I was first inspired to run an Ultra Marathon before I’d even run a marathon…which doesn’t sound quite so insane when I tell you I ran my first marathon before I ran my first half marathon and the person behind said inspiration ran the same solo ultra event I’ve entered before he’d run a regular marathon.
I am conscious I am making a half marathon and marathon sound easy so let me put this into perspective. A half marathon is 13.1 miles and a full (regular) marathon is 26.2 miles – that’s over 100 laps of a running track! I believe “technically” anything longer than a marathon is classed as an ultra marathon but for race purposes they tend to begin at 50km or 30 miles depending on the event.
So back to this insane idea of running an ultra marathon…it was back in August last year that I first read Keith’s report from his Ultra 12 Solo Race…I didn’t really know Keith at that time except that he was a fellow Hedgie so it was even more remarkable that the experience of a relative stranger moved me to tears and I knew I wanted to feel the way he described at the end of one of my races.
However he was still insane at this point and I was supposed to be approaching the height of my Bournemouth marathon training but had picked up a small injury and was struggling to run 3 miles so my focus was firmly on my first marathon. But as the weeks went on and I got back to pre-injury fitness and beyond with an almost unnervingly comfortable 20-miler with the other half of team Emlin (I’ll explain that later) the idea of an ultra marathon started creeping back in.
I had meticulously trained for and planned every step of my first marathon so I was confident going into it but a little unnerved that I may have peaked too early with the 20-miler but remained calm and stuck to the plan…always stick to the plan! You’ll be pleased to know I’m not going to relive Bournemouth again but if by some chance you have managed to escape me retelling my story over and over you can get up to speed via the race report I wrote for Hedge End Running Club.
I had an awesome experience at Bournemouth and once I had finished I was glad I could sit down but given the second half of the race had all the hills, was only 3 minutes slower than the first half, my last mile was the fastest of the whole race and for a while after I felt a little deflated by the lack of emotion that Keith brought me to want from his experience I knew I had more to give.
So, along with Linda (the other half of “Team Emlin”), I committed to giving more by entering Manchester marathon shortly after Bournemouth (7 days to be precise) but not before entering the Ultra 12 hour Solo race just 4 days after running 16 miles further than I’d ever raced before and even that was 3 years previous!
By now Keith is looking decidedly normal, although I fear it is more that I am slowly bridging the gap to insanity…well I thought that I was still on the right side of this gap until I was discussing entering The Ox Ultra with Team Emlin Part Two (Linda…come on keep up) saying that it doesn’t matter about times because it’s just a 35 mile training run…cue momentary silence before both laughing hysterically/nervously.
So here we have it…two marathons and three ultras booked for 2015. Oh, that includes Bournemouth marathon again which I booked 3 days after last year as a birthday present to myself and was being referred to as my fun run at the end of what will hopefully be an awesome year until this Keith bloke talked me into Portsmouth Coastal Ultra along a trail route at the end of December…but it’s OK, at “only” 50km it’s the shortest of all my ultras this year so will be fine….
At this point I am going to refer you back to the second paragraph of this blog, slowly step away from the phone and see you in the next instalment of this journey in which reality starts to kick in.