When training for an ultra there's always that worry in the back of your mind that you haven't done enough. Your longest run in training is 50km so how the hell are you going to run 180km in a race? It's a very rational fear but running an ultra is not a particularly rational thing to do. I have been feeling good in training but still had a few niggles which seem to come and go quite randomly throughout a run. I was worried that although they might come and go in a 50km run they might come and not go once the distance increased.
A chance to recce the route of the Hardmoors 110 ( it's a 114 mile race along the Cleveland way - used to be 110 but the organiser felt it was a trifle too easy so added another steep hill and 4 miles to it!) came up and I thought it's about time I found out what kind of condition my body is in and see if it can handle a heavy mileage weekend. The plan was to run from Helmsley to Carlton Bank on Friday afternoon a distance of around 30 miles, then to Robin Hoods Bay on Saturday ( 53 miles) and then the remaining 27miles to Filey on Sunday morning and hopefully catch the 12.22 train back to London.
Unfortunately I had to carry all my stuff for weekend as I was by myself and staying in different accommodation each night so not only did I need enough fuel for 3 hard days of running I had to take some dry,clean clothes to wear at night and some toiletries which meant my running backpack was stretched to the brim and weighed a ton. Oh well - all good training!
The weekend went surprisingly well, only missed a few turn offs in the route costing my a couple of extra miles, it only rained heavily twice for around 10 minutes at a time and the sun even came out on the last day. Felt strong all the way to the finish and all the niggle's I was worrying about ended up fine , although picked up a different niggle on the last day - hopefully nothing major though. Scenery was beautiful - easily enough to take my mind of how long I had to go each day!
It took me around 6 hours friday, 12 on saturday and 5 on Sunday. Sunday morning was interesting - the day started with a steep climb which was walked, when I reached the top and it was time to start running again I set off gingerly wondering if the legs would obey but to my surprise they set off on command and maintained it all the way to the end. Kind of like going on a trip with an old car that looks as if it will break down any minute, you are surprised when it starts and even more surprised that it gets you to your destination with no problems at all!
(A niggle for those of you that are wondering is an awareness that something isn't quite right in your body but it's not enough to stop you running - ignore them and you can end up injured , manage them and usually you can continue to train)
Taking a week off this week to recover and hopefully back into training next week - 7 weeks to go till race day!