I thought I’d been resting lately, not running as much and upping the bike mileage instead. But my piriformis syndrome and sciatica is getting worse and worse. Then during my recent marathon, I realised that I’ve actually done 2 marathons and 3 ultras in the last 7 weeks! (London Marathon, Thames Path 100 [73 miles of it], Trail Attack 24 [7x10km laps], Aylesbury Ring Run [34 miles], and the Phone Home Run marathon)! At Phone Home, things were hurting and I slowed up considerably. I think it’s time to really start working on my stretching, physio exercises for my piriformis, and a little less running.
So here’s my last 6 weeks of training, and a round up of the last 6 months in general.
After the 24 hour relay on the 21st/22nd may, I took a rest day on Monday, swam Tuesday, and rested Wednesday. But then I went hard for the second half of the week with a Thursday 15 mile run home from work, and Friday 30 mile round trip bike commute. Saturday morning, I got in a 3000m open water lake swim at Bray Watersports centre, a 5km run at Wycombe Rye Parkrun, and a 27 mile bike ride (reduced from the planned 40+).
Sunday, my club put on a 34 mile run around the Aylesbury Ring.
This was an off-road ultra, split into sections with people coming and going for various sections, and volunteers manned checkpoints with well stocked cars. 12 of us did the full 34 mile distance. I got stung to bits from nettles and this was in addition to an allergic rash from the long grass we were running through. My legs were burning and throbbing with a rash from thigh to ankle (see pic below which makes it look a lot lot better than it was!). The histamine coursing through my body couldn’t have been helping and I felt systemically blah, not to mention the heavy training Thursday-Saturday, leaving me feeling exhausted. I struggled for the whole run and found it hard, especially as some people were running there first ever ultra, and perhaps had only done a couple of marathons before too. This is my thing and I was flagging! Still, I made it, and I enjoyed a lie in the sun, a burger from the BBQ, and a cake from the cake sale afterwards. Proceeds went to the Arctic One Foundation, a brilliant charity which helps those with disabilities get into sport. They buy prosthetic limbs, and pay race entries as well as hosting able bodied and para-triathlons and other multi sport events.
Monday was a rest day for me, followed by a swim on Tuesday. I made it back to running club on Wednesday for the off-roader, and got in a 30 mile round trip bike commute Thursday before a sports massage. Friday I was off work and got in a 50 mile bike with a couple of cafe stops. I was working all weekend but managed to squeeze in a 2500m lake swim at Bray before my Saturday shift, and then another rest day Sunday.
Monday was another long day in work, and I was supposed to drive to Cheltenham afterwards, but I was just exhausted and the thought of a long drive just didn’t seem safe. I couldn’t sleep though, so went out for an 11pm 5km run and stopped half way to help push a stranger’s broken down car. In my multicoloured zebra print leggings and jazzy Asics Noosa, running through the night, jumping at the chance to push a car, they must have thought I was mad!
Tuesday and Wednesday I was on annual leave and went to see my parents in Cheltenham. I squeezed in as much as possible and had a brilliant ‘weekend’. Tuesday, I went to a Hot Yoga class at Ella & Fleur Hot Yoga, and then spinning with my dad in the evening. Wednesday, I joined my mum at her last adult ballet class, before leaving Cheltenham; did a 3000m lido swim; and then went to a track session with my old running club – CLC Striders.
Thursday I fitted in a 15 mile bike before my sports massage, and Friday and Saturday were rest days. Then Sunday, I did another marathon.
The Phone Home Run, was an ET themed race, organised by
Phoenix Running, a lovely friendly and easy-going race, actually a timed race allowing as many 3.28mile laps out and back along the Thames Towpath as you can in 6 hours, but I just wanted to run a marathon, and actually the majority do, with a few going further, and a fair few doing less, with anyone doing 1 lap or more being eligible for a medal. And boy are the medals good! In this one, the runners are on a slider to run across the sky like Elliot and ET on their flying bike, and ETs finger contains a flashing LED. Super cool, and I look forward to getting in a couple more of their events soon. I’m particularly interested in getting their Ghostbusters, Terminator,
Dr Who and Dirty Dancing Medals.
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – Club swim session
Wednesday – Off-road club run
Thursday – 30 mile round-trip bike commute
Friday – 30 mile round-trip bike commute
Saturday – Lake swim and Milton Keynes Parkrun
Next up was the Ridgeway Relay. Like I’ve mentioned in a previous blog (Druids Challenge when I ran the whole thing over 3 days), the Ridgeway is Britain’s oldest road, stretching from Ivinghoe in Buckinghamshire to Marlborough in Wiltshire, a distance of 85ish miles. Marlborough running club stage a relay race along this route split into 10 legs. My club, Bearbrook entered 3 teams (A/ladies/vets). I ran two legs for the ladies team. Leg 6 was 10.4 miles, and leg 9 10.7 miles, both really rather hilly. It was tough. I made up one place on the first leg, then there was a mass start so things got a little confusing and it was hard to track who was where. I let 5 people pass me on my second run, but due to some teams being behind what with the mass start, it looks like I only actually lost us 1 position, so overall broke even over my two runs. Gutted that we lost out on 1st ladies team prize by 16 seconds. SIXTEEN SECONDS over 83 MILES! It was a really fun day out though, travelling together in minibuses and cheering our runners from all 3 teams at the handovers. Our vets team came home victorious in 1st place. Overall standings were:
Bearbrook Ladies 14/42 11:45:00
Bearbrook Oldies 19/42 12:00:58
Bearbrook A 29/42 12:23:29
I was working nights so had a light training week with two lido swims and one very short, easy run.
Saturday, I skipped Parkrun in favour of a lie in,
then went to take part in the Cotswold Way Relays with CLC Striders, I was on leg 8 so had plenty of time to wake up and refresh beforehand. I started well holding on to 3rd place up the big hill at the start, but then lost a lot of positions on the big technical descent which followed. I was being really cautious, aware this wasn’t an A race for me, and that I had a lot to lose if I broke something. I made up a couple of positions on the flats and road sections, but then my stomach started to complain. I had to stop a couple of times, and lost sight of the person I was following. I switched on my navigation but took a minor wrong turn. This led to me being the wrong side of a ridge and fence, and although I was just parallel to where I needed to be, I was on really uneven difficult terrain in comparison and ended up having to scramble on all fours to make it back on track. At which point the heavens opened, with the most torrential downpour I’ve seen in ages, or rather couldn’t see – it was almost blinding! Accompanied by thunder and lightning, I tromped home around half way down the field, completing the 12 miles / 1469ft ascent in 1:51. That’s more than the elevation of both my legs from the Ridgeway combined! Still, not my finest hour.
Sunday I took part in the Tour De Vale 100km sportive around Aylesbury Vale. I wasn’t going for a win, but with rain forecast for 1pm, my goal was to be done inside 4hours to get home and avoid getting wet again. However, early on I got a flattish tyre. I used my co2 cannister, but like a rookie, didn’t close the valve properly so straight away the air all came back out. Not realising I hadn’t closed the valve, I assumed I had a puncture, but I didn’t have a pump (double rookie) so waited until I got to a Marshall to stop and fix it. He didn’t have a pump either but called the mechanics, (oh the shame!). While I was stopped, another guy stopped to make a phone call, so I asked to borrow a pump, he didn’t have one either but offered his co2 up – so generous! But rather than letting me do it myself, he insisted on helping and using his own connector….which he promptly broke. CO2 wasted, I had to wait for backup to bring a pump. And after maybe 20-30 mins, I was off. It was a novelty for me, overtaking people on a bike ride the whole way, though granted they were some of them walking their bikes up the hills. I don’t know my official time as I paused my watch while waiting for a pump, but my actual riding time was over 30 mins slower than planned. I rode like a slug. Still, lessons learned – never ever ride without a pump. And it’s all miles in the (saddle) bag.
Monday – 16mile bike + 5mile run
Tuesday – 1.4m swim, 10.5m bike, 3m run
Wednesday – 3.5m run
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 15 miles including Paris Parkrun (1st female finisher)
Sunday – Rest
SIX MONTH ROUND-UP
So, totals for the last 6 months:
Run 932 miles
Bike 538 miles
Swim 43 miles
My month on month run mileage compared to last year are almost identical, and annoyingly I dipped below 100 (97!) miles for the month for the first time in June, felt just too tired to get up and go Thursday before work. My next 6 months will likely be lower with fewer ultras and shifting attention to triathlon.
Bike-wise, I’ve been far more consistent, but again only got going a few months in. Hopefully by Ironman in September, the bike will have overtaken the run total.
Last year I swam a total of about 10 miles all year, and that includes 2×2.4 mile swims in races, so smashing that tally.
In 6 months I’ve done 6 ultras, 2 marathons, 2 half marathons, 10 5kms, 4 cross country races of varying distances, a 100km bike sportive, and a duathlon. In the calendar for the next 6 months are a couple of marathons, half marathons and sprint triathlons, a half and a full ironman, the long course weekend, and the full Ridgeway as a oner. Let’s go!