Friday, 23 March 2018

Ultra Challenge - More and Better reasons for the Challenge

Love this - it appeared on Facebook
Following my previous post, I began to think of more reasons for taking on this Ultra challenge. And I think that, at my age, these are better reasons than simply rising to a challenge and knowing or not that I've done it, as I hope you'll see. Add to that, at my age, these reasons for taking on the challenge are much more important.

I think the word 'training' is probably not the right word to use because, for me at least, the word 'training' has connotations of totally focused dedication to fitting yourself to complete an arduous ordeal to the exclusion of all else. And that in itself is too narrow an outlook on the journey to my goal. I've been there and done that, and to be honest, I found it only fleetingly satisfying.

A better reason

The way I'm looking at this particular goal of running/walking at least 30 miles somewhere in the next 5 years, means more in the way of becoming as fit, healthy and well as I possibly can be. So that will be the gist of my 'training'. That is, health and fitness will be the primary focus of my running/walking, with the Ultra as icing on the cake.

As I said previously, it won't essentially be about being able to do a certain distance in a certain time, although Ultras usually do involve a particular distance with a 'cut-off time'. I know that if I can run/walk at an average 5 mph at the outside, I should be well able to complete at least a not too hilly Ultra. But we'll have to see how my health and fitness develops. Pace and speed, distance and heart rate while I'm running/walking will be both the controlling factors and indicators of my state of health at any time, as well as mood and levels of stress etc. And I'll say more about those things before too long.

St. Paul said that the body is the temple of the spirit. Giving my spirit a good home (temple) I'm sure is the key to success here. Along the same lines, and more down to earth, in one of his books, Lance Armstrong said something like 'You can have all the will in the world, but it doesn't mean anything if you haven't got the legs!'. 

 Why not join me on the journey, no matter how young or old you are?

Look in on Ultra Episode 2 on YouTube here

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Beginning - Again - Ultra Challenge

Well, it's been such a long time since I wrote a blog post. Over 18 months in fact. A lot's happened in that 18 months. As far as running's concerned it's not been so good. I've been beset with illness a couple of times over months rather than days or weeks, which in all has brought me to this place of yet another beginning.

A New Challenge

As I'm starting again from scratch, I've given myself a new challenge, a challenge for the long term - to run an Ultra Marathon - 30 to 50 miles before the age of 73yrs. I'm 68 now, so it gives me 5 years at the outside to realize the goal. (As long as I last that long......!??) It probably sounds crazy and it probably is but there are 2 or 3 reasons why I think I can do it.

  1.  I'll have to learn to run slow. I won't have to break my neck and exhaust myself trying to beat my PBs.
  2.  I can build up VERY gradually indeed; something I've been awful at in the past.
  3.  I can enjoy the journey and tick off a lot of nearer goals along the way.

I'll write a lot more about all of those in future posts. I hope you'll come along on my journey and maybe you too join in the challenge for yourself. Well, why not?! Until then here's an introductory video where I say a bit more about the challenge.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Amerithon Challenge

Yesterday, I happened across and signed up for the Amerithon Challenge. It's a virtual run/ride/swim/ - whatever, across the breadth of the USA; over 3,500 miles! I'm hoping to finish it before my 70th birthday!!

I can probably do that if I include my walking and cycling as well as my running. It's all allowed. There's some accessories as well as a big medal, most of which I opted out of  as to get the lot is a bit expensive. One of the inclusions though, even in the basic price is videos of each of the stages, which
are brilliantly put together with musical accompaniment. Watching a couple of them was really motivating for me and I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about the USA as I work my way along the route. You can see one of the videos on the site.

There's also a private Facebook group.

So this morning I celebrated my new challenge by running further than I've done for a couple of years - 15k! To say that I'm tired now is a bit of an understatement as I hardly slept last night, the latest in a run of bad nights for sleeping.

I think I can almost guarantee a better sleep tonight.

I ran the 15k at a very slow pace. I've decided to do some very slow long runs to practice and Ultra pace. Not that I'll ever be able to do and ultra, but you never know - unless you try.

More about Amerithon and ultras as I go along.

Monday, 11 July 2016

A bit different?

A couple of Sundays ago I did an unintentional road 10k. It was the first proper road run I'd done in ages. But to run so far was unintentional. I was trying my Sole footbeds in my Inov-8 road shoes which have just a 6mm heel to toe drop. I hadn't had them on for quite a while so wondered how I'd get on. But they were just great with the footbeds. So much so that at my usual point for turning for home I felt I just wanted to carry on running, so I did. My total run was 10k and it was the best time this year by half a minute, which on the face of it doesn't seem so much but it was a much more undulating route and much higher total climb than my previous 10k pb this year.

So I was pleased!

Saturday just gone I thought I'd just push out a bit and extended one of my mixed trail with a bit of road 10k routes a bit to 7.5 miles. It was the furthest I'd run for a long time, maybe 2 years.

I was happy but tired when I finished and I've taken a couple of days rest.

For the next couple of runs I'll do short ones. Then maybe something different again next weekend. I've a couple of things in mind. One a longer mixed run, the other a 5 mile race. It depends how I'm feeling towards the weekend. Race or longer leisure run?

In the meantime I'm clocking up the k's to the 1000k Challenge

My Runkeeper total on 9th July - On Target!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Half Way There

This morning I did 10k and got to the half way point in the Virtual Runner UK 1000 Challenge. I congratulated myself on a job well done - or a job half finished that is. My aim now is to finish by the beginning of December which means I'll have to do a few additional ks above my average up to now. And it's no bad thing.

I've learned a lot over the last six months of the challenge and I'm now really getting into how running feels day by day and how to churn out the miles and stay strong. So, ever onward........

This morning's run

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Well, I did it!!!

A happy finisher!!
After two years of waiting I finally got to run in and finish the Grasmere Gallop last Saturday, 4th June. I missed last year because I was ill and in 2014 I'd promised to be elsewhere on the day of the race.

It was harder than I'd anticipated but well worth the effort. Very well organised and a good day, quite warm but not too much blazing sunshine.

Just one hiccup - I thought I'd started my watch but pressed the rocker the wrong way. I was a couple of minutes into the race before I realised, so it clocked 5.9 miles in 1.15.

My official time for the full 6.2 was 1.17.28. I was very happy indeed with that having wanted to finish inside 1.20.00

A very good weekend. Hope to repeat it next year.

The official photo
A welcome addition to the collection

Saturday, 30 April 2016

First Third

That's the first third of the year completed today and I'm just over a third the way to the 1,000k. Very satisfactory!

I wasn't so confident a month ago because I'd overstretched myself trying to get a 5k PB for my Virtual Running Co. March medal. Result - mild shin splints.

But I never get injuries!!! I thought. It was the pushing too hard of course. So I had a week off and massaged my ankles and shins with vapour rub - yes, vapour rub. I'd read somewhere that it's good for muscle soreness. It seemed to help and it cleared my nose a bit too!

It was just about the time I'd decided to stop taking pain killers. You know, Co-codamol and Ibuprofen, which I believe is affectionately known as 'Vitamin i' in the USA. It's so easy to just take them for every little ache and pain and especially to take advantage of ibuprofen's NSAID properties. Well, I didn't cave in and haven't now for 40 days and 40 nights (a Biblical 'long time') and I have to say that I feel better for not taking them.

Over the last 3 or 4 days though I've applied some ibuprofen gel to my ankles where I've felt a twinge, just a twinge now. My shins are very much better and I'll stop using the gel between now and next weekend. And I've also begun to pay much more attention to running form. More about that in another post. But already, the results are remarkable.

But being at this point of my 1,000k year, it's the time when I have to dig in and just get on with it. I'm a long way from the start in January but even further from the finish in December. It's easy to give up. And that's why it's important for me to go for those 'journey goals' of virtual and other race medals along the way. What's important is for me is to make the most of where I am now and enjoy the present. For it's in the present where we can improve in our running in whatever way we.
want to. The medal comes at the end, and it's own delight with the sense of accomplishment. But, especially over the course of almost a whole year, there's so much more to delight in and feel accomplished about. Most of the joy is in the journey if we are able to appreciate it. And the end has its own special feeling.

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