- The last 10.3 miles – The tendency is to fear the last x miles that you didn’t cover with your long run. My longest run before the 50k is last Sunday’s 20.7 miles. That’s 10.3 short of the distance. Will adrenaline alone enough to take me through Bangor? My evil Aunt with only one eyebrow lives there, will her far-right politics alone inspire me through the wall? Or will I be forced to listen to her paranoid horseshit?
Artist’s impression of my Nazi aunt. She’s still wanted and DANGEROUS.
- How bad will the pain be the next morning? – I have to go to work on the Monday morning after the race and despite my incessant requests, they’ve yet to put a stair lift in for me. I’ve ran 26.2 miles 4 times now and it’s a bit of a fucking bastard. I caught a 4-hour flight to Greece after the last one and I was only happy as I was full of wine. And going to Greece.
- New levels of chaffing? – After the Paris Marathon the chafe wounds on the inside of my legs resembled the black sesame seeds you see on fancy muffins. In my hotel room in London, I scratched the marks accidentally whilst sleeping and they all came off at once. My bathroom that night was reminiscent of the opening scene of Carrie if she’d been possessed by the spirit of a Northern Irish Forrest Gump. I won’t let this happen again. I’m gonna butter myself senseless with Bodyglide.
Post-Paris chafe scabs looked like this.
- Will I bring enough fuel for the race with me? – I’m planning on taking at least 12 gels this time and a few extra bottles of Lucozade in my backpack but I still worry that this won’t be enough. Then again, I don’t want to bring too much with me.
- Will I make an absolute fool of myself by being completely unprepared for the event? – I remember standing at the starting line for my first ever marathon with my little bum bag tied around my waist, feeling completely idiotic compared to the real athletes around me. I’ve never attempted an ultra marathon before. I only decided that I was gonna do this 11 days ago. There’s the very real prospect that I’m in over my head and this is the time the marshals will come to take me away.
Me in my first ever marathon. With a bumbag on that was trying to escape off my side.
- Will this be my last ever race? – I’m frightened that this experience could be so bad that I give up on running out of embarrassment. I was close to doing that after the Larne Half Marathon 2011, but somehow I carried on.
- Did I taper enough for the race? – My last long run was on Sunday. It was my longest in quite some time. If I’m to believe the tapering marathon hippies, then I won’t be at my peak for the 50K. I will suffer. My legs will break. I will weep out of exhaustion. My balls will go septic and my body will break down organ-by-organ out of toxic shock. To counter this threat, I must stretch, jog on the spot for 12 hours, take an ice bath; before, during and after the 50K and stretch some more!
- Have I tapered too much? – Yes, I haven’t ran in 5 days. Yes, I’m wondering if I can still run. Yes, I’m a complete idiot for thinking this way. But I cannot help it.
- I’m worried my pre-race ritual won’t work this time – This ritual involves getting mildly drunk the night before a race, drinking 3 cans of Monster Khaos within 45 minutes of waking and then crapping all of the awkwardness out of me. Since I’ve never ran this distance before I’m terrified that I’ll tense up and run really badly.
- That I won’t meet my race expectations of a sub 6 hour finish – I don’t understand why I always place time limits on myself. It kills what should be a great day. I’ll finish on Sunday, but if it isn’t under 6 hours then I’ll see it as a defeat as I’m a bit weak.
I didn’t update yesterday I was too busy recovering from my second 18 miler of the week.
I ran it at a 10:37 min/mile pace and it was a perfect run apart from the end where I got caught on a dark stretch of road with narrow pavement.
I was terrified of tripping down the curb and injuring myself so I kept my running slow until cars came to light the way.
Once the car headlights lit a sufficient part of the pavement I sprinted as quickly as possible to try to get back into a well lit area ASAP.
It’s only when I’m completely in the dark that I realise how awful my sense of balance is. I was getting vertigo in the dark and was having to hold my arms out to balance myself.
Thank fuck I didn’t end up in a hedge with all of the angry badgers.
An Irish badger on holiday.
New long run fuelling strategy.
Normally I fuel with gels and sports drink alone, but yesterday I tried something a little different.
I brought along a selection of Haribo inside my marathon race belt.
I started eating them after 90 minutes on my feet and aimed for 2 gummis every 10 minutes. And you know what? I actually wanted to eat them.
I’ve struggled in the past with fuelling on the run. I just don’t like the sickly sensation you feel after chowing down on real food.
Eating Haribo on the move wasn’t a chore. In fact by mile 15 I was completely out of them and wished I’d brought along more.
The best thing is that they worked in keeping my body fuelled. My plan was to stop at 15 miles and then stop. By that point I knew I had more in me so I continued on until 18.3 miles.
I think this is the last time I’m gonna use gels for long runs. I can’t justify the expense at the moment whilst Haribo cost only £1 a bag.
Changing my attitude ahead of the ultramarathon
Yesterday I felt down about ‘only’ running 18 miles and thought about ordering myself in a Domino’s pizza to try to boost my morale.
That’s the problem though, junk food doesn’t help my mood in the long term. After the pizza is finished I feel like shit. I haven’t solved anything. I’ve given in. I’ve fallen back into old habits.
A time to be rational.
Every time I start panicing about the 100k I relax and try to do something practical about it.
Eating pizza now won’t help with the 100k. Eating more healthily and running will however.
Today I went out and ran 9 miles in 89 minutes. It was quite tough maintaining any sort of pace as my legs were heavy and my calves were chaffed from the 3 hour run yesterday.
I had to change the way that I was running to stop my legs rubbing together. It was quite literally agony.
They haven’t been this bad since the Paris Marathon when I was last wearing my plastic trousers that begin melting into my skin after 22 miles.
Tonight they are much better after applying some healing cream to them.
It’s frustrating that my body chaffs so much at the minute but it’s only because I’m carrying some excess weight.
I’m aiming to be down to around 207lbs come Saturday. That will mean I’ve lost 10lbs in under a month.
It’s gonna happen!