Final week of the ultra training plan and then the small matter of the run itself

The Ridgeway – part of the Race to the Stones

You can look at this week in two ways: either the final 7km of training – which feels very easy … alternatively, there are 107km to be run this week – which feels a bit harder.

I got a run in on Monday – just 5.7km (3.5 miles) with a couple of hills – and both legs felt OK. I appreciate that many different parts of me will hurt on Saturday but the scare with the quads and the ITBs a couple of weeks ago was a real concern and I don’t feel any great need to get to the start line injured.

Monday evening was the usual swim doctor session (850m but including some leg only drills so it was tough) and I swam with my friend at the lake on Tuesday afternoon and managed 2150m. I still don’t love swimming but at least I have hope for the 1500m in the Olympic triathlon in September. Interestingly, it was the first time the collar of my wetsuit rubbed my neck – was I doing something different or was I just in it for longer?

My wife and I had brunch with our younger son on the way to Wimbledon on Wednesday. We were on Centre Court and had a ladies quarter final and Nadal v Fritz in the men’s quarter finals. Nadal is a great player and how he won through in 5 sets carrying an early injury was phenomenal – but, my word, his obsessive routines are annoying and if I never hear another ‘Come on Rafa’ I’ll be delighted.

After an overnight stay we drove back home on Thursday and I had final run of 3.6km (2.2 miles) to complete the ultra training. I got a nasty reminder that heat could be an issue – it was probably only about 20℃ (68℉) but I was hot. Friday saw the usual trip to the gym followed by the bike shop.

I never really followed the event’s 20 week training plan – in the early weeks I was ahead of the plan just with normal running. I’ve run further than the plan required but haven’t been up on the Ridgeway since February and haven’t really tried eating and drinking on the go, so those are gaps in the training.

The biggest failure has been not doing the two longest runs towards the end of the plan – I was on holiday for one and had the leg issues during the course of the other.

Week (of 20) Event’s training plan (km) My actual (km)
20 7 9
Cumulative total 716 751
Final week of the training plan completed, the ultra itself not included

Have I done enough? Who knows, but I’ll find out soon enough. At least the weather looks like being reasonable – about 16℃ (61℉) at the start, a little higher at the finish (as if I know when that’s going to be), with a maximum of 24℃ (75℉). There should be a gentle breeze, mainly at 90° to the route. I’m hoping that the breeze might help with the temperature. (If only I’d known what was actually going to happen when I wrote that).

For the umpteemth time, I went through the kit I would be wearing and carrying and packed and repacked the box I later delivered to my friend and his wife who, being incredibly kind, are going to meet me with supplies and encouragement a few times on the run (and he’s going to collect me at the end).

The ultra – 100km of fun, fun, fun

Saturday morning arrived and my wife was kind enough to drive me the 50 minutes to the start, just outside Lewknor (Oxfordshire) – and away I went at 8:10 ….

I’m writing this bit on Sunday, my 67th birthday – so here’s a bit of a spoiler alert … I did not kill myself and am not still out there lost on the Ridgeway.

I had fully expected to spend today lying in bed, immobile and groaning – as it turns out I’m up but moving around very slowly. Another spoiler alert, I finished.

The big story was the heat – once the early morning cloud disappeared it was hotter than predicted (probably 26℃ – 79℉) and I found it impossible to get enough liquids in – the result was cramping from 27km. Every time I broke into a run the cramp returned but I found I could run through it, with effort. I don’t know if it was that, or the heat, or the distance, but while the first half was OK, my legs were shredded for the second.

My friend and training partner and his lovely wife were magnificent. They took turns to run (more accurately, ‘walk’ for much of it) with me for the whole of the second half and made all the difference – I doubt I’d have done it without them. What terrific friends!

I was wondering if I’d finally taken on a challenge I couldn’t do. I think the answer is ‘No’, I could do it (and better in kinder weather) … but it was close.

I’ll do a report later.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Love is a painkiller

The Omil’s less wise words: … Paracetamol probably works better for an ultra marathon

2. BBC News website: Quarks and exotic matter

Scientists have found new ways in which quarks, the tiniest particles known to humankind, group together making new structures that exist for just a hundred thousandth of a billionth of a billionth of a second but may explain how our Universe is formed.

Atoms contain smaller particles called neutrons and protons, which are made up of three quarks each. “Exotic” matter discovered in recent years is made up of four and five quarks – tetraquarks and pentaquarks.

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have discovered one new pentaquark and two tetraquarks taking the total number discovered there to 21. Each is unique, but researchers are excited about the qualities of the three new finds.

Confused? You will be

3. BBC News website: Two football matches with 187 goals investigated

The two second-tier Sierra Leone games saw Kahunla Rangers and Gulf FC of Kono defeat their city rivals in Premier League qualifiers on Sunday. Kahunla won 95-0, and Gulf FC won 91-1 – after the half-time scores were just 2-0 and 7-1 respectively. Both results have been annulled on suspicion of match manipulation.

Things took a dramatic turn over the course of the second halves when it became clear that the team with the better goal difference would go through – with Kahunla netting 93 goals and Gulf scoring 84 times.

93 goals in 45 second half minutes hardly gives time to get the ball back to the centre circle to kick off again

4. BBC News website: Sugary cereal special offers restricted

In-store promotions on food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar will be restricted in England, from October. This includes ‘location promotions’ at checkouts, ‘end of isle’ and entrances.

Kellogg’s had taken the government to court arguing the rules did not take into account the nutritional value of added milk to cereals, but the Royal Courts of Justice ruled in favour of the government.

5. BBC News website: Woman took driving theory and practical tests for others

Inderjeet Kaur, 29, was jailed for 8 months after admitted taking about 150 tests between 2018 and 2020. Police said she was taking tests for people who had difficulty with English.

The report had no pass rate details but I bet she knows the theory and drives pretty well


9 thoughts on “Final week of the ultra training plan and then the small matter of the run itself

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you Julie. All in one piece and starting to function again. Out in the alps and about to get on the bike and cycle up a mountain so I’ll know for sure pretty soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. unironedman

    Fab stuff. Obviously looking forward to the warts and all report.
    I struggle a bit with the quark stuff, though having seen the implosion in the Tory Party across the pond, I am getting a sense of hard-to-believe particles that exist for short periods of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Omil Post author

      Thank you – it was a hard one and I’m wondering in what proportions that was due to distance, age or heat. My head says, what the hell, who cares, my heart says do another to find out. I think it may be time the head won.



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