So, I’ve entered another 100 mile foot race next month. If I had finished the one at the weekend, there is no way I would have entered another one; but the pain of failure is just too much for this girl to take.
I’m sure there are a lot of other people who struggle to let things go when it all turns to shit. I guess that’s how people become successful in nine out of ten cases. It’s that inability to say ‘well, I found that difficult so I just won’t bother doing it again.’
I may be a crap runner, but I do have a dogged determination to get things done. One of my colleagues said she thinks I have a bit of a probleem. And I have to agree. And I’m kinda glad that I do have this problem.
I tried a hundred mile run over the weekend and it really tipped it down so it was a bit like trying to run an ultra on a Tough Mudder course. And so I failed. I only made it to 68 miles.
I can make all the excuses that the weather was miserable and the ground was just too boggy for me. I’m not a natural runner and so I do have to have good conditions if I’m going to make it to the end. I just wasn’t good enough on the day and that is quite a difficult thing to swallow.
I just have to remember that I had fun, I met some lovely people and I have some memories to look back on, even if I didn’t get my belt buckle and finisher T-shirt. I still ran a lot further than most people could ever dream of.
It’s just hard and I feel like I’m wallowing in the depression at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s justified, or whether I’m just being a bit of an entitled little madam. Wherever this feeling is coming from, I’m sure so many others have felt it and you can only come back stronger.
If you’ve had a set back or a failure recently, I understand and I see you. Let’s get back on the horse and show the world what we’re made of.
I have followed Sally McRae’s running career for many years now. I don’t follow her because she’s good (even though she is phenomenally talented); I follow her because she is unbelievably positive in her approach to life.
She has had a really tough life with her childhood being plagued with awful events, most importantly the death of her mother when she was still a teenager. But even though there was a time she wanted to give up, she never did.
She now has a beautiful family and a killer career as a runner, coach and writer. She is writing a book which I am so excited to read when it comes out.
This film follows a project that she dreamt up for this summer. The plan was to run 507 miles (the number of months her mother lived for) and she was doing it at the age her mother was when she died. This meant that it was a really poignant project and each run was a tribute to her in different ways.
This is a bit of a long video, but it’s so inspiring, so if you do get a spare forty minutes or so over the Christmas breack, I really would sit down with a cup of tea and give it a watch. If you are struggling to get yourself motivated with anything, this will give you the kick up the bum that you need.
There is a Co-op advert on the TV at the moment and the song that accompanies it is a new version of The Only Way Is Up which was originally a hit in the 80s for Yazz. I heard this song over and over when I was in bed, feeling sorry for myself after my ultra run and now it hits a nerve every time I hear it.
It’s amazing that when a song works its way into your head, especially during an emotionally charged moment, it lights up the brain like a firework every time you hear it afterwards.
This is a real problem if you do long events as an earworm can end up rattling around your brain for up to 30 hours. Imagine that. Thirty hours of a song, and you can normally only remember the chorus, so it can get quite annoying.
On my last event I had Oh Happy Day playing on repeat, and I am still too scared to play that song at the moment as I think that I have a minor form of PTSD.
And, these songs can still be recalled years after the event. When I swam the Channel in 2013, I had Emile Sande ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ rattling around my head. That was 9 years ago and I still associate that song with the 14 hours that I spent in the pain cave that day.
Do other people have earworms that they will remember for a lifetime?
Captain Matthew Webb, first man to swim the English Channel
On Saturday 18th June my dad and I jumped into the car and drove to Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking so that I could run a 100 mile foot race over a one mile lap. That’s 100 laps in under 30 hours.
I arrived at about 7:30am so that I could register and get my timing chip. Then I checked out all the important stuff like where the toilets were and where I could store my bag so that I could access it easily during the race.
At the start of the race there was a mini camp site where everyone set up tents, but I just had my holdall in a black bin liner. Lots of people were doing the P12 and P24 challenge where they ran a mile on the hour every hour for either 12 hours or 24 hours. It was lovely as it gave the place a real festival vibe, especially over night.
The weather at the start was really hot and although the first thirty miles are normally quite comfortable, I was struggling with the heat a little bit. It was very much appreciated when the organizers cracked open the ice lollies.
The lap became very familiar and I found that I could walk the slight incline and then jog the downhill and the flat. This rhythm became really important as the night set in because it’s easy to start flagging.
During the night we had a massive electrical thunderstorm and it got a little bit scary as we ran out into the rain and thunder. It didn’t help that I was so tired I was starting to hallucinate. This can be a really scary experience, but I’m learning to push through and the sun coming up in the morning makes you feel so much better.
It was another warm morning and I had about 20 miles to go when the sun came up. By that time most people were doing the death march and I just had to dig deep and keep going.
Dad arrived with Noah when I had 11 miles to go so they went into Dorking for a little look around while I continue to stumble on.
Those last 10 miles were shocking and if it wasn’t for the wonderful volunteers on the checkpoint, I don’t imagine I would have made it. They cheered me on every time I passed them and it just lifted my spirits. The other people on the course were all shouting encouragement to each other too, and I could really feel the love.
At 11am Noah and dad came back and I asked them to walk the last lap with me. We marched around together and I crossed the line in 27 hours – it was roughly a ten minute PB.
At the end I literally fell over the line and was presented with my beautiful buckle (most 100 mile races have a belt buckle instead of a medal for finishers).
I was in a bit of a bad way when I got back to the car and I know I was smelling really bad! I buried myself under my dad’s coat and tried to close my eyes and ignore the pain as we travelled home.
Monday was a write off and I had to take a day off sick. Noah was worried that if I tried to drive in I might get lost on the way. My brain was so fuddled that I barely knew my name.
It’s now Wednesday and I’m still a bit stiff but I’m starting to feel more human and I’ve been into work and not done anything too stupid. The only problem is that when the pain begins to fade the need to sign up for another one returns. Should I?
I love to run. I’m not a talented runner, but I do love to push myself as hard as I can and I love to see just how far I can go. And so it seemed only natural that I gravitated towards the ultra marathon distance, finally making it up to the 100 milers.
I did five of them between 2015 and 2017 and then I hit a bit of a road block. I don’t understand why, but every time I attempted the race, my head just gave up anywhere between 60 and eighty miles.
I had three failed attempts under my belt and a five year dry spell and I really was starting to think that I just didn’t have the ability to do it anymore.
So, I was a little bit hesitant when I entered a hundred miler for the weekend just gone. But, nevertheless, I pulled on my trainers and hit the trail. And I poured my little heart into it.
And you know what? I only went and bloody did it.
So, I just wanted to say that when you’ve failed at something a few times, it never means that it’s over. If you want something bad enough, you can get it. Just keep plodding away and eventually you will get there.
I’ve been watching some of the Salomon TV on Youtube over the past few days and it’s quite addictive because the people they follow are just so interesting. I think that we all need positive people in our lives and these are the people who shine a little bit of light into my life.
I don’t have any real interest in being rich or famous or successful, so the outlook of these people is really inspiring to me. Their idea of success is coming to know themselves better and the people in the world around them a little better.
Watching these videos you get to see people pushing themselves over a finish line that they have determined. There is no trophy or gold medal at the end. There isn’t even a cheering squad because they’ve made this challenge up on their own. All they care about is digging deep and understanding what makes themselves tick.
There is something quite spiritual in it and I guess it’s why I enjoy pushing myself. I’m never going to win a race, but I can find a point to the things that other people consider pointless.
There is a lyric in Madonna’s song ‘Time Goes By’ that goes: those who run seem to have all the fun. That line has stuck with me over the last fifteen years over the many hundreds of miles I have covered.
The thing is, I think Madonna actually knows her stuff, and I think that us runners do seem to have a lot of fun.
Whenever I’m feeling a bit low, I put running videos on Youtube and just watch people having fun racing and training. I’m guessing it’s all down to the endorphins, but I’m definitely going to make the most of it.
I cannot stop watching Youtubers who create content about the wilderness, hiking, wild camping and wild swimming. Their wilderness vlogs are sometimes the most calming thing in my day and they fill me with some excitement for life – something that I think we can all struggle to find from time to time.
There is something so beautiful about watching a well put together video that shows the beauty of what we have right here in the UK. The Lake District and the Scottish Highlands are just two of the places I’ve been looking at.
I’m lucky enough to be visiting the Lake District in two weeks time and I can’t wait to go for some runs and hikes. I’m even going to take my swimsuit and goggles and I might put in a couple of miles in Coniston.
There is just something so human about being away from the cities and towns that are sometimes so jarring to our souls. The wilderness is both beautiful and dangerous and I think that resonates with all humans on some level.