn’t manage it together.

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I stopped and chatted to a few people on my way back around the reservoir before climbing back up the steep, sweltering road. At this point I started jogging until I caught up with the person ahead, walking and chatting with them a bit, and then moving on to the next. This was how I met John, who was getting himself healthy so he could donate a kidney to his son – something my own Dad did for my brother a few years ago. I was with him when Ant and a group of other runners passed us heading to the turnaround, but not before stopping to tell me that they’d taken a selfie with the cows for @cowrater, which required me to admit that I co-ran a cow reviewing account. The penultimate checkpoint provided me with a peanut butter sandwich and a ‘facilities’ break (marshal pointed down a dirt track, ‘gents to the left, ladies to the right’).

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I caught up with Sarah, who was resolutely pushing through a stitch, and then two 100km runners who were dropping partway through their second lap – never have I heard such thick Welsh accents, I assume it got stronger with fatigue. I ran into Joshua heading up a steep road to the final checkpoint where we decimated some orange slices before moving on. At the top of the road, just before heading down through fields, I had the life frightened out of me by Rob, who was hiding in some tall grass taking photos.

I passed Joshua, Si, and James who had gotten ahead of me and saw Kat and Merit again before turning down a steep road. A flash of yellow, two poles, and an ebullient shout from the bottom told me that I was coming across Stu (and Luke). We chatted through a field of high grass for a while before I went past and into the bluebell wood. I accidentally started a minor stampede here as it’s single track and the group ahead of me, who had been walking, heard me coming and began jogging. They kindly let me past and I exited onto the road at the bottom, stopped to greet three horses who had their heads over the fence to cheer on the runners, and caught up with Jeanette and her new friend Alex.

Over the road, down the track, past the llamas, over the railway tracks, and I caught up with a group of lads for a while before moving on to chat to a woman just as we entered the Coed y Penybedd. I left the woods after chatting with two more guys and went forward on my own through a small neighbourhood and out along the canal until I could see the yacht club only a field away. The Start/Finish was just round a bend in the parking lot so I didn’t see the ambulance driving to the finish until I almost turned into the back of it. I have been told that Matt was killing himself laughing as a slowly jogged the last 50m trying to get around it (tried going right, but it turned and almost hit me).

All Done!

The lineup for beer inside was long and I ended up petting a dog and chatting to some local men from the floor after I suddenly had to sit. Jeanette, Sarah, and I sorted ourselves out with beers, sandles, and food while cheering on finishers before heading to the beach to stand in the ocean.

It was an amazing weekend. St Illtyds is a great race and the atmosphere is really friendly and relaxed. Most of us are returning next year (already registered and I’ve called up Margaret who’s happy to have me back).

 

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Running in a herd

The London Marathon

Just over a week ago I lined up with thousands of others at the start of the London Marathon. The sunny, hot weather brought the spectators out in droves; every inch of the course was like the finish line of other big marathons I’ve run. From start to finish I was surrounded by fellow runners and if I had suddenly found a second wind with 3 miles to go, I wouldn’t have been able to go anywhere anyway. It was incredible, and seriously difficult.

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I was sitting on the Mall next to a pair of discarded pants.

Waiting in the heat at the green start, I knew that if I wanted to finish I’d have to ignore pace and run entirely by feel. My first 10km was my usual, easy running speed, but even that was too quick as I began feeling dizzy in the heat and losing feeling and movement in my hands. Losing sensation in my hands when I run is not unusual or alarming, but 10k into a marathon is too soon, so I slowed down, got some movement back, and for the rest of the race I took walk breaks whenever I felt dizzy. It was one of my slowest ever marathons, but it was the same for a lot of people and I ran with (and finished with) my usual group of mid-pack men.

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When people ask if I’m a slow or a fast runner compared to other people, I just shrug and say that I’m ahead of the female curve, but land solidly amidst the mid-pack men.
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I mean, who needs Tinder?

For those of you who follow my adventures, you’ll be happy to know that my metatarsal pain was fixed after a week of total rest and that my plantar fasciitis wasn’t too bad at all. If it weren’t for the heat I probably would’ve had quite a fast race.

In contrast….

This Sunday though, I did something completely different and ran part of the Wye Valley Way in Wales. I went from Chepstow to Tintagel and back, a section I’ve run before with some lovely climbs through muck and bluebells. I often get trails all to myself on Sunday mornings, which is surprising because I don’t get out the door particularly early. I don’t come across people until the early afternoon; I call this the ‘Sunday afternoon, pre-pub lunch constitutional’ phenomenon.

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The contrast between running the London Marathon one Sunday and then this quiet patch of the Wye Valley the next was enormous. In London spectators yelled at me to keep going when I stopped to walk, but in the hills above Chepstow the only voices I heard were the surprised sounds of walkers who hadn’t heard me coming (I need a bell around my neck apparently).

Running trails doesn’t mean you don’t have to push through a crowd every now and again though. I felt pressure to keep mooving (I’m not sorry) when I reached a field full of cows. Unlike many trail runners, I’m not frightened of cows. I’m not sure if this is because I’m blissfully ignorant of the dangers due to growing up in Canada – we have cows by the way, we just don’t have public rights of way – or if it’s because I’m used to keeping watch for skunks, cougars, and bears instead.

Here’s what I know about cows; they’re curious, playful, lick each other to say ‘hello’, headbutt their friends playfully, and – most importantly – don’t have great depth perception. This is why, even if they look like they’re charging, they’ll usually stop a few feet away. If you’re looking for more authoritative advice (no one ever seems to think I know anything about anything), this is a good guide.

Many trail runners never run road and the thought of a big city marathon like London makes them shudder, but I’ve always had a deep appreciation for both. I had the same thrill running across London Bridge as I do when I pop over the top of a hill to find a stunning view.

Next stop: St. Illtyd’s 50km….

First Marathon of 2018

I have run 11 road marathons* and next Sunday the London Marathon will be my 12th. I wasn’t very reflective about my 10th – probably because I was churning them out early last year – but I’ve been reflecting more on this one.

*Not counting the backwards NohtaraM NodnoL ehT last year, here’s a great explanation
Or any of my ultras.
Or that time this January when I got a little lost on the South Wales Coastal Path.

Whether it’s because it’s one of the World Majors and a race that even non-runners know about, or because I had to run a qualifying time to get in and will probably never run as fast again, I’ve been looking forward to this race as though it were my first marathon. Twelve marathons feels as though I’ve completed a circle, it makes me think of all the time spent at the gym watching the second hand tick around a clockface as I hold a single-leg bridge or a goals I set myself for each calendar year.

Each race has been different.

Vancouver (2012)
A friend convinced me to sign up for a half marathon with her. She chickened out, I overtook 13 miles in training, the rest is history.

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I didn’t buy the photos because I hadn’t told any of my friends I was doing it and no one believed me afterwards.

Vancouver (2013)
My first marathon gave me such confidence that it was a vastly different person who lined up at the start a year later. It was a few weeks after the Boston bombing and I was pissed off, I also shocked everyone and ran sub-four.

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Dublin (2013)
I joined a University athletics club two months before race day and started PBing left and right. Knocked 24 minutes off my time, lost sensation from the waist down, and qualified for Boston.

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Brathay Windermere (2014)
Struggling with a left hamstring injury and a bad intercostal bruise that interrupted training, I underestimated the hills of the Lake District, had a stitch from mile 3 until the finish, and remember it as one of the most beautiful races I’ve done.

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Boston (2015)
I was off running with the hamstring injury and crosstrained for it until about a month before. I underfueled and had tunnel-vision coming down Boyleston Street, but it was the experience of a lifetime.

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Seattle (2015)
First race I’ve ever done with friends. I was running perfectly until my whole left leg seized up just before the monster hill. Managed to somehow come 10th in my age category and win a trophy.

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*Pre-race photo…it’s a long story

Eugene (2016)
A road trip with friends for a beautiful weekend. I was sidelined by a stitch again, but picked up a woman from my club who was struggling with her first marathon and was probably way more excited for her than she was.

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Spot the Canadians.

Boston, UK (2017)
Signed up on a whim so I could say I’d done both Bostons. I was planning on aiming for a London GFA at the Shakespeare Marathon, but ended up doing it on this flat route in Lincolnshire. Almost didn’t make it after my left leg went rigid again.

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Shakespeare (2017)
Absolutely stunning day, which became a bit too hot for me. The stitch returned and I took walking breaks while following two boys in Renaissance outfits.

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Exeter (2017)
A lovely day by the riverside, I held off the stitch until shortly before the finish and managed to slip in just after four hours (my sign of success).

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Snowdonia (2017)
An injured meniscus meant almost zero training, but I walk/jogged to the cut off point and finished strong coming down the Llanberis high street exactly a year after I moved away (I worked there for a summer).

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You may have noticed a pattern…yes, I’ve had constant problems with side stitches (not a fueling issue, I promise) and my left leg always fails me. I’ve been working on my core and on activating my left glute, as well as a ton of single leg strength exercises. I haven’t been able to run fast in months so this Sunday’s race won’t be a good time, but hopefully it’ll be pain-free and therefore…a good time!

On the Road Again

Except on Sundays when I find a nice, soft trail.

What I mean is that I recently moved. I’d been thinking about leaving Bath for Bristol for quite a while, but I hate the hassle of moving and I liked the house I was living in. In the end though, there’s more for me in Bristol. Better public transport and more going on.

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Moving very inconveniently takes time away from running. I managed a short one afterwards though.

I’ve moved quite a bit, a fact recently brought home to me when I had to list all my addresses for the past five years on a passport renewal form. One of the hardest things about moving is re-establishing a routine. Having a routine means keeping good habits, it leaves you more mental energy to focus on life’s variables, and it’s calming. Before I moved, I made a mental list of what I could adapt to my new living arrangements, including the large part of my life taken up by physical activity. This included finding a new gym and keeping the same gym days, running days, and rest day (at least for a while).

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My possessions have tripled since I arrived in Bath and I still don’t have much.

Still, moving is a big change, so I was tired even before the snow hit last week. When it did finally arrive in Bristol on Thursday morning, I stuck to routine and did my usual Thursday run – albeit in my trail shoes. I switched it up the next day though. Normally I visit the gym on Fridays, but I was especially sore from some new physiotherapy exercises I’d done on Wednesday. I was also going to London for the weekend and didn’t think I’d be able to fit a long run in. So when I woke up to a winter wonderland on Friday I decided to forgo the gym and go for a run in my Yaktraks instead.

It felt like a good compromise. The snow that fell was especially powdery, it was like running in sand, and Fridays are usually my legs day at the gym, so my legs felt properly wrecked as usual when I got up early to catch the coach into London. We arrived early as everyone was still avoiding the motorways and I spent the day looking at art, visiting my auntie’s blue plaque (She’s Winifred, not the more famous Vera), and climbing up the monument to the great fire, which did a number on my proprioception…

After dropping my things off at the hostel I was staying at in Rotherhithe, I ran a quick 10km along the Thames Path and then had an early night to prepare myself for my marshal (not martial) duties the next morning.

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The view was a lot more interesting when it was full of runners.

The next morning, myself and 13 other #ukrunchatters gathered in Cabot Square, Canary Wharf to prepare for marshaling the inaugural Big Half. Organised by @_FatGirlsCanRun, who had her hands full with volunteers with weather-related transport issues, we donned our bright blue volunteer jackets and received our assignments. Myself and Katherine (@GirlHucknall) took a tricky crossing point underneath Canary Wharf DLR and immediately took a selfie.

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We had about 6,000 base layers between us.

Marshaling is one of those volunteer jobs that is usually one big contingency plan. It was clear where the race route was heading so our job was to get non-participants safely back and forth across the road – and to cheer wildly of course. We also had mobiles at the ready in case of emergency (thankfully there was none) and maps and an information booklet to help spectators.

There were loads of UKRunChat and GoodGym (and 2 EVRC!) runners, but we only managed to spot a few. I was personally very excited to be within flying sweat range of Aly Dixon. Afterwards we went for some hot food and coffee, said our goodbyes, and headed off.

As I had a whole afternoon left in London before my coach back to Bristol, I pulled a phonebox-superwoman and got into my running kit for a bit of exploration. I would normally do a long run on Sundays – as many of you know – but I had a full backpack and had been on my feet all morning so I aimed for a slow 10km.

Of course I ran 20km. Not sure how many kms I walked over the weekend, but I ran a total of 30km so – with all the walking – I must have covered at least double that, probably more. I can’t wait until I’m next in London, for my first London Marathon!

How to Tell if You Need Motivation or Rest.

I’ve been running for awhile now and there are two pieces of advice that myself and other runners love to tell themselves and each other:

“Your body is telling you it needs rest”
and
“No excuses, find your motivation and lace up”

There’s an interesting tension between the truth of these two statements (or variations upon) because feeling tired is an unreliable way to gauge what your body needs. Runner’s need to find the right balance between pushing their speed, strength, or endurance and allowing their bodies to adapt to training. The question we have to ask ourselves and each other is, ‘how do I know if I’m tired or simply not motivated?’.

From my own experience and from speaking to loads of runners from all types of distances, speeds, and obsessions, the simple answer is to ask yourself why you might feel tired.  Have you increased your mileage lately? Did you push yourself in that speed session last night? Are you having a stressful time at work or home? Is it cold and wet outside? Has your friend cancelled tonight’s run?

When a friend says they’re too tired to run, it’s easy to respond with either ‘you must need rest’ or ‘just put your shoes on and go’, but feeling tired is complicated – it involves the mind just as much as the body. If you run despite feeling tired and your body needs rest, then you risk injury. If you’re tired and don’t run, then you risk losing fitness, being unprepared for an upcoming race, or perpetuating that tiredness.

MS, Running, and the Dreaded Fatigue

The reason I’ve been thinking about tiredness lately is because my multiple sclerosis adds an extra element of the unknown to the mix. Am I tired because I have MS fatigue?

In every study I’ve read where MS patients were asked about their worst symptoms, fatigue usually tops the list. MS fatigue is different from the usual definition, here’s an explanation from the MS Trust:

MS fatigue is very different from the feeling of being tired or exhausted that people without MS may experience following heavy exercise or a busy day at work. It is often involves the sudden loss of energy and not being able to continue an activity. Fatigue can be either physical or mental fatigue or both at the same time. MS fatigue can not be ‘worked through’, as can sometimes be done by people who don’t have MS, and recovery time also tends to be much longer.

I’m lucky in that I don’t have a regular problem with fatigue. I’ve had a couple weeklong cases that completely incapacitated me, but it’s not a regular occurrence like with most MSers. However, I do think that my long distance running somewhat deadens my ability to assess my level of tiredness and if it’s related to my condition. There are times when I’m tired beyond belief, and a run has enervated me and made me feel 100% better.

Things I’ve Been Up To

The left meniscus injury that stopped me running through the fall is well on it’s way to healed with the help of a young physiotherapy student and my twice a week strength and conditioning sessions at the gym.

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Yes, I shove my knee brace down when I don’t need it. No, I don’t bother taking it off completely.

I have been doing some rather accidental long trail runs on the weekends (I say that they’re training runs for London, but I’m fooling no one but myself) – including an accidental marathon along the South Wales Coastal Path.

Finally, completed my GoodGym run leader training. I went down to London on Tuesday and spent the day at Somerset House (exhausted after 2 days with little sleep and an early start). I joined GoodGym King’s College for their weekly group run (immediately perked me up) and we visited an urban farm in the middle of Waterloo.

I hit 200kms for January, which was a lovely surprise, and I’ve been sticking to my pre-London Marathon goal of running only 4 days a week and avoiding alcohol. The healthy eating has gone a bit wonky due to my insane schedule this week, but most of it is still good nutrients at the correct times – the rest is all peanut butter.

Regime changes are not just for revolutions

I’ve instituted a regime change since I got back from my Christmas holiday in Vancouver, ostensibly to prepare myself for London Marathon training, but also because I’ve decided I’d like to feel better.

My rough guidelines are:

  1. No more alcohol until after the marathon
  2. Don’t run more than four days a week
  3. Two days a week at the gym for strength and cross training
  4. No snacking after dinner
  5. Focus on fuel, i.e. protein after workouts
  6. Warm up, cool down, and hold stretches for at least 30 seconds
  7. Institute Mondays as mandatory rest days

Many of these guidelines were supported by talks at the National Running Show in Birmingham a couple weekends ago. Recommendations like taking the day after your long run off as a rest day, building stretching into your training plan, and planning your food around the type of workout or the time of day you run all confirmed what I’d already picked up from articles and discussion with other runners.

2,018 for 2018

Before I got injured at the end of August, I was averaging between 80-100km a week. So far this year I’ve gone from 31km in the first week of January to 61km last week and it feels good.

One goal that I sacrificed to injury last year was running 2,017 miles for the year (before you all say, ‘I told you so’, my injury was due to an unresponsive left glute – not high mileage). I’ve signed up for the 2,018 for 2018 goal again, but time will tell if it’s in kilometres or miles. I’m in two minds about it; I can easily accomplish it in kilometres, which doesn’t make it much of a challenge, but I don’t want to push too hard to reach it in miles.

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It will instead be counted in mud.

Here’s what I’d need to run:

Goal Monthly Average
2,018 kilometres/1,254 miles 168km/105 miles
2,018 miles/3,248km 168 miles/271 miles

I think I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and check in on my mileage every now and then to see what’s possible. My priorities for this year are to somehow run the Cotswold Way Challenge (100km) at the end of June and to not injure myself, 2,018 miles would be a nice bonus.

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My Twitter followers might recall the exact moment I registered.

January Battle

Many people are doing Red January (I have no idea what this is and, as it’s January 30th, I’m now too afraid to ask) and my run clubs back in Vancouver are having a friendly distance competition, but I’ve been busy supporting GoodGym’s January Challenge (Battle). At the end of December GoodGym HQ asked us to set goals for the number of good deeds and kilometres run in January. Good Gym Bath is quite small, but we’re aiming for 120 good deeds and 1,234kms. So far I’ve contributed 4 good deeds (by travelling to Bristol on Saturday and sneaking in two extra) and 184kms (I’m hoping to make this a round 200 tonight).

 

Back in the Saddle

We’re two weeks into 2018 and I’ve already managed to survive a two second appearance on local news (I didn’t run the ultra marathon, Shannon and I just joined the start for a long run), a minor back injury, a transatlantic journey, a cold from hell, and a tremendous case of jetlag. I am however, officially in marathon training mode.

This does not involve spreadsheets.

I like doing sunday long runs, even when I’m not training for anything, and my idea of a long run is/was anything over 21km. So my last few marathon training blocks haven’t involved much more than me casually building up from about 15 miles to 22 over the course of a month before the marathon. I do have a proper training plan lying around on my computer that was given to me by Jerry Ziak, the coach at Forerunners in North Vancouver, in 2013. But I’ve only ever used it as a guide to long runs because the speed sessions on it were the ones he was leading in his group sessions and they’re a little difficult to implement solo. So I’ve pulled out his recommendations for long runs and written them on my calendar. I may be a spreadsheet whiz, but not for running.

First things first, shoes.

I managed to save a little money over Christmas by only using money I had in Canada while I was in Vancouver, so I replaced my old road runners yesterday. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had three pairs kicking around and they were all WELL overdue for retirement. Two of them were ASICS GT2000s from a Black Friday sale in 2015 and the other was a pair of ASICS Ikaias that I bought on sale last January. I usually stick to GT2000s, but I was broke last year and bought the Ikaias, thinking they were just as good. I ran quite a lot of miles in just that one pair of shoes and I battled injuries all last year, possibly as a result, so I’ve gone back to GT2000s.

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*Drools*

They’re the newest version and according to the guys at Running Bath (Hi!) they’ve started using the heel cushioning that they usually put into their higher end shoes and it has much higher energy return. I was just happy they had my size – plus they’re pink so I’m slightly less of a ninja now.

VLM Training…and Go!

So instead of introducing them slowly to my ‘diet’ like I usually do with new runners, I jumped straight in and ran 11 miles in them today. I experienced zero knee pain, not a hint of plantar fasciitis, no achilles cramps, and not even the old nerve-pain in my left hip flexor. I had to stop a few times at the beginning because I was tired and out of breath, but that gradually dissipated and I think now that I was a bit carb depleted.

I’m crossing my fingers that this wasn’t a fluke and that I’m on the mend. I’m not worried about finishing the London Marathon, but I want to get back to my weekend running adventures.

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I checked out the Eastville parkrun in Bristol on Saturday. They’re a friendly crowd.

Next week I hope to run a bit more than the 36km I managed this week (I brought man flu back with me from Canada) and on Saturday I’ll be at the National Running Show in Birmingham where I hope to see a few Tweeps.