In training for a potential ultra in December I have started doing back to back long runs at the weekends. To help keep me motivated I have entered various races on consecutive days and this was my first attempt.
I entered Ennerdale as I did this race last year and loved it. It’s a beautiful run with a steady trail type start and then the fun begins with mud, hills and crags.
The morning of the run I have to say I was feeling pretty tired after spending the previous day out in Pendle all day at the British fell relay championships. My legs felt heavy, I felt weary after not having the best nights sleep ever and my motivation was low. I was going alone too and didn’t know anyone there and for those of you out there this isn’t helpful either. However I got myself together, threw my gear in the car and off I went….I knew that I needed to do this if the ultra is going to be possible.
When I got there I had the usual nerves as I signed up and started getting myself ready including numerous toilet stops. I don’t know what it is about racing but as soon as I drink anything I instantly need to go….sure it’s all in my head but it seems most runners have the same problem!! One of my favourite things about high terrain events is the friendliness of everyone and right away one of the organisers got chatting to me and my nerves started to settle. There is also the dog….there is an old English sheep dog at every event they do and I love it….therapeutic dog stroking before a race doesn’t half help ha ha!!
The race started and straight away I settled in to my pace, I was slightly concerned I was running slightly quicker than I should but I decided that as long as I felt comfortable it was ok, after all it was supposed to be a training run! The miles soon ticked over running over the undulating trail path with the lake by my side and everything was going well until I suddenly felt a really uncomfortable feeling under the ball of my foot. I’m pretty stubborn at times and I thought it would be OK and powered through it. I was also having a little dip around this time too, I don’t know if it was tiredness kicking in from the previous day, the fact my foot hurt or the combination of both. However I kept pushing on and tried to stay positive and from somewhere had a sudden boost of energy. Mental strength when you run is so important. I reached Black Sail YHA which is about half way round and felt pretty strong besides this painful throbbing under my foot and I knew my favourite bit was about to begin. Mud, hills and crags for the next 7-8 miles and I loved it. There was a little pit stop about a mile after the YHA which was much needed and the staff there were great…really encouraging and having a laugh which helped keep me going.
My only issue was was my flipping foot and I was getting really frustrated I couldn’t pick up my speed as by this point it was actually really quite sore. I knew I didn’t have far to go so I pushed on and finished with my usual little effort of a sprint finish!! I finished in 2nd place which was pleasing given it was training run.
The foot…well it would appear my sock had curled up a little and had caused a massive blister under the ball of my foot making me hobble for a day or two after…lesson here…if I had taken just a few seconds to sort out my sock instead of being stubborn it would have made a much more comfortable run!!!!!
It had been a day of mixed emotions as most long runs are and I played the usual little mind games with myself to keep myself going. I’m sure if you speak to any long distance runner everyone has their own little tricks. One day it would be interesting to document what goes through your mind when you run…I think it would make for some interesting reading!!
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