Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The voice of caution knows nothing of real joy...

A fellow runner and all-round inspiring guy, Rajeev Patel, quoted Neal Donald Walsh, in relation to LLCR130: "The voice of caution knows nothing of real joy for what joy is there in doing that you could? Try something you could fail at ... that might just be living".

I can't think of many truer words than those, but I will write a short summary of this adventure...I can't summon the words to write a proper description and blog just yet.

Well, that was a challenge! 

It was slow going, it was tough, it was tear-inducing, it was swear-word-inducing, there were blisters, blisters made worse by wet and sharp stones, lots of far apart bridges, pretty scenery, dodgy bits, cosy barges, falling asleep on my feet, lots of comments about how far away Leeds was, quizzical looks from passers-by, lots of random food, a bacon buttie at 95 miles, a half pint of beer at 113.5 miles, an ice cream with 6 miles to go... And after it all: We did it :-) hurrah!

36 hours 57 mins (slower than we wanted, but glad to finish and much under the cut-off of 42 hours, so happy)

Proper blog to come. Watch this space.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Almost ready.

Almost ready to run 130 miles (or thereabouts). Unfortunately (well, hopefully not unfortunately), I work as a residential teacher in a language school and there are lots of germs going around at the moment. In the last few days it seems that there has been some sort of stomach bug going around. It seems similar to a Norovirus type thingy – diarrhea and vomiting. I really do not want to get sick. I really, really, really do not want to get sick. I have been really looking forward to LLC 130 too much and I am avoiding this ‘plague’ like the plague. I don’t think I could possibly anti-bacterial-ise my hands any more than I have. I’m also eating lots of fruit, taking lots of chlorella and drinking lots of beetroot juice. I feel like I’m getting lots of antioxidants and vitamins this way. And I’m staying optimistic. Also, I’m drinking a lot of water.

I’ve now bought most of my supplies for the race, which includes Pringles...3 tubes of Pringles (once you pop, you can’t stop...), a first aid kit, ibuprofen, paracetamol, wet wipes, baby wipes, toothpaste, Peppa Pig toothbrushes for on-the-run dental hygiene, SIS energy gels, energy bars.... phewwww. I also found my Grand Union Canal Race 145 race no. still attached to my race belt from last time :)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


I get a little worried when I talk to non-runners about upcoming ultras and events...even past ultras and marathons, actually. I’m aware that a lot of people don’t have a clue what I’m going on about and absolutely hate running and that’s okay, I’m not trying to be preachy, just trying to spread the running love. But, some people look so shocked. I’m not sure if it is shock over the actual act of running for over 100 miles or completing 100 marathons or the fact that I don’t really ‘look the part’. 

I’m not super skinny and I don’t wear Lycra 24/7. I’m slim and I think I’m fairly toned with adequate muscle, but I’m not what most people would consider a marathon runner to look like. I don’t look like what you see on the tele when some championships or other are being aired. And I guess I am a part of a unique little running community. I’m not sure what people who run crazy distances and hundreds of marathons are supposed to look like. I’m not sure that an exact formula or image has been worked out for that one in the general media or society. I admit that when people act so shocked and have lots of disbelieving questions I panic a little. 

I know that I know more than they do, but it still leaves me a bit unnerved sometimes. For a few moments I wonder if I am completely capable or not. I have a little worry that maybe they know something I don’t know. I know this is irrational, but then again, there isn’t always a rational aspect of running so far. We just do it because we can. The question isn’t ‘why?’, it’s ‘why not?’ And there’s always pre-race Guinness (and recovery Guinness...)

Edit: George added that 'it's also a real shame that people are so shocked by it - its such a fun wonderful thing to cover long distances on foot and see some amazing countryside and scenery and build up a big appetite for some yummy food and some well earned beers - it should be commonplace really'. I agree. It shouldn't be commonplace that people exhibit shocked 'smacked by a trout' expressions. Also note: some people are nice :)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Game plan

I admit it – I’m a compulsive laminator. I laminate everything. Teaching TEFL, I laminate so much of my lesson stuff; word cards and pictures. So, last night I stayed up for a little while longer and typed up a table filled with info on Checkpoint timings and cut-offs for LLC 130 this Saturday. It’s really useful and motivating to know how (hopefully) far ahead of the cut-off times you are in a long ultra. It makes it all into a bit of a game; ‘OoOoOoo we have 1 hour in the bank for later, we have this many hours to spare just in case...’ Let the game begin :-)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

'Die germs die!', I'm off to run an ultra...

LLC 130 countdown is seriously on (seriously...). I must admit that running 130 miles down another canal hasn’t been high on my list of priorities of late. This isn't because I don’t want to, because I really, really want to go on this adventure. However, I’ve been catching every possible bug/ germ/ cold virus going. All the germs seem to want to hitch a ride with me. Currently, I’ve had a cough for the last 6ish weeks and I’ve seen a nurse at the walk-in centre and doctor during this time. The nurse just told me my lungs were clear, I had a great lung capacity and I was just unlucky to catch one virus on top of the other and there was nothing she could do. Boo! I saw the doctor last week and he agreed that I had a temperature and prescribed some antibiotics (finally!). I know doctors are quite reluctant to prescribe antibiotics willy-nilly as they think everyone is becoming immunised to these nasty bugs, but I haven’t taken any or even been to the doctors for 6 years! 

So, I finally feel like I’m getting better and a lot of my energy has returned and now I’m raring to go and run from Liverpool to Leeds. The only annoying thing is that I haven’t run for well over a week and I wasn’t doing too much before that due to this nagging cough and hectic-ness at work. However, I do play with my kettlebell and work-out and I feel I’m up to the challenge.

When it comes to something so long I believe that mental strength is incredibly important and that adequate nutrition before and during is vital. So, I’m leaving nothing to chance – lots of vitamins, rest, sleep, crazy flavoured yummy tea and fresh nutritious food (lots of fruit salad). Bring it on... Rarrrrrgggghhhh!