When is a rest week not a rest week?

… When you run 70 miles in 7 days.

Don’t get me wrong, with the epic ultra-weekend that we’ve enjoyed on this bank holiday 70 miles isn’t all that far. But it is far and away the longest training week I have ever enjoyed.

And the key to that sentence was ‘enjoyed’. Following the race on Saturday I was unable (or unwilling) to keep still for fear of seizing up. I took advantage of the sunshine and finished my shed building project by felting the roof and hanging the (not particularly waterproof) door. As a result by the time Monday evening rolled around and I was at Laura’s house for my massage, things weren’t feeling too bad in the leg department. That’s not to say Laura wasn’t able to ‘ease’ out some lumps and bumps though.

By Tuesday I was almost contemplating going to the track; but with a mammoth pyramid session on offer I decided actually to skip it and instead headed out for a gentle 3 miles from home. The run wasn’t without some discomfort, particularly in the glute region, but it felt really good to be running again so much sooner than I had previously anticipated. What was a little strange was the willingness to push that seemed to come from my legs. I mean, it wasn’t speedy, but 25 minutes for 5km was quicker than I expected to do when I headed out the door.

On Wednesday I reverted back to my usual running home from work and covered a fairly direct 5 miles at 8:30min/mi pace before running the cross-country 4 mile route home on Thursday. I got caught in a mega hail storm on the way, which was fun, but made it home in time to go to pilates. That session was really(!) hard work and on a few occasions I simply had to stop for fear my leg might have fallen off. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. I definitely felt like I had worked by the end of the session though!

Strangely, the weather all year has been diabolical on the whole, apart from the bank holiday weekends; this weekend was no exception. On Saturday I ambled along on a lovely 8 mile run before a day of doing not very much at all, and on Sunday I enjoyed ten miles in the midday sun wearing my recently acquired NDW50 T-Shirt – it was funny the pride that I took in pulling that shirt over my head. I have never experienced that with any race shirt in the past. Maybe that’s because they are often so tacky you don’t really want to be seen in them, the Centurion chaps do a good job of producing an understated t-shirt!

These are my official pictures from the race. They are brilliant, I am sure you’ll agree. I plan on purchasing one or two once payday rolls around! (The little ones are here because I don’t want anyone robbing them off the photographer. Click on the thumbnail and you’ll be taken to the full size image on the Centurion Photography site)

Does this photo make me look nervous?
Does this photo make me look nervous?
Beautiful spring greenery just after Puttenham aid station
Beautiful spring greenery just after Puttenham aid station
Guts in, stand tall, run hard. Spotting the photographer at  St. Marthas
Guts in, stand tall, run hard. Spotting the photographer at St. Marthas
Getting back into a jog at top of Boxhill
Getting back into a jog at top of Boxhill
Stick a fork in me... for, I, am, DONE!
Stick a fork in me… for, I, am, DONE!
GB Ultra Runner, and my new coach, Robbie Britton
GB Ultra Runner, and my new coach, Robbie Britton

I spent much of the afternoon, after mowing the lawn, catching up on the incredible ultra-running weekend.
Not only did the Hardmoors 110 kick off on Friday night (completed in a winning time of 21:13 by both Jay Aldous and Simon Deakin), but the latest SkyRunning race took place in Zegama where the incredible Kilian Jornet won by just 10 seconds. In addition to that, the monstrously epic Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR) started at 6am on Saturday. This 145 mile behemoth has been going 19 years now and is world-renowned. James Elson (founder of Centurion events) won the race in 29:10 – WOW (even if he was beaten to the finish line by some ‘old bird’)!!

Not only that, but fellow TORQ Team member Lindley started his year on the team in style with 43:50. That is an incredible amount of time to be on your feet and the perseverance required to be able to do that is nothing short of mind-boggling. I can’t wait to catch up with Lindley next month and hear about the race first-hand.

On top of all these amazing races was one event that stole the show. The phenomenal Mimi Anderson (holder of numerous world records) decided to do the unimaginable and run GUCR, a race she has completed in the past. Now, I’ve run to and from events in the past but not quite in the fashion that Mimi chose to do this weekend. In order to turn up at Gas Street in Birmingham for 6 am on Saturday, Mimi set off from the finish line in Paddington, London on Thursday and ran the 145 miles to the start line in 31 hours. On Saturday she turned around and headed back to the finish (where she started) in 36 hours. That’s 290 miles in 67hours (plus the time between arriving on Friday evening to starting again on Saturday). Simply incredible!


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