Thursday, 19 January 2017

Learning to run

Somehow I've become an ultra runner

not a good one, but I'm enjoying it

In 2015, aged 51, I trained for my first marathon, the Bournemouth Marathon.  The race plan fell apart after the first 10 miles and the awful course played hell with my mind.  I hate loops and out-and-back sections of races and Bournemouth was all about loop-backs and long sections of out and backs..  At about 22 miles one of my training partners, Nicky, passed my at the steady pace she had started out at.  I dragged my backside over the line with the intention of doing better next time.
Bournemouth - At the start with Michael & Matt
Bournemouth - Somehow I managed to finish

That next marathon was 20 days later, the inaugural (and maybe the last) Bristol+Bath marathon.  Nicky had also been mad enough to get into the marathon when a friend became injured.  We stood there on the start line, looked at each other and laughed - what the hell had we done.  I broke the cardinal rule and used new fuelling for the first time on the race day, my first encounter with Tailwind.  We set a out at a steady pace and kept it, just about the whole way, okay - we walked those hideous hills but, and finished strong.  A good 10 minutes quicker than Bournemouth on a very hilly course.

Bristol+Bath with Nicky

On the back of that we decided to run the Manchester Marathon in April 2016, along with another running friend, Sheralee.  I trained over the winter of 2015/2016 with my running buddy Matt, who was running the London Marathon a few weeks after Manchester.  The longer runs got easier but the speed still was not there.  I took part in the Larmer Tree 20 mile trail race as warm up, the "encounter" can be read here.

The weekend of Manchester arrived and we were surprised by the total chaos of the baggage and starting line management, or lack of it.  We set out, a whole min/mile faster than the pace for Bristol+Bath and kept strong until about 20 miles, I dropped back a little but the girls were still on target.  By the finish I had taken a around 25 minutes off my time.

Somewhere in my mind I had decided that I could run further than a marathon, an ultra marathon, and so on 7th May 2016 I had an appointment with The Ridgeway 40.  What could go wrong?

I can see for miles and miles and miles....

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