The forest breathes over me as I return to form. 2 years following my ruptured achilles and I can now get back into decent running. Its been a slow start but as the milage slowly increases, so does the appetite for the next challenge.
Having spent the last 18 months unable to run due to a bad achillis tendon injury, misdiagnosed by the local physio, several attempts to get back onto the trails of Epping Forest, I have decided to invest in my own personal ultrasound machine to resolve the issue. Combined with a change in my training schedule including spin class, hot yoga and by adding more cheese, meat and wine to the diet (i highly recommend Vinoramica in Highams Park, they do a fabulous rosé). Things are starting to improve very slowly. But they are improving which is the main thing. A few more weeks of this before the family trip to Muskoka in Canada by which point I should be able to get back on those lake trails. Fingers crossed.
100 miles…all at once ? taking the spirit of Forest Gump a bit far !
Kit checked today, food prepped, head torch tweaked, lycra ironed and socks out the freezer. Its the final countdown. Im more nervous about this than the Amazon Jungle Marathon (which Ive done twice (double hard bastard me)). Its 100 miles. Not a marathan, not on a straight road, but 100 miles of undulating coastal terrain. Dont get me wrong, I cant wait to see the sunrise Saturday morning having been running for approx 9-10 hours, admittedly probably hallucinating a bit but come rain or shine, itll be amazing. Who starts a race at 7pm on Friday night ??? Whats the worst that can happen ? More concerned about running through Newquay on a Saturday night, maybe stop off for a quick half in town ??
Trainings done, final preparation and food check and most of all, dont forget to download the Hope Relay app. Because kids, in addition to raising money for Walking with the Wounded, every mile I run, Samsung donate £1 to charity through the app. Simple, easy and a good way – try it !
A recent lecture by ultra athlete, adventurer and physiologist Mark Hines was a treat. Hadnt seen Mark since my pre-Jungle physiology testing in 2009 so it was great to get tips, tricks and advice on training and running in extreme conditions. However it did put me into a bit of a panic about the next race.
The Ultra Trail South West. The enormity of it all suddenly dawned on me with a mighty whoomph as I realised looking around the room at Marathon des Sables veterans, Everest racers, fellow Junglers Jim Binks and Jamie Kellett, people were fit. Fitter than me. Training definitely needs to move up a notch.
The added panic and confusion was amplified by a call from Channel 4 who were keen to talk to me about a documentary on ‘Midlife Adventurers’. The initial concern from them was I was too young for the programme. At a sprightly 38 years old and having gone through significant change in the last few years both personally, professionally and health – my story didn’t really seem that engaging to delve deeper into. However they do still seem a bit keen so lets see what happens. Not sure I want the nation to see me training in lycra or bursting into tears about life changing moments. NQOC my darlings.
Anyhoo back to the race fear and having spoken also to fellow athlete Ed Vincent from the Amazon 2009, who is also competing in the UTSW along with Mark Hines and the S4C ultra queen of endurance Lowri Morgan. Ed had been reading about 100 mile races and that in reality, the actual halfway mark is 80 miles, not 50 which some people would assume. This is for a number of reasons, the key one is – its frickin tough and your body and brain shuts down. Sounds like fun. Training up a notch and more info to follow.