So I need a general word vomit, so much has happened since my last post!
Of course, a 50km ultra-marathon has bern successfully completed! I suppose I still cant quite believe I ran, yes all the way, no walking, 31 (& a half) miles of forest trail on the little 'long distance' training I had done, a week in Tunisia with a grumpy tummy, oh, and a chest infection (*hides face*)
The race went well, my lovely friend Sophie and her partner went to register the night before, after a long day at school, I couldn't quite believe it was happening, we enter events and they creep up so soon!! Planning played a huge part in this event, packing kit (i packed every piece of waterproof/winter attire I owned) due the awful, windy, wet weather the day before, this enabled me to feel less anxious (my anxiety sky rockets if I feel unprepared in any situation) I planned food, packing foods I knew wouldn't send my stomach crazy, and a variety of salty & sweet tastes. The night before I ignored my craving for a curry and red wine, and stuck with chicken, steak, mushy peas (new favourite) and rice...and sparkling water.
I guess coming from parents who were always prepared for the worst and extremely organised, it is now my safety net to know that everything has been pre-planned. Also the fact I am a teacher plays a role too! (Although my new job has taught me that planning...doesn't always work out- And to have a plan B,C,D up your sleeve.)
Anyway, we arrived at the event in the morning after staying in a lovely travelodge 5 miles away - of course booked months in advance- £26 bargain!!! And waking at an ungodly hour (even by my standards) to fill my face with my pack-up breakfast, lemsip, antibiotics for the chest & hydrating the body with electrolytes and a litre of water before 7 a.m!
I was surprised at how many women they were, I guess as I have only ever known one other female ultra runner (Soph) and 99% of people's reactions to running so far are complete and utter disgust (mother!) or they are just in complete awe. Many people were there with hydration back-packs, posh compression socks and t-shirts with amazing slogans such as '100 marathons' I suddenly felt a complete novice and nerves set in.
After three loo-trips we set off, the pace was relaxed but my feet ached, my legs took at least the first 8 miles to get warmed up. On the first lap some runners ran the wrong route due to markers on the floor in yellow chalk being unclear. The group I was with luckily was lead by a man who knew the route, so thank goodness we did the right course and after the first lap I sat on the loo-yes again and my chest was tight and sore.
Negative thoughts are my biggest barrier, as I have said before. Immediately I got up and found Soph, determined to see the little devil on my shoulder off. I would do it, my heart-rate and breathing was not high, I chatted with Soph as I mentally went through all the hard training I had done, the rest my legs had had on holiday and told myself I could do it.
After changing my trainers and socks, chomping my way through more bars, dried fruit and salted nuts, I was soon approaching the final lap. I had increased my pace and had Michael Jackson in my headphones. I felt amazing, I was doing what I loved and appreciating my body for its fantastic abilities- as humans we are far too quick to pick out our bodies flaws, it can be, and has for me, become automatic. Something I am working on is making positivity an increasingly automatic response to myself and also to the children I teach.
So by the end I knew I had eaten well, drunk enough and paced well. My legs felt very sore, particularly my joints; the terrain was tough on my ankles and knees, uneven, muddy, rocky and hilly, they felt weak. One thing I will take from this experience is that I need to work on my core strength, and stability to conquer such long-distances and terrains. Luckily my amazingly talented Personal Trainer and good friend claire has this in hand!!
In addition- its cold!!!! It is winter!!!! Clothing is difficult right now!! As Steph has said in her recent blog
I am so excited to work on a youtube blog with Steph on the 29th! She is a big inspiration for me and I hope I can help her and others in marathon training, keeping is realistic and simple rather than the glossy image of running the media portrays!
So in response to Steph's winter running mention...
I am a huge lover of 'buffs' they can be worn in so many ways and keep my ears and neck toasty warm!
Another thing..laps. Runs of two or more laps may sound boring- but they allow you to layer up and throw off clothing as you get warm- as I found at Kings forest 50km!!
Put the heating and hot water on BEFORE you go out- and whatever yummy reward you are going to give yourself. Plus a bubble-bath. Recently home-made soup has been a good mental bribe...and white hot choc.. But for some reason when I get in recently all I want is mushy peas!?!? Strange girl, I know.
Waterproof trainers. Some people don't like the idea, but...I do. Wet cold feet just arent for me.
My winter jacket. Its by nike, it has pockets and the ends of the sleeves can turn into mittens..very cool (well not actually) but...I hate having cold hands!!
Nightnurse. Helped me sleep off this chest infection. Sleep is very, very important to me!
Wacky Sox- my sponsor Rutland Sports sells them...and I love them! Bright, vibrant, apparently customisable... But also warm & comfy!! What more could a girl want?!
So yes, I am adapting to winter running, but, winter cycling on the other hand is a different topic! I woke early today to do a brick session set by Stefan. But it was foggy and wet and cold..
Without a good bike light I was less that enthusiastic to go out on my own. Money is tight. Event entries have eaten my bank balance. So I dont yet have a powerful bike light. So turbo it was!! I have found altering my position and technique on the turbo sessions has allowed me to get more power and allowed me to pump up the heart-rate!! Engaging my core muscles and peddling from my hips has made me feel much better i these sessions. So I will get out on the road in the sun (bbc weather says!) tomorrow.
After the turbo I did peterborough parkrun. I love pacing at Parkrun, encouraging, giving advice to others, meeting new people and learning what running means to them. I find it fantastic to see so many youngsters running it, today I took a young boys jumper off him so he could use his arms in the final km, as he has over-dressed, something Im hoping he will learn from! But its great to see people of all abilities, ages, goals and backgrounds enjoy a Saturday morning run! I saw a quote about running just today saying 'runners reach a point where they realise they are not competing against themselves, but the voice in their head' very true. However I like to believe that its more about making running your own, loving it and getting out of it whatever it is you need at that time, just today I was very much in need of the 13 miler with Jonny just to release a large amount of stress!
So dont feel the pressure, relax, be yourself and focus on your own goals and embrace your achievements :)