8 weeks, 61 miles and a new PB for distance covered in Post Hill Woods

My plan for this week was mainly centred around covering at least marathon distance in the woods yesterday. Everything else was always going to be secondary.

I started the week with 4 laps on Tuesday evening and repeated this on Thursday and Friday. I was pleased to maintain a relatively consistent pace throughout each session and speed up a bit for the last mile a few times.

Yesterday was the hottest I have trained in since the St I'lltyd Ultra. I set off at 11am with 2 litres of Tailwind nutrition drink in my water bladder and a 5 litre bottle in the car as a reserve. My first 4 laps were quite comfortable and I could keep a slower but measured pace for each lap. I had a Clif peanut butter bar and sat on a rock for a few minutes before setting off again.

I must have been sipping the drink far too infrequently in the first section as I was ridiculously thirsty and really struggled for laps 5 and 6. By the end of lap 6 I had drank all of the Tailwind and had to ask one of the many dog walkers to help me refill the bladder from the supplies in my car.

Laps 7 and 8 were noticeably better and my efforts appeared to have caught the attention of 2 guys who had set up to occupy the top of the main hill with an airgun and some cans of beer. They seemed pleasant enough and were offering encouragement as I passed them every 25-30 minutes.

I had worn the event training shirt from St I'lltyd a few weeks ago and although my pace dropped considerably in lap 11, I was certain that running all 13 laps was going to happen. The weather was far too similar to what I had suffered through in that race and I wasn’t going to be broken by it twice!

On my penultimate lap I suggested to the ‘gun guys’ that I would bring a few pounds and buy one of their cans from them to acknowledge my last lap when I next passed them.

They had miscalculated how many cans they had left when I was on my last lap but kindly gave me some whisky and we had a nice chat about my run and how they had passed the time they had been in the woods. Apparently one of them had been very impressed that his mum had trained towards and ran a marathon in her fifties recently. They wished me luck for my race in July and wouldn’t take my money for the whisky.

My last mile and a half back round to the car was quite sluggish but I enjoyed the aftertaste which was stronger than the Tailwind and water I’d consumed in the preceding 6 hours. The total for this run came to 27.6 miles and 1068m of climb.

I finished the week with another 4 laps this morning. These were a lot cooler than yesterday and I could settle in to listening to my podcasts far easier. I had some more Tailwind and was pleased my legs didn’t cramp up as much as they sometimes do the day after long runs.

I had watched a very powerful Ben Smith TED talk earlier in the week about his 401 challenge and mental health. He described running as being something that was purely his and that he could control at a time where he didn’t feel he had control in other areas of his life.

I found a George Sheehan quote about marathons which I think echos this sentiment well

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