Last Saturday I ran the Devil of The Highlands Footrace. This is a 43 mile ultra starting in Tyndrum and following the West Highland Way to its end in Fort William.
Spoiler – 8:51:05 coming 57th out of 138 starters
This is a race that has been on my bucket list for some time as, over the years I’ve spent a lot of time around that area hillwalking / climbing / munrobagging. It is also a race that I plan to be the first step towards another which is on my bucket list, the West Highland Way Race (the whole length of the WHW – 96 miles).
The West Highland Way being a national trail that goes from Milngavie near Glasgow to Fort William in Lochaber, on the way, passing through Loch Lomond and Glencoe.
On 30th June 2012 I took part in the Endure24 ultrarunning event, starting at noon on the Saturday and running round 5 mile loops as many times as possible for 24 hours.
A bunch of people had asked how far I thought I would cover, and I told them 70 to 80 miles, but secretly I harboured aspirations of covering 100 miles. A little ambitious maybe, considering the furthest I’d covered so far was 40 miles at the Compton Download Challenge, but that magical figure of 100 miles in 24 hours was niggling away at the back of my mind.
The training, up to the event, had been okay. I had been running every day (runstreak) mostly averaging 50 mile weeks, with an 80 mile week when I had done a couple of long back to backs. Although, in the 4 weeks leading up to the event I had been doing mostly 4 and 5 milers with a 12 to 16 miler at the weekend – I really should have put a few more longer runs into the schedule.
Well it’s now July and Juneathon is over. Overall it went well – the plan was to
- Run every day in June – CHECK
- Blog about it every day in June – NO CHECK
Yes, although I kept up the runstreak all through June, and I almost made it blogging every day, I fell at the very last obstacle. I blogged every day up till 29th June and then missed it on the 30th.
To summarize the running side of things, here’s the metrics from runkeeper…
I started my “run 2012 miles in 2012” goal a bit late (end of Feb), so have spent most of the first half of the year a bit behind and trying to catch up.
Well this weekend I caught up, after covering 75 miles in the Endure24 event. I am currently 40 miles ahead of plan, having now covered 1051 miles so far (to 2nd July, the 184th day of the year).
(2012/366) * 184 = 1011.5 miles
Feels good to have a bit of leeway now…
A bunch of stuff has had me thinking about 100 miles over the past few months. This has always been my aim (100 miles in under 24 hours, and the other major ‘bucket list’ item being the West Highland Way Race), at the back of my mind, since starting to think about going longer.
I’ve kind of been watching from afar – route marking on the Thames Path 100, and watching some of the finishers at the end of the race, as well as watching a bunch of people on twitter (@mrafletch, @captwonderpants, @ogeerunner, @takeachallenge and many others) enter the South Downs Way 100.
Till now, I had been building up to races – 50K, 40 miles, planned 43 miles ‘Devil o the Highlands’, toying with the Oxford Ultra (63 miles), with a view to doing the Thames Path 100 next year. However, the more I see / read / hear, the more I think I should just jump right it. Even with a DNF I’d be learning loads (need to get out of that way of thinking actually)…
So, to that end, I just entered the Endure24 challenge, held at the end of June (same weekend as the SDW100). It starts at noon and you run as far as you can on 5-6 mile loops for 24 hours.
My furthest every run to date is 40 miles (in 7.5 hours), I’m hoping I can do at least 80, but we’ll see…
As always, I’m thinking of charity – Help for Heroes – please donate if you can http://justgiving.com/kjhughes
One of my twitter cohorts, @mrafletch, started his runstreak just over a year ago by doing a ‘Juneathon’ – deciding to run every day in June 2011 – and he hasn’t looked back since !!
I was inspired to do the same thing this past March, run every day for the month. I also have not looked back (currently on day 93).
Most people say it takes 30 days to form a habit, there is even a website for it – it certainly worked for Andrew and it seems to have worked for me, so it’s time for me to start another one – a blogstreak.
I want to blog abut my running every day in June 2012 – it’s an experiment really, no so much the ‘can I do’ aspect but more on the will I be able to keep it interesting on a daily basis – the answer right now is, I don’t know…
Anyway, I plan to start it – if it works then great, if it works and becomes a habit that I continue, even better. If it doesn’t work then I haven’t really lost anything other than a bit of my time writing about something I love doing.
Feel free to add comments with feedback – what works, what doesn’t, what’s interesting, what’s not.
Last week I ran the Compton Downland Challenge, this is an annual 40 mile (and has a 20 mile option) cross country race over the Berkshire Downs. It is organized by Compton Harriers, by Dick Kearn, the guy who also does the Grand Union Canal Race (I learnt this from other runners on the course). Read more
A ‘runstreak’ is a continuous period of running every day. If you miss a day then your run streak is at an end.
Late in February, on a whim, I decided I would give it a bash, and run every day in March. Not sure why, maybe it was following @mrafletch on Twitter (he’s currently on day 289 of his runstreak), maybe I wanted to shake things up a little on the running front – who knows.
Anyway, off I went. I set myself a minimum daily mileage of 2 miles and started running every day. I thought it would be pretty simple – 2 miles, 15 – 18 minutes, not a great deal to carve out in a day. Mostly it has been easy, but there are challenging days – early start, long day at work, late finish, kids to bed, dinner at 9pm and then having to think about fitting in a run (on a full stomach).
EEK, it is now confirmed…
I have a place in the Devil ‘o The Highlands Footrace – the second ‘half’ of the West Highland Way. From Tyndrum to Fort William. Looking forward to a good summer of training.
This morning I posted my application for the 2012 Devil o’ The Highlands Footrace. It starts in Tyndrum and covers the last 43 miles of the West Highland Way, finishing in Fort William.
I grew up on the West of Scotland and spent many teenage weekends walking the hills around here, and over 20 years ‘munro bagging’. I’d never really considered doing (walking) the West highland Way, but have really got hooked on the idea of running it.
It’s around 95 miles miles end to end and they do host a race every year in June, but I don’t think I’m up to that distance yet. Fortunately there are two other races that cover the distance in parts – this one (The Devil o’ The Highlands) and the Highland Fling which is at the end of April and covers the first 53 miles from Milngavie to Tyndrum.
The West highland Way race (full distance) is on my bucket list, and my (loose) plan is to do each of the (almost) half distance races to get a feel for the terrain and the level of training/endurance required and then do the full distance.
Anyway, here’s hoping I get a place on this one, this year.