Longest Day Run

I’d signed up for the Longest Day Run months ago without really thinking about it, and after roping in a pal, Jen, to join me, we decided to go for about 40-50 miles.  She’d never run more than a marathon, and me not further than 34 miles, so it was going to be a test for both of us.  We’d also never run together, but knew that we had a 5 minute difference in marathon finishing times so couldn’t be that much different.

The week of the run had arrived and I didn’t even feel nervous, even went out for 2 run commutes and a sprint session on Monday night, which very nearly put an end to things as I pulled my right calf when pushing off for a sprint.  Spent some time icing that and I was blessed to receive a call from G4Physio asking me to come & have a 1/2 hr massage for free, they had a new therapist that they wanted me to try and give some feedback on, Oh yes please!  Wouldn’t say no to that offer, and boy did Sarah do a great job, she sorted out my calf and then some!

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Looking pretty pleased with my delivery!

I didn’t even really carb up like I would before a marathon, normally starting 3 days before; I did have pasta for both lunch & dinner on Friday and increased my hydration on Friday.  Made all the more easier by a fantastic delivery from Vita Coco full of hydrating coconut goodness.

Saturday morning was D-Day, and I got up to enjoy my first taste of Mountain House Europe freeze dried scrambled egg with ham & potato.  See my review here.  Off for an early train to Kidsgrove where I was to meet Jen for the start of our adventure.  The weather forecast wasn’t looking promising so that meant ensuring I had some back up gear packed as well, I took a punt thinking it wouldn’t get too cold, and took a pair of gloves, buff, long sleeved tech tee and my spray jacket.  All of which thankfully I didn’t need, I did put the long sleeved tee on for the bus trip back home though, more to hide my stink than anything 🙂

I think the lack of nerves was down to the fact that it wasn’t really a race, just a challenge, so there was no pressure.  We met and hit the canal path at 8.30am.

We ran from Kidsgrove along the Macclesfield canal, taking us through Congleton, Macclesfield, High Lane through to Marple which was at about 27 miles.  We had a short rain shower along the way, but apart from that one we had pretty good weather the entire way.  My goal of today was to work on my long distance nutrition too, and to make sure that I ate something every 5 miles as this is one of my weak spots, I tend to stop eating after about 15 miles and then start to suffer after 25 when the fuel tank is empty!  I had a variety of food for the trek, with a mixture of Clif double espresso gel, 9 Bar, Salted pretzels, Salami stick & pork crackling; all of which worked really well.  I find I like the sweet options for the first few feeds, but then have a craving for salty, savoury items.  This was my first try of pork crackling along the way and this worked a treat.  I hydrated with my camelbak filled with Nuun Kola flavour and this worked really well up until about 35 miles, when I started craving plain water.  This will be solved when I get my pack for Kalahari as it will have 2 water bottles on the front, so I can have one with Nuun and one without, so I still get my electrolytes and some flavour but can mix it up depending on what I feel like.

Aqueduct Viaduct

That’s the viaduct, & the aqueduct is beside me – Thanks Jen for the lesson!

We stopped in Marple and met up with my Mother in Law and her partner for a well deserved cup of hot, sweet tea and some crumpets for me, and Bakewell tart for Jen.  After a half hour rest, sufficiently refuelled and seizing up, we made a comic departure with our stiff bodies struggling to find the momentum again and got onto the Peak Forest Canal.  Out momentum did come back after about a mile and we carried on running & chatting, with a few more stops to stretch out our tired muscles.

At about 36 miles we were onto our 3rd and final canal, the Ashton canal, one I know well as I run this as part of my run to work, so it was nice to see familiar signs.  We pushed onto Manchester and made it to Piccadilly Station spot on 43 miles in 7h39mins.  Elated & exhausted we hugged each other, causing a spectacle of people wondering what on earth we had just done.

We made our separate ways home, and I ‘treated’ myself to an ice bath before my hot shower.  OMG!  Try getting your tired body into a bath full of cold water without screaming, I couldn’t, I wonder what the neighbours thought!  My cat was in a panic, worried because I was shrieking so much!  After about 5 mins all was good and I settled in for a soak.  It definitely works for me followed by sleeping in my compression tights; my muscles the day after felt pretty good, I was taking stairs as normal and wasn’t overly sore.

A total of 61 miles for the week!  Unbelievable, epic achievement.  I am really pleased with how my training is progressing and I am becoming stronger and able to endure more every time.  It is great to see the progress happening.  As one of my colleagues put it; “Your long runs are like our nights out on the razz, you get all pumped up, go out & run, then recover!”.  I think that’s the perfect way to describe it!

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From the start gazing thoughtfully at each other at Kidsgrove to Manchester Piccadilly station – 43 miles!

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Recovery week but the training plan begins

No rest for the wicked really!  On Monday we did it, we booked our flights to Jo’Burg and paid our deposit for the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (KAEM).  So no turning back now.  After doing that, thought I better watch some more YouTube videos about it to get a better feel…….Oh. My. Lord.  What have we signed up for?!  Looks amazingly awesome and tough, after reading some blogs by people that have done both Marathon Des Sables and KAEM, they say that KAEM is the tougher of the two!

So the training plan begins…Monday was really a rest day, did do a little cycle, cycled 7 miles to work Tuesday and ran the 7 back home.  Legs weren’t feeling too bad at all.  Wednesday saw another run back home, just in time to make it to http://www.g4physio.co.uk/ for a late 8.30pm appointment with Kamilla who really gave me a work over on the legs.  She found tight spots in both calves and absolutely murdered them. Close to tears, but not quite, from me that is, not Kamilla!  Drank loads of water that night & put the feet up to relax.  The next morning I felt great, still a little fatigued in the calves so thought I better listen to the body and take a rest day, stole Hubsters car for the day to give me a full day off the legs.  By Friday I was spot on, fresh as a daisy. Ran to work and cycled home again.  Had an early shift on Saturday so cycled to work and made a timely getaway to fit in a 20 mile run home.  Took the Ashton canal all the way to Stalybridge and headed back home via Mottram, Hyde & Stockport.  20miles reached at Stockport & as I knew Dion was at home with cricket being called off, called him for a lift 😉 Cheat I know but I was done mentally knowing he was at home in the warmth with a bottle of wine and videos!

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Good use of compression socks and ForQuad had me ready and raring for a 10 mile run to back it up on Sunday morning with the delightful company of Dion, before meeting our friends for breakfast at 10am.  Amazing what you can get done on an early start!

All in all not a bad week for a ‘recovery’ week.  I felt so much better this week after the 34 mile ultra compared to the Manchester Marathon, think the trail and the speed (or lack thereof) helps with that, less strenuous on the body overall.  

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My sexy pink compression socks!