Did somebody say 'ultra'?

Posted on: 24 Jun 2017

What an amazing bunch of feats coming over the wires from this Buzzing group. Tell you what, I have been inspired in my life but never so much as reading about the Double Daves braving the heat to Oggi-fy Hadrian's Wall to dust. That heat, those blistered feet and a crack in a shin but always a grin, those there are our Daves. I salute you with my best high five and a pint.

As for me and my intervals, well, we're not quite as grand but nonetheless feeling seriously accomplished the past couple weeks. Starting on 'Oggie Saturday' as I'm calling it in my head, I scampered out into the Land of Angry Geese to hit that all too familiar trail and those 21k for the DSA. Hotter than Magic Mike out there but away I went and soon discovered why you should never discard tried and tested fuelling methods. Breakfast wasn't quite right, followed by thinking if I filled both main bottles with Tailwind and dropped off the spare H2O I'd have cracked it. No no and a hearty big fat NO. The Tailwind soon too sweet, I'm getting thirsty, the sun is melting my do-rag on to my skull and there isn't any clean water to wet my head. First gel in not until 45 minutes which for me as a T2 diabetic has never worked so why on earth I thought it might on that day I've no clue. I'm not sure when the wall hit me (yes, pretty much in that order) but it seems to have been just after a particularly long interval in the shade. Out into the blast furnace lovingly labeled 'sunlight' and those invisible hands clamped around my waist kept pulling me backwards. I'd forgotten how much it hurts to sun run, but wot hey I remembered it, and fast.

But I kept going because there was a reason behind it all. Those miles for my charity, knowing all of you were out there too - the Double Daves walloping the wall and you HU5K gang shining brighter than the sun above. The Boltys Bolty-ing away, well, everyone everywhere else on that day pounding the pavement and dropping coins in the kitty, I think you know how I feel already but thanks aren't nearly enough. The DSA is elated and grateful as am I. 

So now I shall stop gushing and segue straight on to the most pants run I've ever had. Because it was really pants. Like, actually all about pants.

I was rough and ready to go smash 10k of trails sometime in the middle of the ensuing heatwave so I dragged out of my fully packed kit drawer this pair of somewhat cheap running shorts with the built in tights that weren't terrifically tight. It's hot, I'm good, they'll be so sweaty they'll stick to my legs, right?

Um, no. Derrrr.

In fact, about two minutes in, they started riding up. My less-than-svelte inner thighs greeting one another, when they're usually firmly separated by spandex. No no, that won't do. Thighs that rub against one another will end up looking like they've been dragged over a cheese grater. Stop, hoik shorts down, start. One minute later, repeat. And again and again every minute until I'd gone through five miles of the 'try not to chafe yourself to death' dance and gave up. I even stopped the TomTom because I had to draw a line under the disaster. Shoulders back, deep breath, I started up again, now power walking, doing a bit of 'wiggle it, just a little bit' and felt like a scene out of Monty Python ministry of silly walks. But lo and behold I got going at a good clip and managed to get through it all and back to my front door. I swore up and down I was going to throw those shorts in the bin and at last wash load there they were staring me in the eye, daring me to actually part with Perfectly Good Running Kit. It's not possible. Into the drawer they went. I'll likely never wear them again but as they're green they'll be impossible to avoid when I'm next rooting around.

Moving along to this past week, which was way too hot for me to function outdoors unless I was submerged in a paddling pool. So that's just what I did, barring a couple gym sessions Monday and Thursday. The latter included some blistering intervals on the dreadmill of which I'm super proud - I've been working hard to identify just what I need to do to warm up my asthmatic lungs so I can improve my capacity to sustain proper technique over a long run. I think I cracked it with a set of 5 x 30 uphill sprints. I'd read that by pushing yourself to the point of a cough or almost a 'pre-attack', asthmatics can sustain some lung 'protection' for a couple hours thereafter. It worked on those intervals which got me to 12kph (unheard of before!!) and then again this afternoon on a 10 mile run/walk which left me sustaining 3:1 minute intervals on the return leg. Better still the timing is pretty well on 5:30 marathon pace which is my next goal. Better still at the end I felt like I still had something in the tank, and a couple hours later the muscle soreness is in the glutes and lower legs. Nothing in the knee. Zero. I'm bouncing off the walls with joy about that - doing what I have been trained to do, executing the choreography to perfection. Let's dance our lives away like this, hey.

So what now? Well, after witnessing some of the ultra heroism and the ensuing discussion from you all, and after today's brilliant progress, and just past four years to the day of my very first race, I genuinely believe that impossible is nothing.

I've discovered the ingredients missing from my training all these years. I've put them in and can already see the difference.


I've discovered a new confidence that I'm going to smash my marathon goal this October and the next in April.


I've discovered all that personal power I had in my 20s has never actually left me, and in fact, it's coming back. With a vengeance.


So as soon as I can book 2018, the Thames Path Challenge 100k is going down

Because a life without goals is an empty life, indeed.

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