Tag Archives: We run they run I run

We Run, They Run, I Run: Twilight Chase and an Overindulgent Holiday! (Road to Bournemouth Weeks 19-20)

Having struggled lately to follow my training plan and get out for any significant runs on my own, the Twilight Chase lapped race put on by We Run, They Run, I Run felt like quite a significant race in the final build up to the Marathon, a real chance to get some distance in my legs and build some confidence.

The race was a 6 hour lapped challenge event, finish one lap and you’re a finisher, do as many or as few as you like in the time limit. It was set at Rye Nature Reserve, where we have run lots of time before, and started at 4pm on a really windy Saturday. My plan was to run 4 laps, which would give me somewhere around 17 miles of total running.

We set off at 4pm and headed onto the reserve, a simple out and back lap of 4.4miles. The first outward leg was alright, I was actually running a bit quicker than I had intended so I slowed down, but was feeling OK up to the turn around cone, then wham! The wind! It smashed you in the face and drove you backwards. Suddenly running was infinitely harder, my pace dropped to a crawl, I just couldn’t handle it! I struggled back to the start to get my band marked and wondered how I was going to manage that another 3 times!

Pushing in the wind. Photo credit: Adzade Photography
After some jelly babies I set back out, already feeling pretty demoralised, and my bad knee started to ache, along with my hip, I was going so slowly and dreading the point where I would have to turn around into the wind. I reached the cone and it had got no better. I started the slog back again. I felt ready to give up as I loaded up on more sugar to try and increase my energy levels, but decided I needed to get at least one more lap in, to give me a half marathon for my efforts. I set off on the last lap and just after I turned around again the rain started. It was bleak! There was some sun valiantly pushing through the clouds though so I turned around, and there was a full on rainbow behind me. I stopped running and pulled out my phone to grab a snap. It might have been bleak, but it was also beautiful!

When I got back for the third time it was clear I needed to call it a day. I’d run a half marathon but was short of the distance I had wanted to run. Far from building my confidence, it was severely dented, how will I ever managed to run a full Marathon?

In the end I wasn’t the only person to cut their run short, the conditions were taking their toll on everyone, it was the toughest time I have run at this location, including the time I actually did run a Marathon back in January, but that didn’t much help my state of mind. I was extremely disappointed in myself.

Scaring up a Smile at the finish. Photo Credit: Adzade Photography
Week 19 running total: 33.5km

The day after this disappointing run I went for a few days break in the New Forest to recharge, during which we included a trip to Bournemouth to scope out a little of the Marathon route, then spent the latter part of the week celebrating my birthday with friends and family. I managed to get in a few runs, including a beautiful 12km bimble through the New Forest, but my running total for this week was another low one.

There are now 6 weeks to go before Bournemouth, and my plan is to get in one long run each week for the next three, then taper back down before the big day. This game plan includes sorting out the nutrition side a bit, and cutting out the drinking! (A friends hen-do and wedding not withstanding)

Week 20 running total: 17.5km

6 weeks to go…!

We Run, They Run, I Run: Bates Green Gallop (Road to Bournemouth Week 11)

11 weeks into my training plan and it seems to be flying by, but this means I’m having to actually run some proper distances now, and after successfully negotiation the milestone that was a half marathon last weekend I had another mammoth race to contend with. A lapped affair, with a  6 hour time limit and to make up my weekly distance I needed to cover 30km. Ouch!

It was a pretty course of 3.84 miles around Bates Green Farm, which consisted of some woodland trails, and a lot of farmers fields, which were really quite hard work to run on. You had to concentrate on where you were putting your feet the whole time, to avoid the dreaded twisted ankles.

Views from the farm on my second lap

On much less sleep than I had planned the first lap felt endless, despite only being relatively short, but after that they more or less flew by as you knew exactly what was coming up. There were some nice view’s in places, as we ran past bemused cows and horses in their fields.

The We run, They run, I run Team had yet again laid on a fantastic aid station full of sweets, cakes, flapjacks, fruit and crisps, alongside plenty of water, juice and coke to drink, as well as free tea and coffee for all runners and a recovery muffin when you finished, as well as another fantastic medal.

Despite my less than stellar prep for this race (my lack of sleep due to my lack of will power and my much later than planned exit from my friends birthday party the night before) I was feeling relatively strong once I was past the first lap, but by my final lap I was starting to struggle again, not due to a hangover I might add, but I had some uncomfortable chafing courtesy of my sports bra, my legs and hips were aching, my knee was giving me jip and my bad back was seizing up but I forced myself round the last little bit with half an eye on my watch – less than 5k to go, less than 3, only got to run past the campsite now and then I’m back… I hooted the horn to finish, my watch clocking my 5 laps in at 29.8km I thought about jogging down to the car park to make up the last 0.2km but honestly couldn’t be bothered. Close enough, and I’d done enough running during the week to offset the missing distance. I gladly took my medal and went to wait for the hubster, who was going for another marathon.

Finished

Week 11 Running total: 39.5km

 

We Run, They Run, I Run: Winchelsea Chase

2nd January, New Years hangovers behind us, calves a bit tight from running Brutal 10 on New Years eve, it was time for the first race of the year.

Phil and I were heading to nearby Winchelsea to take part in We Run, They Run, I Run’s Winchelsea Chase. Back in September we had done their first event, which was the same format as this race, just starting at the other end of the course in Rye and enjoyed it, so jumped at the chance of giving it another go, while getting 2017 off to a good start.

The idea of this race is simple, a 5.35mile out and back loop at the Rye nature reserve, to complete the race you have to do one lap, but you are given a 6 hour time limit and run as many laps as you want to/are able to in that time. At the end of each lap you have your wristband marked and when you decide you’re done, you honk the hooter and have your time and laps recorded. This makes this race a mental battle as well as a physical one, as there is no set finish, and you have to decided at what point you will stop.

Last time Phil had run 4 laps, and only stopped because he had to go off and play a hockey match, and I had managed 3 laps, my body hurting too much to continue. When we signed up to do it again, I had every intention of training properly for it, I downloaded a marathon training guide, hoping for the 5 laps that would mean I had run my first marathon. Sadly I had a spate of injuries which meant that far from training properly for this race, I had in fact trained less than normal, with very few runs, and none of any significant distance. The furthest I had run in the two months before this race was actually the Brutal 10 race on New Years Eve, clocking in at 9.61miles according to my Garmin.

I set off, making a conscious effort to keep my pace down, this could literally be a marathon not a sprint, deciding that I would do two laps straight off, before stopping to check out the re-fuel station. Lap one was comfortable, I got my band marked, had a gulp of water, then set straight off for lap two. The route was pleasant, along the smooth flat path next to the sea in the nature reserve, at the top end we veered off the path onto some shingle paths, dodging puddles, then down a bank onto a section of grass, this was slippery with mud, it made me smile as I skidded about, thinking about my first couple of OCR’s in normal trainers, how had I ever managed without trail shoes? This section ended with a muddy bank to scramble up, before looping back round and onto the proper path again back down to the start. I couldn’t help but wonder how much more muddy and slippery that section would become after a few laps!

At the end of my second lap I paused my watch and went to shovel in a few jelly babies, there were some small niggly pains in my legs where I’ve had previous injuries, but I felt stronger at this point than I had last time, I was ready for a third lap which meant I would at least equal my last attempt, which was still my longest run to date. I snapped a quick sweaty selfie and shoved it on facebook, crammed my phone back into the flipbelt round my waist, unpaused the Garmin, and set off for lap 3.

Mid-Race selfies, keeping my Facbook updated with my progress
Mid-Race selfies, keeping my Facbook updated with my progress

Lap 3 was OK, my legs were aching more, some of those niggles feeling a bit sharper, but mentally I was doing well, this is usually my undoing, but I was determined to keep a positive mental attitude! At the end of my third lap, I grabbed some more jelly babies, chocolate buttons and jelly beans, and got ready to head out for lap 4. Another quick pic and update, I had a quick scan of my notifications, the comments telling me to keep it up were really motivating and I was glad I had decided to take the time, I felt accountable now, I had to keep going. Every step I ran now was further than I had ever run before. The nature reserve was getting busier with people taking advantage of the bank holiday sunshine, dog walkers, kids on bikes, big family groups, there were a few hasty stops and a lot of weaving around, and at one point a very narrow escape from a small child who lost control of her bike!

Second or third lap, smiling!
Second or third lap, smiling!

At the end of lap 4 I was really starting to hurt, I’d run over 21 miles already, but one more lap would make the marathon. Another quick re-fuel, another quick update, I was less sure now that I would complete the 5th lap, my legs were giving up. My 5th lap did involve some walking intervals, and every step was painful now, but I pushed on, I had got this far, I wasn’t going to quit. I was nearing the 26 mile mark, and tried my hardest to pick up the pace a little bit, so as to keep my time inside 4hours and 15mins. It was agony but I just managed it, 4h14m57s, I wasn’t quite finished yet though, there was still a bit of a way to go to get back to the finish. After another little walk, I decided I wanted to finish running, as strong as I was able, so I gave it everything I had left to run it in to the finish, and honking the horn to signal that I was done. 27.14 miles, done!

I went to find Phil, who had also completed 5 laps, and had finished before me, and gratefully received the promised hot soup for finishing. We were both ruined, and getting down the step from the hut was comical. One of the race organisers asking us who was going to cook the dinner in our house that night (The take-away guys was my answer). As a side note, it’s probably best as a couple not to run a random marathon, on the same day, when neither of you are all that well prepared for it! 😉

I’m really proud of my achievement, not least because I didn’t give up, something I’ve been doing on a regular basis while running for months now. When I finished it occurred to me that the only thing that had stopped me was the pain in my legs, a similar thing that had happened to me after my first half marathon (that I had also not trained properly for), so I’m reasonably confident that if I trained my legs properly for that kind of distance, I could knock a chunk of time off what I achieved at this race, as well as knowing if I ran an actual marathon, I probably wouldn’t have to weave around stray dogs and small children! Whether I ever will try a “proper” marathon or not I don’t know, I’m not sure marathon running is for me, but running that distance can now be checked off the bucket list and I would definitely do this race again… next time, 6 laps?

Finished!
Finished!