Apr 07 2013

Things don’t always go to plan!

This was a pretty intense 70-mile week. The furthest I’ve run in a week… ever. The last Sunday long run was a 24-miler.

Waterperry 24 milesI meticulously planned the route, bearing in mind that I have to increase the amount of off-road running that I’m doing, I planned this to be about 30% tracks, bridleways and footpaths. Waterperry – 24 miles.

Such a long run with no roadside support and a weather forecast of unbroken hazy sunshine and more warmth than we’ve had for months it seems, maintaining hydration levels was going to key.

The first 6 miles was good, and then the problems started.

First an innocuous stone in my shoe – how can that be a problem right? I precariously balanced on one foot while remocing the shoe on the dirt and stone bridlepath and lost my balance plunging my unportected foot hard on the ground, and smack on to an exposed stone. So stupid I could have kicked myself, which would have, admittedly, been less painful. Lesson learnt, “don’t try and blaance on one foot with a 10-mile, a 20-mile and another 6 miles in your legs”. Soon recovered from that, or so I though – see later ;).

Back on the road and running ok, averaging a steady 10:15 pace which is well ahead of race pace (11-11:30 min/mile).

By mile 8 I was generally feeling OK – and then felt water spraying down my back. My hydration pack sprung a leak and my lifeline of 1.5l of fluid ended up in the gutter. That was bad news. but I still had my £5 squirrelled away in the back pack, so was pretty sure I could stop and get bottled water.

That proved to be a good call and I stopped off at a co-op at 10 miles and refilled with 2 x 500ml bottles. An unexpected 5 minute break… and was consigned to stopping to remove backpack every time I wanted to drink… not good, but tolerable.

Despite planning the route with great meticulousness, I ended up getting lost and running for miles with my phone in my hand trying to get some sort of 2G connection to display a satellite map and try and get back on course.

Meanwhile the back-pack-on, back-pack-off routine was continuing painfully. As I had started with between 1.5l and 2l of fluid, my shoulders were starting to feel the backpack pressure – another point to note!

After 12 miles, it was hot… too hot for a thermal top, but it was getting to about 4pm by now and I did expect the temperature to drop below the dizzifying heights of 11 degrees (it’s going to be a damn sight hotter than that on race day) so I decided to leave my thermal on. Instead, I took off my sun cap… it was nice feeling the air through my hair.

The sun was still shining, my cap was off, my thermal sleeves were rolled up as far as they could go… and it was ok. Fatigue in my legs was to be expected… only 10M of the week’s 70M left to do, that’s nice feeling.

By mile 18, dehydration was starting to really kick in. I should be taking on mouthfuls every 5-10 minutes and I going a few miles between drinks. The occasional pounding head was starting, and my upper body was starting to get shakey.

Food… I forgot to eat at mile 8-12 as I had intended. How did I forget that? A banana and three garibaldis later, I felt better. Note to self – eat early.

Mile 20 and fatigue now setting in to my legs in a big way. Will I really achieve my objective of having no stiffness tomorrow? Dehydration was now painful – both bottles finished, I really should have bought 3x500ml. I knew I was going to pay for that mistake.

3 miles of 70 to go, and I was not in a good way. My head was pounding now and I could feel the tightness across my forehead. The sun was still shining and I was starting to feel like I do when I have the occasional sun stroke / migraine. Too much exposed skin, especially on my follically-challenged receding forehead was now starting to burn – badly.

Another note to self… a better, cooler sun cap or sun screen would be a sensible addition.

So I finished and felt really pleased with 70+ miles this week. But the problems didn’t stop there.

About an hour after stopping it felt like my body was going to shut down. Extreme nausia, involuntary muscle spasms, dry mouth, sunburnt head, arms and neck, and a splitting headache added to my painful limbs. that lasted about an hour. I put it down to many thing:

  • dehydration
  • sun stroke / sun burn
  • low energy
  • losing natural endorphins
  • lactic acid poisoning

All these things I need to avoid if I’m going to complete the London to brighton 100km race.

I keep on making these same elementary mistakes. I have to tighten up on my planning – maybe not listen to the music on my bluetooth headset and instead go over the same points: Am I hydrating properly, am I refuelling, is my skin safe, am i avoiding sun-induced problems?  I can’t leave the success or failure of this challenge down to a simple thing like not drinking for a few miles in the middle of the race or forgetting to pack my sun block or not eating that banana because “I feel ok now”!

Lesson learnt!


1 ping

  1. Week 17 – End of the third-hardest training week » Wibles' Ultrablog | Wibles' Ultrablog

    […] « Things don’t always go to plan! […]

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