Saturday 28th March 2015

21.1km 1:56:25 (South Downs Way 50, session 23)

The [quite possibly] penultimate run of my  South Downs Way 50 training has left me feeling a whole bunch of things! As this was a long run I’m going to impart my on the run learning shortly but first of all, a confession.

Forgive me parkrun Gods for I have sinned – I mistakenly believed that parkrun started at 0930hrs. I kicked myself when Gabrielle texted me to wish me luck 0850hrs, I replied I was just getting ready to go whereupon she informed me of my mistake – “I thought Park run was at 9am!…” read the text. The plan of action for my morning was to run 5km at 50-mile goal with my SDW50 mandatory kit before racing parkrun sans kit and then picking it up at the end to run 6km at marathon pace to round at a 10 mile morning. Alas, that was not meant to be and I am going to have to wait for my return to the local parkrun – I really want to best my 2nd place debut and my only parkrun to date!

I felt a bit crestfallen after realising my plan had gone to pot! I was looking forward to racing and I thought I might do quite well as I’ve done some road tempo work this week and I purposefully took a rest day yesterday. I pulled myself together and, as I was already dressed for a run, I picked up my race vest and headed for the trails. My new plan was a no-nutrition, no-hydration trail half marathon. I decided this would be a good mental and physical test because I would be carrying both water and gels in my race vest – I’m glad to report I didn’t touch either and I am equally glad at this moment that I won’t be doing one of these type of runs again for a while! I had intended to run out 11 klicks and then run back exactly the same way but I kind of ran out of fresh trail at the 9km point so I ran up to 10km and turned there – I knew I’d have to make up the 1.1km by running straight past my home and around the block at the end of what was turning into quite a tough run but I put that thought to one side!

It took quite some time to get going and, in fact, I’m not entirely sure that I ever really did get into the flow of the run! It was a bit of slog as some rain over the past couple of days has turned my local clay trails to a sticky, muddy mess in parts and I had to walk some small sections which is never good for momentum or mood! Another thing that was playing on my mind was my pace. I had made a conscious decision to run at least the first 10 klicks in my 50 mile pace range which I achieved but which also took it out of me a little as I was having to reign myself in on the really runnable sections – it was at around the 6 or 7km point that I decided to change it up on the final 11.1 klicks. This got me through the rest of the klicks up to that point and then I did my best to up my pace as much as I could and for as long as I could if the ground underfoot allowed me to! I think I probably enjoyed this run between the 10 and 18km point and then after that, again, it turned into a bit of a grind. I was feeling depleted of energy, very thirsty and my legs were hurting from my refusal to hike the ups! I had been expecting to find it tough from the get-go what with the nutrition and hydration strategy intended to make me suffer so I ran with my headphones in and music on from the first step to the last and I’m going to sign off by giving thanks to Kaiserdisco for their mix from Summer of Love Festival inPeru, Dave Clarke for Whitenoise Radio Show #482 (a really heavy techno offering) and to Agoraphobic Nosebleed for the insane grindcore on the LP ‘Agorapocalypse’.

Here’s hoping my iPod stays in my pocket at SDW50 and here’s hoping my mind gets into the task underfoot far more quickly than it did today! I really, really want to find my flow out there on April 4th. I’d like to get into the zone as early as possibly because I know it’s going to be a tough 50 miles with more elevation gain than both of my previous ultra’s combined! If you’re interested C2C’s elevation was +462m whilst the Grim 40 was +588m and next weekend SDW50 is going to clock +1737m…

With that dear reader I am away for the day! Tomorrow I’ll be running my [potentially] final South Downs Way 50 session before tapering begins.

Peace & Blessings x

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