Ultramarathon

7) Highland Fling, 27th April 2013

My second attempt at training for 50 miles (and this race).

The training went much better, I’d learnt to listen more to my body and not to increase the mileage too quickly, and to back off if I had problems. Tightness in my IT band in January was a worry, but a week off, that coincided with a skiing holiday, sorted the problem.

I got some good long runs in on the race route and learnt a lot about nutrition (stopping for a burger half way through a run isn’t a good idea), so was feeling good. I ended up with a sore foot after my last long run (30 miles out and back from Tyndrum to Loch Lomond (the second part of the course) so my taper was pretty severe (no running)

My wife ended up going into hospital for a routine operation the week before the race and I spent the week of the race acting as nurse. We hadn’t been sleeping well and being a passenger in a car was painful for her so it was unlikely she was going to make it along to watch and I was still not sure how my foot would hold up so I was 50/50 as to whether to pull out but in the end at about 11 the night before, I decided to at least start and see how I got on.

After a quick pack and very little sleep, I was up early, made some porridge and ate it from a Tupperware container on the drive across to Milngavie.

I was thinking about my foot from the start and it started hurting at mile 5, but didn’t seem to get any worse and wasn’t affecting my running too much so I kept going. And eventually everything hurt so I forgot about my foot.

Getting to Inversnaid at Mile 26 and then Beinglas Farm at mile 30 was a big confidence boost, and I mostly enjoyed the rest of the race (well the bits I remember) and even managed a strong finish. Sneaking down the finished red carpet in 10:59:11. And to cap it off, a friend had managed to drive my wife up (very slowly) so they were there to see me come in.

Learning points

The indecision about racing and foot pain meant I approached the race with no real goal (other than finishing) and as a result I was much more relaxed than in previous races. I didn’t know it at the time but I was starting to learn that listening to your body can be more effective than focusing on pre-determined pace and numbers on a watch.

Coconut water and rice pudding are surprisingly appealing 30 miles into an ultra.

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