52 weeks, 60 miles and a harsh lesson in holding my nerve
I volunteered at the East Isley checkpoint at the Autumn 100 mile race last Saturday night into Sunday morning. I had asked to be given a night volunteer slot so I could gain a first hand experience of what to expect during that time in October next year. The resilience that runners showed while passing us until 5:15am was incredible and although a few chose to drop out at that point, the overwhelming majority didn’t even consider it. I was seeing them out at 56.3 miles then returning at 68.7 miles, there was a sense of the amount of effort they had put into training for this in how they communicated with us as marshalls. Everything was geared towards getting to the next checkpoint and although it was shivering cold with 5 top layers and 2 bottom layers on for parts of the night for me, I wasn’t about to shy away from helping and spoil someone’s race. It was easy for me to have a coffee after shuddering myself awake than it will be next year with 10km to go between checkpoints
The plan for my next 12 months is to have another go at the Paris by Night race in January, attempt a 40km Skyrace in the Lake District in June, that involves Scafell Pike, and then complete the Autumn 100 on the 2nd weekend in October.
My running this week has consisted of a 5.4 mile run on Monday evening and again at 5:30am on Wednesday morning. I then did a further 15 miles on Wednesday evening, followed by a 12 mile run with my brother Ben on Friday and 10.8 miles both weekend days.
My knee injury from the Great Glen Ultra has largely healed now but I do notice my left calf is causing some issues on longer runs. There were parts of all 3 runs from Friday to Sunday where it locked out. I’m going to have to attempt some stretching with it during runs if it continues to be an issue, but I enjoyed just running through it for this week.
I’m quite conscious of my long Sunday training runs needing to be significantly north of 10.8 miles in a few months time, but am happy with scraping 60 miles for the first week of a year long journey. The harsh lesson I learnt this week was that it’s a lot harder to hold your nerve when the race seems so far away. Hopefully with 51 more weeks of training this ability will be etched in stone in my brain.