Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Quadzilla, rOAAAAAR

Over a week has passed since the Quadzilla (4 marathons in 4 days, roaaar) now and I have been thinking of how to sum it up. Sometimes I think I think too much (see, right there, too much thinking). Overall I had a brilliant time and it has definitely made my February more exciting. I didn’t have anything as such planned in for February, since I have been aiming to do fewer events in the lead-up to the Thames Path 100… I really don’t want to mess it up & I am yet to complete a 100 miler, so it means a lot to me.

I have tried and failed twice previously at this distance through lack of preparation and over-doing the marathons and shorter ultra’s in the lead-up to it...meaning that I would do a marathon/ ultra/ back-to-backs for weeks upon weeks before the big one and the weekend right before it and hope that things would just work out ok. I’ve not battered myself too much this year yet and following the Quadzilla I have not raced these last two weekends.

Ok, I seem to have gone off on a bit of a contradictory tangent because I have seemingly filled up my February with marathons where I had not planned them due to tactical preparation…HOWever, it has felt like some good training mileage and I didn’t overly exert myself. More to the point, at least I’m not doing a marathon or an event this coming weekend, eh! Psychologically, taking part in the Quadzilla was a huge boost for me because I had been feeling rather down of late. I was feeling out of ‘the loop’ of running and events.

Taking part in events allows me a bit of escapism and inspires me; seeing all these fascinating people and hearing all their amazing stories of adventure or plans of adventure makes me feel excited at the possibilities that are out there. Life can be boring without getting inspired once in a while. So, I was experiencing a bit of withdrawal. These 4 marathons addressed that issue and I had a great little break. What’s more, we had SNOW! Now, in the North West, we haven’t had any snow…not a single flake. Sure, it’s been freezing and feeling wintery, but no snow.

Day 1 - Thursday 9th February 2011

It was really freezing and I felt really tried from the outset. Having train-ed it down to Telford the previous night and crashed at some lovely runner friends’ house, our drive across to Milton Keynes on the Thursday morning wasn’t such a long one. I still slept in the car though. I felt really sleepy. I feel like this a lot in the cold. I have the best sleeps in the cold and yet I’m always tired, like I should be in hibernation. Brrrr. Still, it was lovely to see so many familiar faces upon reaching our starting location. It is a familiar location. I have run around this lake many many times before. I completed the 4 marathons in 4 days last year in preparation for my Brathay Challenge of 10 marathons in 10 days. It is a really good way to get in those training miles and get some good quality time on your feet. 

Now, me and this lake don’t always see eye to eye. It can get a bit monotonous. However, it was lovely to see this lake in a different wintery light. I have never before encountered such an expanse of frozen water. It was great to watch the ducks and geese and swans skate around on the ice and take in the scenery. And it seemed to change every day. There were a few icy patches and one particular bit proved quite treacherous around the far side of the lake. Some of the frozen bits stayed with us for the next 3 days. Day 1 was my fastest day.

Day 2 – Friday 10th February 2011

It snowed on the Thursday night and as I watched the snowflakes fall I felt like a little kid at Christmas. It seems like so long ago that I saw snow fall and I was excited about the prospect of running through the snow, albeit I had not packed my trail shoes. Still, I was excited. I felt a bit more awake on the Friday morning from the sheer anticipation of getting out there and experiencing the lake in a whole different way again. When you are running 7 ½ laps on the same lake every day for 4 days in a row, it really helps to visualise your surroundings in a different light.

Therefore, the snowy/ frosty/ wintery weather meant that each day our surroundings seemed that bit different. Granted, by about half way through the third day, I was beginning to go a bit crazy, but a bit of added frosty glitz can make anything look more magical. On day 2, I found myself laughing at the ducks and how they slid across the ice…the things you think of whilst out running! I also noticed that at one particular point, members of the public would stop to feed a particular bunch of ducks and geese and appeared to laugh at them as they frenzied across the ice in search of the food on offer. The simple things in life amuse me.

As Day 2 drew to a close I noticed that my left foot was someone tender. It never got painful, but there was a niggle there. I figured it was due to running on an uneven slanted section of grass and then repeating this silly idea 7 times over. My right foot was fine. Anyway, I really felt it and so, that night I found a patch of snow and covered my foot in it…. A wintery improvised ‘ice bath’ type thing – I found it really helped.

Nutrition-wise, everything was going ok. I was aware that I wasn’t consuming enough water, which is undoubtedly due to not sweating quite so much in the freezing temperatures and not feeling as thirsty. Even so, I tried to drink what I could to save from dehydration for the remainder of the days. Food-wise I had been organised. I hit the sweetie isles of Sainsbury’s hard and stocked up on Liquorice Allsorts, chocolate peanuts and wine gums and made my own little assortments up in snazzy little children’s sandwich bags that were decorated with animated creatures such as monkeys and dinosaurs. I am easily pleased!

To be continued…because, well, if I don’t at least blog some of these events, it’ll take me just ages to finish telling any stories at all & they will be lost amongst the endless files on my computer, so I will break it up

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