Thursday, February 22, 2007

My First Ever Ultra-Marathon

Hoorah, that's 35 miles done and dusted in 7 hours, 36 minutes 40 seconds and I ran all the way except for brief stops at the feed station. This is me back at home wearing my bright yellow race tee shirt and feeling rather proud. I wish I'd got a medal too but they didn't give one.

Here are a couple of photos showing part of the reservoir that we ran round in Draycote Country Park - 7 and a bit times to be precise. Each circuit was 4.71 miles so we had to run a sort of dog leg to make up the difference. The weather was kind to us and it was really quite warm for the first few hours with just a gentle breeze along one exposed side of the water. One side was undulating and the inclines felt like mountains later in the race. Sadly I didn't take the photos in the morning when it was sunny, but waited until later in the day when it went a bit cloudy and misty!

How was it? Well, it was tough, fun, demanding, exhilarating and a massive effort all rolled into one day. As it was my first venture over 26.2 miles it was a bit of an unknown entity. I got my pacing just right up to the 20 mile mark which I passed in bang on 4 hours. About 2 miles later I had a bit of a wobble and slowed right down for a few miles. It's times like that you need to dig deep and use your mental stamina and after a bit of a cry and an encouraging phone call from my hubby I managed to get myself back on track.

I learned some important lessons from the experience:

- An ultra marathon is not like an ordinary marathon of 26.2 miles with extra miles tacked on the end - it is a whole different ball game and requires a very different approach. When I do the Kent 50 mile Challenge in July I will have to run for another 17.4 miles on top of what I ran at Draycote. I think I've got some serious training to do!!!!!

- I need to do some work on my neck and shoulders as they were incredibly stiff at the end. Also, my arms ached terribly from being held in position for so long. This will be really important in the London Marathon when I'm knitting at the same time.

- My core muscles need strengthening. Towards the end I was finding the downhill sections really difficult and was getting pains in my tummy muscles. The uphill sections were fine, oddly enough.

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