Well, it’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged and right now even my brain is too sore for a catch up. Short version is ~ 7 marathons, job change, crewing, marshalling, new runner friendships, weight gain, too much work travel, loss of motivation and a partridge in a pear tree.
The reason for finally popping in here to write something? I did my first ultra! The fabulous Stort 30. Note I have not used the word ‘ran’. Now this is where I could write a step by step, check point by check point, pebble by pebble, duck by duck account of the 30 miles but I have neither the energy nor inclination and let’s face it, if you want that you’ll go read something a whole lot more entertaining like a Caesars Camp or Spartathlon write up. What I will do though is give a few pointers to anyone facing their first ultra. After all, I’m an expert now 😉
How Not To Train
Do not mistakenly think knocking out 7 marathons in 3 months means you can do sod all training for the next three months. 3 ten mile runs is going to fool nobody.
Do not buy a bike 6 weeks before the race and decide that cycling over 300 miles will be training enough. (Note: do get a bike though …. fun playing chicken with the tourists stepping off kerbs)
How Not To Behave On Race Morning
Do not be so nervous you forget to say hello to people you know. (Note: I seriously had tunnel vision. Sorry)
Do not convince yourself everyone there is such a hardened expert that they will laugh if you sit pre race putting Vaseline on your toes. (My toes are nicely blistered as punishment for that one)
Do not convince yourself people are looking at you thinking “Whats this fat heifer doing? It must be a bet”.
How Not To Get Yourself Mentioned On A Podcast
Do not after running the initial two laps of the field wave at the Race Director as you dive back into the hut for the toilet. He WILL ensure the whole world knows. (Although the good folks of Bishop Stortford probably appreciated not seeing my big pale bum out at the side of the river)
How Not To Endear Yourself To The Lovely Friend Who Sacrificed Having A Decent Run Just To Keep You Bloody Company
Do not spend the first 10 miles chattering away and then going dead silent for the next 10. Doing that only causes her to worry and start talking where you can only manage a grunt for a reply. (Note: I did insist she leave me at mile 20 so she could at least rescue her own run)
How Not To Look Like You Need Locking Up
Do not jog along counting out loud it scares the locals. (Note: it bloody helped give me something to concentrate on though. Jog 400 full right foot paces and walk 100 – was a half mile in the bank each set)
Do not keep looking over your shoulder when doing the above. It only adds to the weirdness. As long as the sweepers don’t pass you it’s all good.
How Not To Look A Bit Crazy To The Checkpoint Crew
Do not get excited that at the age of 41 you have been stung by a bee for the first time and jog into the checkpoint proudly showing them the stinger (Note: how can a teeny sting proceed to feel like your big brother has punched you in your thigh?)
How Not To Hear The Worst Jokes EVER
Do not let the sweepers catch you. They tell you bad jokes, they sing, they wear hideous shorts and they try to give you gels they found on the ground. (Note: they also appreciate your determination to finish and allow you to swear like a sailor at your uncooperative legs)
How Not To Ruin Your Finish Line Picture
Do not be so overcome with emotion (and hunger because you couldn’t eat properly for 30 bloody miles) that you grab the lovely finish line crew and start sobbing. (Ok, the fact she had a G&T in her hand might have had something to do with that)
So, there you have it. Some things not to do.
In all seriousness though. Massive lesson learned on the training front but I enjoyed every painful step. I am not even going to begin trying to thank each of you by name who have played your part in my last year as quite frankly the list is way too long. Suffice to say I bloody love my ultra family. All of you.
I will say though, thank you to all of you at the race who encouraged me, laughed at me, and simply made my day. Thanks to all of my ultra family who over the last year have planted this seed of insanity.
Thank you for all the messages afterwards on Facebook and Twitter. Made me sniffle a bit.
Thank you to the inventor of Gin.