Lone Wolf

It has suddenly occurred to me that we are already in April and in less than a month I’ll be running in my first ultra marathon of the year. Since the last ultra I completed last June, my training went through a distinct change, when after years of just running miles after miles, I deliberately built in recovery runs to my weekly plan. For any non-runners (or non-obsessed runners I should say), recovery runs are typically deliberately slow runs designed to help the legs recover from big efforts, but better than just resting. Easy miles. With these recovery runs, I quickly reaped the benefits. In two consecutive weekends I smashed both my half marathon personal best as well as my 5k too. Since then however, the training switched to Bergen runs on Sundays for a while, and mixed runs during the week. The Bergen runs have slipped this year, but more importantly, I haven’t been doing the long distance runs in preparation for the ultras.

With this in mind on Sunday, I headed down to my local hills and ran a section of the upcoming ultra. It could have gone better, but could have gone much worse. Lately the struggle has been state of mind. It’s not often I’m so honest about my present feelings, but lately I have faced a struggle where everything feels like it’s dragging me down, turning a pressure screw. So it’s not easy to get up and go and do a trail run that I once enjoyed, when your mind is a pretty dark place and coping is like an ultra marathon in itself. It just becomes so hard to enjoy things. I think my close friends don’t know how to deal with me because I’m the clown of the group, the one dishing out the sought after advice and support, so it’s difficult for them to see me struggle, so therefore I don’t turn to them. It’s just me and the road (or trails).

I’m thankful for the outdoors. I’m thankful for the ability to run. In a month when I’m at the start line, I know I will be focused solely on the task in hand, though my thoughts will wander. I know I will be out there supporting other runners, but not asking for any from others. Funny how my running style reflects my life style.

The 4th toughest ParkRunner

I often think of some sports in the same vein as boxing. In boxing, if you hold a certain belt, or title, and are defeated, the winner inherits them (more often than not), but football is not the same. For example, if world champions France lose in a friendly to Ivory Coast for example, surely as Ivory Coast have beaten them, they should be the new world champions. It’s a logic that I think could make sports more interesting, though it would upset a lot of merchandise manufacturers as their products would be likely out of date pretty rapidly, even before they’re made.

I’m applying this new-found logic to crown myself the 4th toughest ParkRunner in the UK. Actually, I should technically be the 3rd toughest ParkRunner in the UK. Bear with me while I explain. Last Saturday and the previous Saturday, I did my sister’s local ParkRun, which happens to be ranked as the toughest ParkRun in the UK. It achieves this crown based on the average time each finisher takes to complete it. It should be pointed out that it’s all through farmer’s fields, and is constantly up and down. Two weeks ago, I turned up hoping to support my sister in her first ParkRun, but she let me down like a cheap sex doll and didn’t turn up, so I ran it anyway, and came 3rd. Not bad considering the 8 pints the night before. Last Saturday she showed up and I ran again. This time, no hangover, I ran 40 seconds quicker, but finished 4th. So now you see why I’m celebrating my new title. 4th place in the UK’s toughest ParkRun makes me the UK’s 4th toughest ParkRunner. I’m waiting for the official notification to come through. Apparently it’s in the post. Along with my award for Straw Clutcher of the Year.