17 days left before WRCR: An assessment

You’ll have read recent updates – what I have been doing, what I have been thinking and how I am approaching the race. But then nothing for days. What the hell is going on?

After being up in the lake district for a race and thoroughly enjoying it (I didn’t run it hard, just steady – which is probably the reason why!), I have been struggling to get back into the groove.

While I was in the lakes I didn’t do a whole heap of running (or much at all – as I spent most mornings in bed needing more sleep) and it left my running for the month of may barely reaching 115 miles. Very low mileage considering I am going to run about the same distance in one sitting in a few weeks time.

I could have felt miserable about this, or use it to buck my ideas up and crack on. So, with a few days of work that were crazy busy and struggling to get any running in again (damn it!) I was starting to feel crap that I wasn’t running again. What the hell is wrong with me? I managed 32 miles last week (still low) and one run was 19 miles so it just shows the lack of consistency.

At the weekend I was really happy to help a friend of mine by crewing her on the GUCR from Birmingham to London. She finished on her first attempt (which is relatively uncommon)

I found her grit and determination to finish really inspiring. So much so that on Sunday when I got back home while I would have found it easy to lounge around all day snacking and catching up on sleep, I decided to go out for a run – I was due to do 4 – 5 hours. I really didn’t know if it would happen, but I took my earphones and a podcast and cracked on.

I found running nice and easy and I was enjoying it. I thought at the start I might run some loops so I could refuel / water at home, but a half mile in I decided that because I felt quite good I would go a bit longer at least for the first loop – but to encourage that I would run the checkpoint splits (e.g. 6 miles, 4.5 miles, 4.2 miles, 1.3 miles etc). I found that worked really well and kept me focused on that section rather than worrying about the whole distance/time.

I took some shotbloks with me (jelly type cubes of energy) and a litre of water. I was sipping away, it wasn’t warm weather, but I was still drinking which was really good. I was using a cube every ten minutes and finding it easy to go down (mentally adding this to my list of more things to stock up on) and a couple of hours in I had already covered decent mileage – seemingly flying by. I rustled around in my pack for my third tube of shotbloks…. but where were they? It quickly dawned on me that what I had thought was a third pack, was actually a rolled up bit of rubbish in my vest pocket.

After that, it all went to shit. I was about 5 miles from home and I was out of food and I quickly ran out of water. But hey – I carried on because I usually run without either. Surely I could do the same now?

No…. i don’t know whether it was because of the disruption or whether it is just my arse (i suffer issues with my piriformis) but my right leg tightened and I became resigned to run / walk just to finish off as much as I could in four hours (I had already mentally decided I would do four rather than five by this point).

I got back home and I had pretty much decided I wouldn’t run the canal race. What hope would I have if I can not even cover 20 miles? On top of that, I am dragging my crew to Coventry (!!) to look after me. I don’t want to do that if I can’t do a good job of it. I was basically giving up running by this stage!

Anyway, the next day I was feeling much different about it. After some thinking and some messages with friends I was starting to think that I just need to understand that I can stretch some more during the race, that I really shouldn’t be comparing myself with a version of myself that had trained perfectly and didn’t have piriformis issues, or that was less hefty…. I should do what I can, with what I have. Which I think is a good rule for life more generally.

So I decided that I would do what I can with the remaining couple of weeks of training and try and look after myself a little more. I did an easy jog on Monday evening with the locals from the club, and on Tuesday a faster run with them – it was trail, undulating, and I was running pretty much threshold all the way (and at the back!) I actually enjoyed having others to chase. I protected my piriformis by walking up any hills though, but I did run the inclines.

All in all, I am feeling more positive and so much so that I started to plan out my pacing for the race. I love a good spreadsheet!! I’m excited for the race, and it will be a test for how to manage my piriformis. I have also got in touch with someone who might be able to help with my issue. I’ll update on that soon.

Do you drive yourself insane with your running? Do you produce crackers spreadsheets with tonnes of pacing plans etc? How do you avoid comparing yourself with previous you?

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