When I signed up for the two-day Rat Race Road Trip, London to Edinburgh cycle ride, I thought, how hard can that be? I clearly didn’t think hard enough. This weekend, three months on from that decision, I found out.
Another weekend, another two-day blast as my training intensifies for the UTMB – now only four-and-a-half months away. This time I headed west for XNRG’s brilliantly organised Cotsworld Way Ultra-marathon. It took in 60 miles of the 102-mile national trail which runs from Chipping Campden in the north to Bath in the south.
Lunchtime running. Work takes up so much time that it can be difficult to fit in the training. One way round this that I’ve found is to run in my lunch break. If there’s time to go to the pub, there’s definitely time for a run.
Running events take you all over the country and perhaps to somewhere you wouldn’t usually choose to visit for a weekend – this time it was Hastings for the annual half marathon.
After completing the Marathon des Sables in May 2012, I thought I’d earned the next 10 years off running. The MdS is a multi-stage ultra-marathon across the Sahara. Along with 900 others, I had to cover 150 miles in five days on brutal terrain in blistering heat. I loved it but even so enough is enough. Or so I thought.
Up until the age of eight, I lived on the edge of Richmond Park and thought it was the size of a small country. We walked the dog there and I thought I’d circumnavigated the globe. We moved away, I grew up, went to college and for years I did very little exercise. Richmond Park was forgotten.
There’s nothing so frustrating as illness or injury when you’ve got a big goal in your sights and a training schedule to stick to. And this past week a whole load of frustration has come my way.
Without wishing to come across as a weirdo stalker, if I could dedicate one room in my house to sporting heroes, I would plaster the walls with posters of John McEnroe, Rafa Nadal, Chrissie Wellington, Marion Jones, Lance Armstrong and Haile Gebrselassie, to name but a few. I have watched them, cried over them, cheered them, and to varying degrees, felt let down by them.
This weekend’s training felt like a hard slog and merely a means to an end. It involved a three-hour crisscrossing of Richmond Park in the rain and I didn’t really enjoy it.
Mud, mud, glorious mud. Apparently there’s ‘nothing quite like it for cooling the blood’ – if you’re a hippopotamus but if you’re a runner taking part in this weekend’s Pilgrim Challenge North Downs Multistage Ultra then it almost stopped you in your tracks
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