Half term came and went and finished with a 13 mile training run as I knew the tides were gonna be suck this week back in work and had already decided to take a rest week – no running at all! Walking Murph a lot of course rain or shine so its never total rest and the aches and pains dont seem to change whether I run or not. In fact I probably feel better when I do run. Theres so much information about training plans out there, do this many miles, do x amount of speedwork, do this do that but I really am feeling the “fuck it do what you love and it’ll come together” works better for me and to be honest that usually translates into 50 mile weeks anyway which is plenty.
I stumbled across a poem this week also – I dont usually do poetry but this one spoke to me especially the second half.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Well you cant fault the weather – Well unless its due to climate change in which case in the long run I’d prefer snow but I guess thats another story. It does mean that every morning we get out for a beautiful walk first thing for 4 or 5 miles and then get some training done in the afternoon. I have some weird tight pain in my glutes still – I mean its being going on for ages – but in fact running actually helps it. its when i sit for any lengthg of time it gets angsty – so hey ho if running fixes it then im down for that!
Every time I feel like im getting into a groove something like flu kicks in. This week has been mainly a writeoff, to be fair the flu didnt properly kick in until later in the week but last weekend saturdays run was around 10 miles and I felt amazing. Then on sunday everything was broke. Just felt bleuuurgh from the off. So you know what, I walked a lot of it, we did 6 miles or so but half run half walk and normally I cant get away from that “cheating” feeling when I walk but I figure its better to be out there doing something than nothing at all. I know Murph would prefer it!
So with 3 months to the first ultra and with a few fell races in between I feel like I cant get a solid training block started … and then i realise I havent really stopped and the fitness is there anyway so whats the worry.
Technically I shouldnt go out and run today but y’know…. techincally we’re all dead one day so im gonna seize this one
We’re still out there. And we’re just enjoying being out and training. By training I just mean running when we feel like it – which for Murph would be every day if he could but for his old man it means when I know the body can take it. No matter because we can always walk anyway!
It really is such a joy to be out with a dog again, I think I’d forgotten how much pleasure you can get just by making an animal so happy. Gotta admit Soaks is probably up there watching and thinking Thank God he never made me run like that, she was definitely a walking dog. But Murphy was born to run (to be fair its his genetics) and watching him bounce around and be a general lunatic with a huge grin on his face is a simple way of making any hurt I’m feeling disappear. It’s so easy to melt a mile away in his company.
Something different for this year as I’ve joined the WFRA (Welsh Rell Running Assocaiation) and decided to run some fell races this year. Not just the long ones I’ve already done such as Preseli but the short ones too. To see what it’s like as much as anything. i’ve never run a race less than 11 miles so I have no idea how to pace myself in races such as the one I did yesterday up in the Brecon Beacons near Llangorse. It was 3 miles and pretty much straight up and down – around 1000ft of climbing and descent.
As seems to be the case with races when you turn up everyone looks extremely fit and serious and in the majority of cases younger. Everyones got the kit and does stretching and stuff and looks like they know what theyre doing so instead I went and bought a coffee and sat with Murph (Everyone needs a co-pilot for map reading) in the van until the start time.
Lining up I considered my options (never plan too early it brings on self doubts) and as the start was literally stright uphill through fields at some crazy angle I decided the best plan was to go full gas until the wheels came off. I figured that 3 miles is a short run for me and it would be worth going nuts to see what happened. So off we went and to my surprise I found myself able to hang with the lead group as they charged off at some suicidal pace straight up. After a while it levelled out into a flatter climb and I found I could hang on there too. Then came a bastard of the main climb as per the image above and I dropped back a bit as eventually the wheels started to come off and although the legs felt really good I simply couldnt get enough oxygen in to keep up full speed. This is what comes of long long training with little speedwork I guess.
Up at the top it was foggy, windy and mercifully not as steep, we hit the trig point (kudos to the marshall up there!) and started the steep and in places slippery descent. By now I was running alone and was guessing the best lines to take (fell running allows you to pick a route in many sections) but made it down as fast as I could without blowing out my ankles. I did miss one turn slightly which cost me 20 seconds or so and 2 places but finally the line was in sight and its a joyous (yeah right) bound through the line.
I didnt really have a clue what time I’d done or where I’d placed, there were the serious looking runners milling around the finish so more coffee, went to watch the presentations and then off out with Murph to give him some time.
And here’s the mad bit – when I saw the results later on their website – I was 17th in a time of 28′ 06′ – Which I’m utterly astounded by. I had no idea how to run the race and out of 70 odd runners came in the top 20.
So what did I learn about short races – go full gas and redline it until the wheels fall off and then pray that no-one catches you on the descent. I really enjoyed it as a change to the longer stuff, less time to think and more time to really hurt – for a shorter time. Mynydd Ddu who organised it did a superb job and it was a great event to kick off the year, I’ll see what happenes next – Might even do some speedwork in training …. or not
I checked my mileage and it was 110 miles for the 2 weeks of xmas – oops no wonder things are a little achey so showing sense and in the spirit of trying to make it though 2019 without a major injury (touch wood etc) I took a week off running and just walked Murph instead. Admittedly we do around 6 miles a day at the lest but its not high impact and he has to have his walks or he goes mental