Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Questions unanswered

It has been a tumultuous week here in the UK. This however is not a political blog so I will keep my thoughts on those matters to myself. The prevailing uncertainty does however reflect my current relationship with running, in particular ultra-running.

This past weekend I had my final runs on the Lakeland 100 route in preparation for the race.  Every time I have done a long run, in particular my runs on the route, I suffer a great deal.  These runs are supposed to prepare me for the race: to learn the route and prepare my legs for what they will face, but each time I come away feeling less prepared and less able to face the task ahead. Perhaps it is the enormity of the thing; I have never raced a true 100miler before. Or maybe it's the terrain; it's so unforgiving and it gets stuck into you right from the very first mile. Or maybe the preparation for this race, 2 years in the making, has slowly unravelled my fitness, my health and my desire to run.  The constant pushing, battling against what my body keeps telling me, time away from my children in order to do a long run at the weekend, or losing even more sleep (on top of what I already lack) to try and fit in the runs whilst lessening the time away from my children. 

This sounds like I'm defeated. But quite the contrary. All of the above makes me more determined to finish the race than ever. Or else what was the point of it all?  And herein lies the uncertainty of my position. With having to juggle work and two young children, and very soon going back to university on top of this, is it really feasible to continue with ultra-running?  I don't really know the answer to this.  The problem is that we are coming up to race-entry season when all the big races start opening entries for next year.  And these days you have to be on the ball if you want to get into many races.  So do I enter or do I not? Do the races mean enough to me to keep putting myself through the demands required from training for long ultra-marathons?

And then there is my Bob Graham Round attempt.  I had planned to do it this year initially, then it seemed more realistic to do it next year.  I have been doing recce runs and I have been more focused on hills this year. The improvements have been there, but I don't feel they are sufficient enough yet.  I had set a date for early May 2017, and whilst I think an attempt is still feasible, I still have a lot to think about.  Like the L100 this is something far beyond anything I have ever thought of attempting before and I do wonder, at this stage in my life, if it is the wisest choice.

So many questions and no answers at the moment.  The only thing I am certain of is that after backing out of a Total Warrior this year I am going to have to do one next year with my crazy sisters!  That might be enough crazy for one year. There should always be one crazy thing right ;-)