....the 100 mile story continues to remind me about how good or bad the physical/mental punishment was.....
50-60 miles: CP6: 2 Miles Too Far
Being the last participants thru at CP5 and perhaps due to me having already waited some time, Rory (RD) was in a hurry to get Oscar moving. But Oscar needed time to sort out his feet and legs, so we were left with some provisions, with Oscar relaxing on the grass verge for another 15 minutes to cool down his feet and legs with an icy leg spray.
Our earlier conversations had been polite and minimal, but knowing we would be spending time together, we talked like best buddies and righted the world and the UK's current political and economic situation. However, a couple of miles in, it was apparent that there was something wrong, first with me, then with Oscar.
The make shift knee support I had put on earlier felt too tight: the back of the knee was feeling swollen and throbbing. I dropped the "knee support" round the ankle where it hung round loosely, however the damage had already been done. Perhaps the overtight restriction of an ankle support around a knee caused this "minor" injury (ham and calf strain) that I would need to manage. As long as I kept it gentle and kept moving, I assured myself all would be fine.
As we took off again, Oscar's movement was irratic.
Me: Why are you limping?
Oscar: Oh it's nothing. I'll sort it out at the next CP.
Me: I learned from an Arctic buddy, that we need to deal with problems sooner than later. With 50 miles more, it can quickly get worse, so what is wrong?
Oscar: I've got blisters on my toes from these crappy sports socks I'm wearing, but I'll sort them out at the next CP.
We "pulled over" and gave Oscar some plasters to "sort it out" and hopefully provide some padding for his blisters. Whilst Oscar tended to his feet, I tried to stretch out the back of the leg, but this seemed to make it worse. Imagine stretching an elastic band back and forth. With each stretch, it will cause the elastic band to recoil tighter, thus shortening the band. That's how my leg was feeling.
We jogged a little more, sometimes we talked when we walked, sometimes I sang 'cos that's what I do, but we always ran in silence listening to the rhythms of our steps. On one of our "let's run" time, we were along a main road and missed a turn, continuing down the road for another a mile. With signs not apparent where they usually were, nothing was adding up and we both began to feel displaced. It was about 2am, and we reluctantly made a call back to Rory. We were told to return a mile back up the road and look for a missed left hand road - easy to miss in the dark as it was off a dual lane carriage.
Back on track, we headed into a village and again things did not add up. There was no signage at a main crossroad. I looked at every sign post as Oscar waited patiently. He wasn't looking too good but was keeping his chin up. Having lost confidence, we called back and woke up a sleeping RD (sorry). As we waited to receive instructions from Rory, we both cooled down significantly. Fortunately I had a jacket, but Oscar had nothing further. He went sheet white, his lips quivered and managed to stop him throwing up over his bag. He was shivering, his shin was hurting...Oscar was at a low. My motherly instincts kicked in and I gave him my ankle support in the hope that might help him, and tried to keep him warm until we had made a decision to move based on Oscar's GPS (technology is wonderful).
It took us just over 4 hours to complete this leg of the journey and we made it to CP6 apologetic to the waiting marshal. Our earlier times had averaged out to 2.5 hours.Having been lost in other events, have found the energy can be sucked from your body within minutes of finding oneself repeatedly lost. I did not get that feeling here and was grateful to have had a companion to be lost with! We spent about 20 minutes at this CP. It was important to ensure Oscar had loaded back up with carbs/sugar/salt.
60-70 Miles: CP7: The Magic Wonder of A Rising Sun
As the sky began to lighten, Oscar told me to go on ahead and assured me that as it was lighter he would be okay, but knowing he was fighting injury (shin splints and blisters). Like a loyal dog, I refused and told him we were buddies. We had got through the night portion and I wanted to ensure we both finished. Mentally it is easier for me to be helping someone else rather than just myself. I had a mission to ensure we both completed the event and Oscar, being an upbeat person was easy to be around. Without much further ado, we soldiered on.
It is amazing how a rising sun can invigorate the soul. Our spirits seemed to draw the emerging ball of energy into our own and we began to run. About 5am and 4 miles into this next leg, Oscar's buddy appeared on bike (a really lovely guy) as a roving supporter with supplies. With all things new and alive around us, we blasted down a long downhill section, completing the 10 mile section within 2 hours.
70-80 Miles: CP8: People on the Road
After about 15 minutes at CP7, I needed to get moving as the leg injury was stiffening up as it got cold. Oscar now had a buddy and didn't need me any more, so I left him at the CP, trying to ease my leg into motion.
It is strange that after having felt very comfortable in the pervious 5 miles, my leg no longer wanted to play. Despite getting Oscar to spray my leg with his anti-inflammatory spray at the CP, the back of the knee was having difficulty opening up. I knew that completing this event would mean 4-6 weeks recovery time thus no training time for the next marathon that lay ahead in South Dakota. I was adamant that I would complete this event as there were only 30 miles left. DNFs (Did not Finish) are soul eaters and I didn't need another to kill my confidence for a future ultra even if this meant a 6 week lay off.
The sun was now fully radiating its splendor on farmers fields and I was sure there was someone swinging in a tree in front of me. On closer inspection it turned out to be a moving branch and a bag. Cool! Hallucinations were now becoming a feature of this journey. As mental fatigued settled in and began to sit comfortably in my head, I saw more people at the side of the road. When I had got closer, there were just hedges and I had wandered right into the middle of the road. Somehow I had fallen asleep on my feet!
It was time for a defence weapon. A toothbrush with toothpaste! As I brushed my teeth, I thought I could trick my mind into thinking it was time to wake up. It appeared to work for a couple of hundred metres and then the mind said "nah shut down". A fight was ensuing - body, mind, egos, alter egos. A cacophony of discord was in battle. Great as long as my mind was occupied my body just needed to move forward.
I had only managed about 2 miles by the time Oscar and his buddy had caught up with me. Oscar seemed to be moving well and I did not want them thinking they needed to stay with me, so I shooed them on......but now with the shoe on the other foot, Oscar stayed, empathising with my tiredness and now was motivating me on. I was grateful for the company and words.
As we walked for another mile, Oscar's buddy politely encouraged us to run to the next corner, then walk uphill, run down hill. He got us to mile 80 within 3 hours. It was at this CP, both Oscar and I agreed to rest for at least 20 minutes. So Oscar's buddy left us as we lay down in foetal position on a bit of grass on the curb. The marshal also left us with further supplies of food and drink.
80-90 Miles: CP9: The Merry Band
The sun beaming down kept us warm and I allowed my mind to fill with the music of birds, cars, wind in trees, a tractor ploughing......beep beep beep beep...Oscar's alarm! 20 minutes had flown by! I definitely felt so much better for the kip and ready to go. Oscar still had to sort out his legs and feet. My leg was now almost immoveable and the offer of an anti-inflammatory pill was gratefully accepted. We had 20 more miles to belt out and the finish line was now in sniffing range.
As we got ready to move, another of Oscar's buddies pulled in, and as they "caught up" with each other about the event, I decided to get the leg moving. I gave my adieus to limp slowly up the hill, though it really was not long before they both caught up with me. I once more tried to shoo Oscar and his buddy repeatedly on and without a thought Oscar announced "we're buddies and we will get to the end together".
I gotta say it is great having buddies. Further up the road, a car pulled over and out hopped a couple more of Oscar's buddies with reserve supplies and took our back packs from us. Impromptu, they decided to join us on the last 20 miles. The group was now a merry band aiming to get us both to the finish line. We all chatted away, taking in the scenery of rolling hills and farmland bathed in sunlight. It felt like a Sunday stroll with a group of wonderful friends. It was pertty warm now and the sun was painting skins red. With motherly concerns over the group it was time to get everyone to "factor 30" up and my cap that I was not wearing went to a "red/ginger" haired chap. He would certainly need it more than me. Being of oriental descent and growing up in the sun, meant I had more natural sun block protection than our new buddies.
At CP9, one of our new buddies tried to ease off the back of my leg. Unfortunately the leg just needed rest and the inflammation to drain. We had 10 more miles to complete and we were not going to stop until we had reached the end.
90-100 Miles: 70s/80s/90s Karoke Party
I knew Oscar needed to sort out his feet and legs and Oscar knew I needed to get my leg moving, so I walked on, painfully slowly up the hill knowing they would catch up with me easily. Thankfully with no one around I could do my abolutions in peace (I was surprised my body still had trash to get rid of!). I
had just jumped out of the field I had borrowed for privacy, and there was Oscar and his gang.
With about 5 more miles left, I had to sing and soon the whole group were singing a medley of songs from all genres and eras. Oscar's perfect rendition of Monty Python's Life of Bryan said it all. We were such a happy, laughing, singing group. We were hurting and we were having a party!
With just a mile to go, Oscar sat down. His one foot was a bloody mess ravaged with blisters. With a bit of duct tape and some clothe, his friends patched him up to do his final mile. We jogged and with less than 200 metres to go, Oscar's energy ramped up and he put his pains aside. I tried to keep pace with him. He had said he would sprint the final 100 metres and I had said I would keep pace, but his rockets had far more power than mine.
100 songs sung and the last 100 metres but a blur of speed. 100 miles done!
Wonder if mental running translates to physical running?
Does my last 100 miler 6 weeks ago make me good for a marathon
Without any further training except in my mind sitting in front of a PC
Finishing projects, writing code, fixing systems (the internet is soo amazing)
Am assuming that after the first marathon next weekend
I should be ready for the next marathon the weekend after
Ahh we will see the mental battle vs the physical mind
Does this sound foolish?
But then to many so is the thought of completing 50 miles wearing a pair of slipper type sandals
...and they were lovely and no further foot abrasion - my feet loved me for the exchange mid-way
As for tyre dragging - the craze will catch on. You'll see
Always challenge yourself to make you grow mentally
The only obstacles are the ones you put in your way
The madness of Tyre Girl is about to begin!
Cotswold 100 Route
The course follows a cycle route called the Cotswold 100.
Spoiler: For those who want to just know the result - yes I got to the end and I was the 3rd woman.
For those who want to read this tyre-some story to find out how much damage I did, here it is....
- according to Merriam-Webster: is the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest
- according to Wikipedia: is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, and not interested in their surroundings
The longer the distance, the more determination I believe long distance runners must have in order to stave off one's own mind games and boredom. Boredom is an emotion that can manifest during training and during the event itself, causing CBB (Can't Be Bothered) syndrome and apathy. After all, training to run long distances takes large amounts of time and non-running "stuff" happening in one's daily lives can either be resolved in one's head or serve as a distraction and become a complete obstacle. I know at times I wanted to be sorting out a problem rather than running for another 5 hours. In fact being injured was a perfect excuse for sorting out my non-running "stuff" without me feeling guilty about not running.Though at the same time, I recognised that without achieving enough long runs, a 100 mile run can potentially cause damage.
I started off with ambivalent feelings. I knew I could complete a 100 mile event with a run/walk strategy, especially without the resistance of my tyre buddy and despite having only completed 40 miles as my longest event. However, having had a 4 week lay-off (which was good as I could focus on completing "stuff"), the real challenge would be on how I could complete the event with minimal damage.0-10 Miles: CP1: Too Fast
Within the first 10 miles, my head told my body it did not feel like running today, however the mind was distracted by other runners chatting to me. The first 10 miles was in 1:45 and Rory (RD) told the group of us to slow it down or risk burning out later on. Prior to the event, I had planned to complete each 10 miles (CPs were every 10 miles) within 2:30-3:00 hours.(Mundane reminder: Ate a couple of sweets + refilled with water at CP1)10-20 Miles: CP2: Schizophrenic Moments
As a a novice at this distance, I listened and went into tyre dragging mode. The group of runners I was with were more experienced and carried on at a faster pace than myself. Without their chattering distractions, I began to struggle with myself. The anti-histamine had certainly worked to keep the itch at bay however has sleepy side effects (yes even the non-drowsy pills make me drowsy). I normally take 1/2 of one but early paranoia made me take a whole one.Neg mind:
I'm tired, I want to go to sleep.Pos mind:
Just keep going, I said I'd run for the church.Neg mind:
But the body doesn't really feel like running.Pos mind:
Well we'll walk up hills like everyone else and run down them.Neg mind:
A bed would be far more preferablyPos mind:
You can have one at the end
.....and I began to sing a power ballard to distract myself (sing - 'cos I don't like ear plugs in my ears)
| || |
When I wake up, I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be some miles right down the road
When I go out, I know I'm gonna be
I'm gonna be at check point two...
'cos I can walk 100 miles and I can run some more of that...yeah...
ahhhh....Sing it out Proclaimers......the readers want to hear the right words!
So I walked/jogged up hills and ran back down them. However I missed my tyre and couldn't quite get my step right down the hills. The tyre keeps my posture more upright going down a hill, allowing me to comfortably fly down them.....more on that later.
At this point I'd like to mention my bunions. My bunions tend to rub against the side of shoes especially as the feet swell during an event. I had put tape on them prior to the event, to attempt to pad and to circumvent problems but at this distance they began to niggle.
(Mundane reminder: Ate some cereal bars during this leg + chocolate + refilled with 1/4 coke + 3/4 water at CP2)
20-30 Miles: CP3: Spiritual MomentsLeaving CP2, and still not quite getting the downhill posture correct, meant I pushed on one leg and landed slightly ahead with the other leg on the downhill portions. A slight knee discomfort was beginning to establish itself. I knew it was not good to have and needed to change the way I stepped. I walked on the downhill. Very quickly CBB was invading my thoughts.
I'm tired, I want to go to sleep, maybe my back feels a little tight, my feet feel hot and the bunions are feeling a little sore. Perhaps you should stop, after all this is a training run and you could damage yourself.Pos mind: You're rather whiney. I don't want to let the church down and I can take it gently. So go away.
Gosh I'm talking to myself and I'm feeling a little bored.
Neg mind: Well that is going to be a problem because you've only got yourself to entertain yourself!
Pos mind: So be it....
I tuned in to the rhythm of my run and last Sunday's poem from the sermon played in my head
"Make way make way for the King is near,
Make way make way for the King is here"
Looped that round in my head, sang a couple of songs of praise and soon was able to lift myself out of CBB mode, shifting gear into a slow jog.
A participant (Oscar) came up behind and was soon breathing down my back. Thought I would play with him and picked up a little more speed. He kicked a little harder and soon we had propelled each other over 3 miles to CP3.
We thanked each other, I got a quick snack, refilled and was ready to leave. Oscar, on the other hand, was far more relaxed than me. He sat down and was having a good natter.
Oscar: I'll be glad if I can make it to 70 miles as I'll have friends there.
Me: Don't worry, I'll make sure you get there. I'll make sure you go all the way!
I'll make sure he'll get there?! A bold statement from me, as he had already picked up on my pace and would surely leave me in the dust on the next leg. He laughed and said that would be great. I laughed too, but was getting anxious as Oscar did not seem in any hurry to leave, as he relaxed drinking a can of pop and began to take off his shoes and socks to address his legs.
Me: Okay I've got to move, but I will see you soon out later on.
Oscar: I don't blame you. I've got to faff. I'll see you soon.
I don't like hanging around in the early stages of an event. My preference is to have the psychological knowledge of having time in the bag to use later on if I had to.
(Mundane reminder: Ate sausage rolls + chocolate bars + refilled on more watery coke at CP3)
Hilly course profile
30-40 Miles: CP4: The Awakening & Battling Poor Running Form
Departing from CP3, the hills were really bothering my right knee. My tight, right ITB told me it had been working hard for me which meant that my running posture was out of alignment. I walked, trying to correct myself on the move. When I ran a sharp pain radiated over the knee. I was concerned about screwing up the knee if I couldn't figure out how to correct myself on the move but I was also concerned about the ticking of the clock. Thus, about 35 miles, I put an ankle support band around my knee. This caused a slightly bent knee, and helped improve my pull on my right leg. I could now run
down hills without pain. (On hindsight I should have stopped and done some corrective reps to help improve my proprioperception
of how I should be running)
The lovely Oscar
The rain began and I quickly donned on my rain poncho. Soon a gentle shower of water was falling from the skies. With the cooled air, my energy levels
seemed to be renewed. I was soon slow jogging up hills and running down them,
enjoying running in the rain. A deer casually strolled out in front of me and then surprised that I was almost within touching distance dashed back into the bushes. Brushes with nature always brings a smile to me.
Oscar caught up with me a mile to go before CP4. He had a long faff and rest at CP3 which appeared to allow him to move more quickly between CPs. It seemed a good strategy. I asked him about his knee (as it had a knee support), which he said was feeling strong.
I needed to have a nature call but first decided to check in.
At CP4, the rain had stopped where we met Alan, our marshal and an experienced ultra runner. We learned that 9 runners had now dropped out due to burning out and somehow we got to shark stories. Alan told us stories about running a number of ultras with a fractured hip and had run through his pain. The only reason how he knew he had a fractured hip was because on this event last year, he had to DNF at mile 60 as he had begun to urinate blood and then was kept on an intravenous drip for 2 weeks with kidney failure. This is the second time I've heard of this. The first being from Eddie Izzard's aborted attempt of 25 consecutive marathon this year.
Here are some stories and information I have found about kidney failure and ultra running: http://www.ultrarunning.com/ultra/9/9_1/running-rhabdomyolosis-an.shtml
Again Oscar raised some doubts about completing and again I told him I would get him there. Oscar had also only completed a 40 mile event as his longest event and humbly said that if he got to mile 70 he would be happy as he would have friends waiting for him. He had a goal....and so if he got to mile 70, he might as well complete the event.
I tried to relax a little longer at this checkpoint, however Oscar was only getting started on his legs after our 10 minute chat with the marshal. I had to get going for my nature call and told him I had to move and that I hoped to see him earlier over this next distance. Oscar confirmed he would see me sooner! (Mundane reminder: Ate sausage rolls + refilled on more watery coke at CP3)
40-50 miles: CP5: Lost in Darkness
Approximately, 200 metres down the road from CP4, my first "nature call' after over 9 hours on the road appeared to show
extreme dehydration. I had rarely finished my bottle of 750ml before each CP. I did not want to return to the CP4 as it was uphill so I continued towards CP5 taking much more regular sips of fluid.
2 miles on from CP4, I met a man walking his dog, who kindly offered to refill my bottle of water with fresh water as his house was literally on the corner of the route. He apologised for not knowing it was the ultra 100 as he normally supports it every year. Grateful and thankful to him and God, I asked him to look out for Oscar who could possibly be about 1/2 an hour behind me depending on the time he took at the CP. However it was the twilight hours at about 10pm in the evening.
Example of a 100 sign
As darkness descended and head torch turned on, there appeared to be more turns in the route and I felt a pang of guilt for having left Oscar at the CP but my conscious justified that he would surely find the course stickers just as I had.
I took my time to ascertain the correct direction and began to enjoy the challenge of simply finding the stickers. I work best at night, perhaps a left over from my student days of toiling on write ups and essays through the quiet solitude of the night.
As I approached CP5 at midnight, still no Oscar. Gut feeling told me he was getting lost and I again had a flush of guilt. Rory and Jen (RDs) manned CP5 and as I downed 2 bottles of water. Rory advised me to eat salt, so I consumed 2 packets of crisps with a couple of jam sandwiches. Rory was a little perplexed as he had received countless calls from Oscar for directions. I apologised for leaving him and said I would wait for him at this CP. I changed over to sandals as the bunions on my feet were sore in the shoes. The feet thanked me.
Sandal change over
Rory was beginning to worry as he had not heard anything from Oscar and was considering to look for him but a very faint light in the dark announced Oscar's arrival about 15 minutes after I had reached the CP.
Oscar: Can't see anything with this light. Was missing the signs and got lost.
Me: Yeah been waiting for you as my head torch is okay.
Rory: Yes, as TG is a girl by herself, it is dark and it would be great if you could keep her company.
Oscar: Ok, understand.
I looked at Rory and accepted if that is what man needs to justify a girl accompanying him, that was okay by me!
Injuries are coming up and we are both hobbling, however, work is beckoning. More later if you want to continue following my tale of 100.
My leg is nearly healed after 2.5 weeks of hobbling around. I am quietly amused by my whole antics of slow walking/hobbling in an effort to keep my leg working, in the hope that it is dynamically stretching the tightened muscles and unravelling the twisted tendons and ligaments that took place in the last 60 miles of the Ultrarace 100. Resting is not really my thing!
3 months ago, the Ultrarace 100, sparkled and enticed me to join even though Rory (RD) refused my tyre entry. This event started at mid-day and would be held on one of the longest days in the year, 28 June. This meant I would not have to get up early and the night part would be relatively short. It was a perfect event to enter as a training run to kill a couple of demons in my head, if I was going to re-attempt the 135 miler (Arrowhead). However there are two parts to every event. First there is the training to get to the start line and second there is the completion of the event. So far I've failed only one event for the latter and none for the former....but there is always a first time for everything.GETTING TO THE START LINE
After Ridgeway 40 (11 May), I completed a second 40 miler the following weekend in just under 8 hours sans tyre. Still feeling strong my target for the 100 miler was to finish the event within 24 hours. Four weeks
before the event a past back strain came to haunt me as I dragged piles of rubble around (more building work!). Unable to run for 2 weeks due to chronic back pain, I considered cancelling the event.....after all everyone around was nagging me.........that is until I attended my local church.
With the church's vision for a church centre to be a cornerstone in the town and their appeal for funds, I got excited. Perhaps the vicar had put the thought in my head, perhaps God or perhaps I just needed a little more purpose. As I left the church, I did a u-ee (u-turn) and declared to the vicar that I would dedicate my next run to help them raise funds (see https://mydonate.bt.com/events/rimaultrarace100/100147
). Errr.... no I did not tell him I had a bad back.Two weeks
before the event: Still unable to run, I downgraded my time estimation to completing the event within 30 hours and sheepishly announced to those around what I was planning to do.
"Roll the eyes and shaker the head."
Okay so I had 2 weeks to sort myself out and if God wanted me to do this event, my body would be ready on the day. I had a plan to continue with my daily pseudo-pilates and secondly get my buddy Sharon to attempt to clear my knotted back as well as the stiff neck that had been niggling me for a number of weeks. Her first attempt to ease the back had me giggling with pain as she discovered a very tender spot on my glutes, however after her manipulation, I managed a slow 10 mile run 2 days after. The weekend before the event, I slow jogged a 5K and then had Sharon attack my back and neck a second and final time to remove any further tension. The rest of the training plan was to simply eat to put on some weight and ask some church members to pray for me the week before the event! Four days
before the event: Everything was coming together. Me back feeling was better, that girly thing came a week early...but sniff sniff. My nose was runny, had a slight headache and the throat was feeling a little discomfort. I was coming down with a cold. As long as it didn't affect the chest, I would be okay. My touch rugby buddy Kate reminded me to gargle with Listerine. I did for the next 2 days. I was adamant this cold would last 3 days. Event day
: Just a sniffle left of the cold and a slight tension in the lower back - no show stoppers. I had made it to the start line as fit as I could be: very little running in the last 4 weeks and lots of eating. ***lots of imaginary fanfare sound effects + yahoos*** The plan was to keep everything easy and enjoy the sunset and sunrise.THE EVENTThe weather: The day was cloudy and cool at 18 degrees C. The early morning drizzle had died out by about 10am. Rain was forecasted to fall at about 6pm. The next day would be hot and sunny.
Having walked off in the wrong direction to the registration building/startline which was only 5 minutes away from the hotel I stayed overnight in, I was anxious. I was anxious about getting lost and I was anxious about being itchy and clawing my skin apart in the slightly humid conditions (I suffer from eczema). To circumvent the latter, I had a whole anti-histamine before starting which was a bad idea.
Two experienced ultra runners who had done this event assured me it would be hard to get lost on this route. As a newbie (well I've only completed a 40 mile event as my longest and failed the 135 mile event) I thought I'd pick their brains further and followed their advice to reduce my bag of surplus weight of extra water, food and clothes. After all each checkpoint is only a training run away (every 10 miles).Final Kit: Small running backpack; spare long sleeve (parkrun jacket); a couple of cereal bars + one gel; one 750 litre bottle of water; pair of sandals; small towel (to wipe the sweat away and hopefully reduce the eczema itch); head torch; plasters; ankle brace; string (in case I needed to tie anything - like if my shoes fell apart!); small tube of sun cream; small tube of moisturising lotion; toothbrush with toothpaste, rain jacket, emergency blanket.
The last thing I needed to do was to flush out the system of negative thoughts, however I hadn't really thought to do so. I knew I could complete 100 miles, I already had the mental capability. The questionable part was in what state I would leave my physical being.
Anyhow it's late, I've got to go to bed, then work and do all the normal shenanigans normal people do.
In the meantime, I'd like to suggest that future running events have a pen, paper and bucket for you to write down any final negative thoughts as you wait because you arrived ridiculously early for registration. The bucket should be placed at the start line, so you can throw your negativity into the bucket to leave it at the start.
Good night and be with you all again next week for part 2 if I haven't bored you already :-)
Body and one leg is feeling well. 100 miles completed. There is a story (there always is) but unfortunately gotta work.
Write up will be later. Am raising funds for St John's and would be grateful for your support: http://mydonate.bt.com/events/rimaultrarace100/100147
Canaries used to be carried down into coal mines to test for the existence of dangerous gases. They would die before the miners were killed, thus sending a warning to the miners.
Indonesia's rainforests are the third largest in the world, however it is predicted to be reduced to nothing in about 20 years time as currently 4-5 football fields are destroyed daily due to illegal logging and a culture of slash and burn being practiced yearly to clear the rainforest to make way for local agriculture & plantations such as palm oil (see: http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=%2F2011%2F10%2F1%2Fbusiness%2F9507563&sec=business
Not only are Indonesian locals suffering, but so are their neighbouring countries, Malaysia and Singapore, experiencing extreme haze and smog forcing many citizens to turn to respiratory masks to help them breathe and to hopefully block out nasty stuff from entering their lungs. These Asian brothers are the canaries and it would be interesting to identify the percentage of respiratory disorders such as asthma, brochial disorders and lung cancer that have arisen over the past number of years and in the future.
This year, reports of pollution from Indonesia has gone worldwide due to Singapore having a PSI reading above 300. Essentially this means the air quality is not fit for human consumption! (see http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/20/singapore-haze_pictures-indonesia-_n_3470641.html
My legs were constantly battling me with shin splints, achilles, knee pain and the dreaded plantar fascitis. Everyone blamed the tyre. I retrained my running technique and proved it was not the tyre.Zoom forward to 2012
Last year I got involved in a building project lugging "stuff" about and essentially from poor lifting technique, my back gave up. It took my back 3 times to give up on me before I understood "bend the knees" before carrying anything heavy. I hardly ran that year.Return to 2013
3 weeks ago whilst pulling some tonnes of rubble around my garden, the back felt a little sore. A week later my back totally gave up whilst pulling more tonnes of rubble around my garden. Clearly I was not listening to my body and still being greedy with the amount I was hauling to try to get the job finished faster! With a 100 miler at the end of the month, I now had to consider the possibility of dropping out of the event.
However, this give me an opportunity to attend my local church service last week, to hear about their vision for a a church centre that will additionally support the community from all walks of life, regardless of background/religion/culture and to be a safe haven. After service got to have a quick social chat with the vicar and sometime after walking away, I turned back, looked for the vicar and told him I would dedicate my 100 miler to St Johns.
I didn't tell him my back was injured, nor did I tell him I'd not trained now for a couple of weeks so I could possibly DNF. However, I have a commitment and I can't let the church down since it has now all been set up.
So in an attempt to get things back on track, I had some back manipulation plus massage therapy. At one point as "my friend" went into the glutes, it hurt so much I laughed. As she tried to move it to remove the tension, I laughed even harder. If I didn't laugh, I would have dribbled and blubbered through the donut (the hole at the top of the massage bed).
The longest event I have completed is 40 miles with a tyre. The longest distance and time out on my legs was Arrowhead, a 135 mile ultra that I DNFed at 60 miles after 28 hours. I won't be dragging a tyre in this event, after all it was always going to be a "run free" event, but perhaps somewhere someone had foresight for me! Will I complete this event? Well let's see what happens when I go for a run with God ;)So its not about cancer or sick children
, it's about helping a community connect. If you'd like to support me on this event see here: http://mydonate.bt.com/events/rimaultrarace100/100147Ya am hoping to finish the event within 30 hours without injury!!!
Ecuder following the Ridgeway signs
Type of Race:
Trail with way markers and some signs. It is an easy route to follow and did not need the maps I had printed......although a running buddy still managed to get lost (probably due to being busy nattering) and saw him again an hour later!Course:
A point-to-point route through the countryside from Avebury to Streatley (For the history of the walk, click here)Organisation and volunteers:
Described below.....and has a mythical CP that is often dreamed about by runnersWeather:
Cold bitter wind @ 6 degs C going up to @12 degs C - cloudy and sunny at times, rainy sometimes too!Start Time:
07:42 for meStart Location:
Overton Hill, past MarlboroughViews:
Hills, countryside, pigs, more countryside viewsPost Runner Recovery:
Loads of different types of cakes, biscuits, crisps, fruit and teaIf you find navigational marathons difficult - this one is definitely easy navigation. Just follow the way markers that point towards the Ridgeway Byway.
Turn Back Time to 2012
In 2012, the Ridgeway 40 was evaluated by my Oxon 40
buddy, Michael (see http://www.walking100miles.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/ridgeway-walk.html
for his take on the Ridgeway and photos). After having been lost in so many trail events through mis-interpretation of the directions, Mike assured me
"it's almost all on the same path so the navigation required is minimal (which also makes it a bit boring at times), very few hills and almost no mud
Those words...."minimal navigation
".....sounded so enticing, my fingers could not help themselves and sent a quick email to the organisers if they would accept us (Ecuder and me). The response was: "We think you are mad but you can enter. You will need to comply with the rules of the event--especially the checkpoint
Check point times
A quick wander over to the website
revealed generous checkpoint times from CP5 onwards. But surely I should be able to make the earlier CPs easily?
At times we can believe we are superheros, anything is possible and I had to question was that the superhero head that I had on, or the realistic head? I've been told I tend to be in fairy land!!!
Reality check.....little navigation so perhaps little chance of getting lost, nice trail route......what did I have to fear???....
TG response: "Trevor thank you so much for my New Year's present. :-)" and I signed up.
Maps viewed in different ways :-)
Return to 10th May 2013
Being a little paranoid, I printed off the route directions and maps for a bit of reassurance that if I did go wrong I'd have some chance of finding my way back to the path. Too many people have told me I'd never get lost, and I did....even on a marked marathon! (Modesto). Must be getting older.....
....but perhaps not much wiser, as I still ran around the house to prepare my kit and tyre until midnight.
11th May 2013
This year I have changed my attitude towards getting up for an event. Usually I would get up 15 minutes to 1/2 an hour before we were due to leave and drive to the event to get there about 15 minutes before starting. Now-a-days I wake up an hour earlier to prepare my body for the onslaught and at the very least try to get the morning's abolutions done before the event.
Doc Leaves: To sooth the sting from stinging nettles
Unfortunately despite the 5am wake up and leaving at 6am, one's business did not want to arrive (I blame it on the head refusing to wake up) until I had got to the start point, which was pretty exposed and lacked toilets. The start point marshals told me they were sure there would be better coverage up the hill. However the bodily signs were telling me I needed to go now. Despite the mental tiredness, I scanned the area for choices. I headed towards a car and considered that I would be exposed on one side to other event participants signing in. But then I spied a small tree and a kind of plant covering. I headed in......to nettles......it accomplished its assigned task of maintaining my modesty, but I stung my butt.
Someone said there should be some doc leaves near the nettles, however with a cold cutting wind blowing through and time ticking on, decided it would be best to ignore the discomfort and get up the long starting hill that was calling.
07:42 - On the Trail
It was a nobbly trail and Ecuder kept tugging back at me. Perhaps he wasn't in the mood for this either or perhaps my tired head was putting a negative spin. I needed to cast out the demons and comfort us with the knowledge there is a downhill. As runners, walkers and fetchies passed me at the start, I began to feel hot. Alas my hands had reynauds. Still the legs needed to be exposed as running when feeling hot slows me down. Due to numb hands, it took me nearly 10 minutes to undo the button and clasp of my trousers and when it came to the zip......well I ripped it off! (mental note do not use buttons and put a tab on the zip) Oh well will probably not need the trousers again for this time.
Finally I could begin to make some waves going down hill. I could hear a "yahoo" from Ecuder. Ecuder was happy now, we were motoring along and overtaking walkers. To further lift our spirits, Ecuder burst into song: "Take a chance, take a chance, take a chance on me......Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie."
CP1 (@09:15): Was a water/squash stop. I was asked what I was doing. I said I was taking my tyre for a walk as the dog didn't want to come along!
CP2 (@10:00): Was a water/squash and orange stop.
CP3 (@11:30): As above. Tucked into one of the fish finger sandwiches I had prepared earlier on.
CP4 (@12:45): Lunch stop: Jam sandwiches, rice pudding and beer was on offer. Skipped the beer and went for the water.
CP5 (@13:45): As CP2
CP6 (@15:00): Runner's heaven stop: Cake, cake, cake, cake, cake - a cake tent in the middle of no where, with all types of cake!!! This is the type of CP that runners dream of on a training run. All were welcomed with "would you like a spot of tea love?" The tea/cake sirens were beckoning, luring all to stay. It was tough to not just sit down and call it a day. However the caffine in the tea hit the brain. I was awake and after 10 minutes of sampling cake and drinking tea, Ecuder nudged me to move back on to them rolling hills.
(Michael there are LOADS of hills in this event!)
CP7 - CP9: We could relax, as the cut off times were far more generous at this point......but whatever tea I had just drunk pushed me on and Ecuder was being unbelieveable awesome. There was now a group of us constantly overtaking each other. When we went up hills, walkers over took us. However come the down hill, we flew by overtaking back "the walkers". The final hill was a long glorious hill down back to Streatley Youth Hostel. Ecuder was gliding and I was running until we hit the final flat part. We were in Streatley with less than a mile to go. This was probably the only navigational part to be weary of. Thankfully there were plenty of walkers heading in the same direction to follow to the finish which welcomed us with cakes, fruit, biscuits, crisps and of course a spot of tea.
Event completed by @ 19:11. Estimated time for completion was 11:45, knocking off 1/2 an hour off my fastest 40 miler. Another PB in the bag for Ecuder!
Thank you to all the "tyred" and "drag" jokes from passing walkers/runners as well as the fabulous volunteers/marshals for being out there in that bitter wind and rain.
Picture by Paul from Ealing Half Marathon
Type of Race: Trail
with mile markers and some signs + marshals to keep you on trackGoody Bag:
Technical t-shirt, a bit of food, stuff.Course: Round
a park so you have park users cheering you on throughout. One 12 mile route and then 2 laps of the park perimeter. Organisation and volunteers: Excellent
with very awesome volunteersCPs:
Every 4 miles with water, bananas, sweets and later gatorade. Weather:
Started cool @ 6 degs C going up to @18 degs C - cloudy and sunny at times.Start Time:
09:30 but I snuck off at 08:10Location:
Richmond Park, Sheen Gate. You will see deers and wildlife on the lakes.Post Runner Recovery:
Snacks+ free massageWebsite: http://www.richmondparkmarathon.co.uk/
The last time TG ran Richmond Park Marathon
was in 2011. TG dragged Landy round the park and up a slope that has been embedded in her head as Hell's Hill! That rogue Landy
has only completed one marathon 'cos he was such a drag! I wonder if he and Red have been conspiring to not do marathons. They have been such a reluctant couple, preferring shorter distances. You can read about their profiles in About Tyres
This time round, the organisation had revised the route and cut out the insufferable Hell's Hill. This was replaced with a short steep hill that was far more preferably.....lovely......that is if a hill can be called "lovely". Yet with all the lovely hills, the speedster Ecuder has entered the Tyre Pulling Hall of Fame
once again with a shiney PB (time to be confirmed). It should be noted he has had a lot of practice from his last two hilly marathons (Forrest Gump Challenge
and Garden Spot Village Marathon
Picture of Ecuder by Paul from Ealing Half Marathon
So what is happening?It was a hard decision for TG to leave
Red in the treads of Landy, however on hindsight, it was the best decision. The speedster Ecuder has put himself in Tyre Pulling history during the last 2 months! We have seen him progress from marathon to marathon. It was thought he would be a hard pull with his initial performance in Modesto
. Apparently he had taken advice from Red, and decided it was best for both the puller (TG) and himself to revise his tactics.Ecuder has learned how to be great a tyre and he is awesome!Thank you to:- The organisation and all the volunteers
for making us feel so welcomed and all their encouragement thru CPs- T
he passerbys for their continued repeated quibs that keep TG entertained such as "you must be tyred"; "you must have lost your car"; "excuse me did you know a tyre is following you"; "wouldn't you find it better if you took the tyre off"; "can I have a ride"- The kids who also kept me entertained with "
Mummy what is that lady doing?" TG's reply was something like....."Keeping in touch with my eccentric self")-
The runners with their encouragements as they overtook me as well as some who said "Now you're making me look bad"; TG's reply "Well you'd better work harder and lap me a second time"- Paul from Ealing Half Marathon for the photos.-
Gaz and Ray - you guys rock!
I learned a number of things from running 4 marathons in 2 weeks with a tyre:
1. Thought I would get slower and my legs would feel heavy and rigid. Instead and my body soon adjusted to running lots.
, my legs were tired. Thankfully they were sorted out with a free massage. After Crazy 8
, I actually felt okay and could run slowly after. After Forrest Gump Challenge
, my legs/body felt incredibly great! I could have probably fit in another couple of marathons after. With a small one week gap and doing nothing, my legs after the Garden Spot Village
marathon went back to nearly feeling like after the Crazy 8. It is no wonder my body craved to run during the week I deliberately took off as a break.
2. I believe a once a week spin session helped me strengthen the complimentary muscles which in turn does improve my running!
3. If you are okay with much lower crowd support, smaller US marathons look after the runner far better than the larger marathons. It is like working with a small company who is much more personalised, with an attention to detail, rather than the larger corporations. This year, so far, Modesto
and Garden Spot Village
have provided first class treatment to their runners from the Expo to the run to after the run. Their "pasta dinners" are definitely worth going to. (Forrest Gump and Crazy 8 did not have pasta dinners). The Garden Spot Village had a yummy vegetarian offering of broccoli, baby sweetcorn, tofu and bamboo shoots.
Look forward to the future to see how Garden Spot Village and Modesto improve on their sustainability programs.
Thank you to all the organisers and volunteers for their hospitality and ecnouragement, and to everyone (including runners) for the acceptance of my madness.
Run on, be happy, throw trash only when at the aid stations and live in peace :-)
Next marathon will be a return to a local marathon that started up 2 years ago: Richmond Park marathon