Well, yesterday I ran along The Ridgeway, was aiming for 2 hours in power zone 2, did not achieve that!
I am learning to respect The Ridgeway.
My training plan was to run 2:45 on Sunday, this was never on the cards as I had missed some training due to ‘reasons out of my control” such as a 1-year-old, and work, insomnia, physical pain related to my cancer surgery etc. So I had planned for a 2-hour run, which was my longest this year, at that, I only managed 9 miles and even then, not in zone 2. The hills pushed me up into zone 5 at times and predominantly zones 3 and 4, despite being slow!
Aside from power zones and pace, I was running in my Vibram trail shoes, which to be honest, I might have as well been running barefoot and it felt like I was running the whole 9 miles on cobblestones. It. Really. Hurt!
I mean. Really.
By mile 5, I was suffering big-time, like no other run.
I had run a 10k the day before so my legs were a little tired anyhow but nothing dramatic. I had also had a bad nights sleep and was not feeling it but went anyway, after some mocking from my ever-loving wife when I was trying to chicken out of the ‘long run’, she rightly said, if you can’t run 2 hours now, how can you expect to run the ultra in 2 months? She was right and I knew it, so my stubborn side kicked in and took control.
I ran, it hurt and it was slow and it was not pretty, but I slogged through a painful 9 miles at a ridiculously slow pace and I cared not a jot!
I ran up a huge hill, chatting to cyclists as I overtook them and then they overtook me and we switched places a couple of times, I stopped for photos I convinced myself that I would carry on, limping while running and then I discovered a new mantra for myself that kept me going.
SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!
I had no choice, either give up and sit or just keep going, so I repeatedly told myself to suck it up buttercup.
I swore at myself. I mocked myself. Then I ended up telling myself that I am better than I thought I was. Particularly when I got within 30 minutes of my finish point.
So my lesson of the day is that I must respect The Ridgeway. It is beautiful but unforgiving, in its way.
Big Bloke Running Ultra.