5:30am. 5 miles from home. Cold, dark and raining. I have no energy – I can barely walk let alone run. I’m really annoyed – I’ve only been going 7 miles – this should be an easy run for me. Do I call home, wake everyone and get a lift, do I try and flag down a car or maybe catch a bus?
Anyway, more about yesterday’s run later! This month I set myself a goal of getting in some longer runs and getting back outdoors. The good news is I’ve achieved that and as you can see from the graph below, progress is good:
I seemed to hit my stride this month – suddenly all of my training runs are easy again and I’m knocking out 10k as if it’s a walk in the park. 10 miles? No problem! I can start to see myself doing the 100-mile race easy. I started to plan out my progress (20 milers in March, 40’s in April, maybe a 50 or 60 in May and then taper.) I sent out an e-mail about sponsorship and have started to raise money for an awesome charity called Events for Namuwongo and the generosity of my friends and family has been amazing. All in all I was feeling great and I started thinking that this 100 mile malarkey was gonna be easy. Then yesterday happened…
The day before I’d been helping my brother in law with some gardening work and it was pretty full on so I was a bit tired but not too bad. I had a big lunch and a relatively small dinner (by my standards). Our little boy didn’t sleep well that night so I had very little sleep before the 4am alarm went off to go for my run. In hindsight perhaps I should have given myself a day off!
However, I strapped on the head torch, backpack and high vis and set off in the cold rainy morning for my usual run. My legs felt pretty heavy but I was determined to push on through – after all I’m a 100-mile man and this was only a poxy 12-mile run right? This actually seemed to work for a bit and I hit the first 6 miles no problem. Then everything started shutting down, I just ran out of energy and had to slow down. I sort of hobbled on for another mile, feeling like I was going to collapse. My arms started flailing all over the place and I began tripping over EVERYTHING – even the smallest twig had me stumbling.
So I stopped.
7 miles in, 5 miles from home I had to stop?! Maybe I’m not the 100-mile master I thought I was?! Perhaps this actually might be quite hard! I started thinking about how I’d failed already and I’d let everybody down and how I was going to look really silly telling everyone that I couldn’t do 12 miles let alone 100.
So, I resorted to the first thing I normally turn to in times of crisis – food! I’ve had this before, I know what this is, it’s just lack of food – if I eat something then I’ll be fine. Oh crap. I forgot to bring food. Well now I’m totally screwed – I may as well lie down and wait for the ambulance!
It’s at this point that I’d like to tell you I pulled myself together and just got on with it. Actually, what really happened is that another jogger ran past me. ‘Morning’ she said breezily as she zipped past me and effortlessly sailed up the hill in front of us. For a minute I really hated this woman but it was the kick I needed.
Muttering grumpily under my breath I started lolloping along again, determined not to quit, more out of pride than any kind of self-motivation. I ran/walked the next few miles until suddenly home was in sight. My competitive spirit had been engaged and my lack of alternatives meant that I just had to keep going really. Somehow I wobbled along a bit more and my last two miles were actually relatively quick considering – nine and a half minutes each. Eventually I made it home, cold and miserable but happy to be back. Two breakfasts later I was right as rain – the power of bacon!
In hindsight, this is one of my best training runs – I hit a bump and I got over it – it’s going to be that sort of thing that gets me through the 100 miles. Lessons learnt:
- Always take food
- I really need to train more
- You can actually do a lot more than you think
- Running at 4am actually makes you run further as there is literally no option to quit!
So, I hit the gym again this morning and I feel fine again and I’m now motivated to train harder. I’m going to do a 10k tomorrow and then a longer run the next day. Next goal – break 20 miles before the end of March – fingers crossed!
I’ll be running 100 miles in 24 hours in June for Events for Namuwongo. If you’d like to sponsor me then you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MichaelSeaman24