Friday, January 04, 2013

2012 – The Forgotten Races

I ran several races through the middle of the year that I didn’t get round to writing about mainly due to my poor state of mind. Although I kept on running whilst I was unwell, my training was totally erratic and I had a few niggly injuries. On hindsight, I was probably running more out of habit – I was continually tired and had totally lost my sense of enjoyment.

In April I ran in The Viking Way Ultra – 147 miles from The Humber to Oakham. I felt I was well prepared for this both physically and mentally. I pulled out at 113 miles for whatever reason and initially was pleased to have got that far – it was my longest ever continual run. However, the more I mulled it over, the more I became disappointed with myself for giving in/giving up. Physically, this run took me a while to recover from – mentally even longer. A great race though – well organised by Mark Cockbain, and can’t wait to give it another go.

At the end of May, I ran in the Dukeries 40. Organised by Roger & Maria Lawton-Spence, this was a lovely run in and around Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. Although, only 40 minutes away from home, I had never really explored the area – beautiful, typically English countryside. The race took place on probably the only hot day of the summer and I had a really good run finishing 2nd. A really fun, local event that I would really recommend, especially for those just starting their ultra-running careers. Roger & Maria are a lovely couple, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them at several races since.

I really found it hard to motivate myself to do much through the summer and the dismal weather didn't help. I had a place in The Lakeland 100 at the end of July but had done minimal training for this and wasn’t sure whether to bother at all. Jenny persuaded me that I would only regret it if I didn’t even go, and that failure would be not starting rather than not finishing. 

I felt totally lethargic right from the start and wanted to pull out at every checkpoint. To make matters worse, after drinking a couple of bottles of the supplied energy drink, I began vomiting for England.

I sat contemplating life for 45 minutes at Braithwaite CP where I met Sam Robson who'd injured his ankle. Sam had some great runs in 2012, including being one of the 2 finishers in the Piece of String fun run. Eventually, I thought ‘sod it’ and left the CP with a group of runners including Jon Steele. Jon is a great guy and I have the upmost respect for anyone who can ran 50 ultras in a year. Carrying on, I began to think I might even finish but had a bad spell leading up to Dalemain and withdrew at the 58 miles point. I wasn’t really disappointed by this – I had got further than I thought I would, and I had started with no real expectation of finishing. Without doubt, The Lakeland 100 is a great event. Mass camping at the start, superbly organised and amazing support at every village passed through and every checkpoint – I will be back! I have a place for this year’s event but may have to put it off until next year due to other commitments.

In August, I had a thoroughly therapeutic holiday with Jenny and our 4 children. Running consisted of laps around our cruise ship. The combination of sun, relaxation and escape served to get my mojo back! I had a great time.

Having reassessed my goals and general outlook on life, I ran the High Peaks 40 Challenge in September. I had run this in 2011 and really enjoyed it. I ran this race with no pressure – I decided to go out and just enjoy the day – and I did. I ran the last 15 miles with Max Dillon and we had a great laugh – I’m sure we will meet up again. This run was the turning point for me – enjoyment had returned, not just to running but to all facets of my life.

In October, I ran two 50 mile race on consecutive Saturdays, firstly as training for The Spine and secondly to see if I could! I entered the Round Rotherham on the day. Again, I decided to take it relatively easily and enjoy myself. I enjoyed the route more than expected – it’s very variable through countryside, villages, urban areas and old industrial areas. It was very muddy! I was pleased to finish in just over 8 hours in 14th place (or so!).

The following Saturday, I ran in the Dusk til Dawn ultra. Starting and finished in Castleton in the Peak District, the premise of the race was that it started at dusk and you had to finish the 50 miles before dawn. I’d entered this when it was first advertised as it was something a bit different. My legs felt surprisingly good and I was really pleased to finish in 5th place. Another new and very well organised event. A lot of fun too.

And that fills in the gaps! My next outing was the Spine training run

Having been on the verge of pulling out of this year’s Spine and MdS, I am now hitting the New Year with total enthusiasm and am ready to take on both challenges head on.

My initial goals for 2013:
  • Continue to enjoy my running and just enjoy life
  • Be positive, do good and keep a smile on my face
  • Finish The Spine (and I will because I’ve now written it down)
  • Top 50 MdS
……and then we’ll see!

Happy New Year!!


Nick said... [Reply to comment]

Brilliant stuff, Rich. All the best with your big challenges this year, starting with The Spine very soon (eek, rather you than me).

Richard Lendon said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks Nick - I'll do my very best!

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