Chilly Hilly 2020

It’s been a a few weeks since my first ultra and they haven’t been the happiest running weeks. In the initial recovery period from the ultra I developed a pain on the top of my left foot so took a rest week. Thankfully that solved it but a couple of weeks later and my right foot had the same trouble, which didn’t shift quite so easily.

When I finally managed to start running pain free again I took it slow and eased the distance up gradually. My calves were rock hard after every run and I felt like I did when I first moved to zero drop. I’d put myself on the waiting list for a nice 10 mile trail race nearby in early December but figured I wouldn’t get a place and probably wouldn’t be race fit anyway.

Then lockdown hit and the race was delayed three weeks and suddenly a load of places became free and that seemed plenty of time to get fit… so I signed up.

Race day arrived and I was feeling fine. Fitness levels weren’t great due to a low mileage couple of months but I was pain free. For now.

Socially distanced start line

The first kilometre was flat and in parts super muddy, but I covered it in 4mins and felt good… then came Tennyson Down. A long steady up hill that just demonstrated how bad I was at going up hill. When it was finally time to go downhill again I clawed back some time but I was instantly met with another hill as we went up and over Headen Warren. This one was steep and muddy, so that’s two of my weaknesses at once. By the time we were down the other side and enjoying a fairly flattish few kilometres to the finish I was feeling my lack of mileage. No more 4 minute kilometres but still moving forward and roughly on target.

I think all of the runners in this pic were in front of me by the end of Tennyson Down

My aim before the race was to finish in 1:15, on the day I crossed the finish line in just over 1:16 and 17th place overall so I was fairly content with that given the circumstances. No finish line celebrations, a quick well done shared with a guy I’d run with for a bit (who pulled away from me towards the end) and I was off to find some warm clothes and my lift home.

Strava link for my race if you’re interested.

I’ve waited a few weeks to publish this blog, to see if I remained injury free or not. It’s been two weeks now and in that time I ran 100km over 8 days for the Ultra X Holiday 100 virtual race without issue. I still feel twinges in my feet but I think it’s just normal twinges/maranoia now. Today is the first Sunday of 2021 and so my first long run of the year and the start of my 100 mile ultra training. My next race is another local 10 miler in March but I might put a blog or two out before then about the ultra training.

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