Challenge 14: Twenty four seven

This morning I should be heading for the Lake District to take part in the Great Lakeland Challenge. However, for a variety of reasons I will be spending the next few days much closer to home. This decision has left a 'hole' in respect of events I had planned to link to Challenge639. It also potentially adds further holes to my already limited preparation for a longer stage race I have entered later in the month. I am currently working on a home- grown 'fix' to this problem, one that is suitably testing to warrant inclusion as Challenge 14. Hopefully my this evening the first few miles of this will be run ..........


OK so here is the deal. Between now & Saturday 12th I will run 247km. Why because Alfie & Arthur have to deal with the muscular dytsrophy 24/7. The distances I cover will vary each day. The only fixed distance will be on Saturday 12th as I am taking part in an organised event. This will take care of the closing 53km.


Today (4/5/12) I covered a demanding 24km. These were predominantly off road but included a few short stretches of tarmac. My pace was slow but the scenery beautiful & the peace welcome. 

 Day 2 (5/5/12) my planned 40km turned into a very reluctant, last minute 9km. My head wasn't right today & it was a real effort forcing myself out of the door. Whilst the distance travelled remained disappointing the evening light was lovely & the trails soft 'n' muddy. It was also a rain free run! Tomorrow is another day & the aim will be to log a few more kms..

Day 3 (6/5/12) Today I had a mainly route planned from my home to Farnham railway station. The idea was to research this as a possible commute route. From my 'planning' I thought it was about 27km each way which would mean 54km in the bag by the time I got home. It didn't quite workout like that. I arrived at Farnham station after a very enjoyable mix of trails & quite roads, but had only covered 15km. Mmmm.. after a coffee I decided to try & edge out the return route to gain me a few extra kms. Unfortunately I got caught up in the moment when I found some new trails. As a result of my explorations I lost all sense of direction. As a result of loosing my way didn't enjoy the closing 10km but I did end up covereing 51.4km. I reached home tired. My legs seemed OK though, but my back was rubbed raw (literally) from the pack I had been carrying. This made for a very uncomfortable shower & will make the rest of this particular challenge a little bit more 'interesting'. That is, however misssing the point of this & all the other challeneges under the banner of challenge639. The main take home point should be I was able to get out, cover 51km on legs that functioned & dealt with what I asked of them. Tomorrow they will do the same.  I, along with others, may complain things get a bit harder as I get older but that personal reality is very very very different to the reality that affects those who suffer from muscular dystophy, like Alfie & Arthur. For them things truly will get harder as they get older & their muscles waste away. Think on that..

Day 4 (7/5/12). Tomorrow I have a long run in mind so today I thought I would opt for a road run & benefit from a stable surface. Well this idea lasted about 2km, I then looked for a trail to veer off onto. It wasn't long before I was on a trail, enjoying the mud & enjoying being surrounded by trees. It's not like the roads I had chosen are busy but its just not the same .. well not for me..;) I ended up exploring some more new areas, pushed the pace (for me) at times, & finished empty of energy but with another 29.5km covered. 

Day 5 (8/5/12). Today I headed out with the intention of covering 4 loops of the circuit I used for Challenge 8. One lap in I was regretting my choice of layers as I was over heating & my legs were not as compliant as I would have liked. At the end of lap 2 I would have happily headed for home but dug in & headed out for lap 3. Whilst running this I tried to work out where I could find another 10km during the week if I fell short today. At the close of lap 3 I decided I just would have to as I was out of fluid & overly hot. Sometimes discretion is the wisest choice. As for the legs they never felt great but each lap was consistent & significantly quicker than when I ran the same circuit back at Christmas. Tomorrow I was planning on a shorter run, but this may need to be re - thought. But for the moment happy to have logged some more kms, happy that I am able to do this, & happy I can now have a coffee!

Day 6 (9/5/12). Back to work today so an evening run was the order of today. I headed out feeling less than motivated & managed a very wet short 10k on the flatest roads I could find. Shorter than I would have liked as it will make tomorrow & Friday 'interesting' but all my head would give me today. Legs suprisingly OK!

Day 7 (10/5/12). Wow. What can I say about today's 'run'...? The short & possibly over simplistic version would be it was horrid. For those who might like the longer version.. The day started with me packing my rucksack with the intention of getting off the train early & running from Guildford to Haslemere. I had my Garmin with me & assumed that using its point of direction gizzmo I would be able to link tracks & trails together to cover the distance. I hadn't bothered to actually plan a route. As I left work the skies were unleashing amonths worth of rain & my motivation was zero. The rain eased though & by the time I reached Guildford the skies were brightening. That coupled with some encouraging facebook messages meant I summoned up the enthusiasm to get off the train & start my journey. The first few kms were largely road based & a bit chaotic but I was soon on trails & settling into a gentle trot. The tracks were exceptionally wet & slippery but initially this was fun. Then my traill linking skills deteriorated, & my route became more disjointed & problematic. My mood darkened when I was unable to cross a river as the bridge was under water. This meant I had to re- trace several kms. Whilst having a moan about this I slipped & landed in some stinging nettles! More moaning. My spirits were lifted by a brief encounter with another runner. We shared the trail for a short while before going our separate ways. A brief spell next to a main road wasn't fun. I was then back on trails which rarely went in the ideal direction & increasingly didn't link together naturally. This meant I resorted to some desperate tresspassing as I tried to reach the sanctuary of my car before darkness fell. I failed. The light disappeared & the rain returned. Fortunately I had my head torch with me, but the mix of rain & my breathing meant visibility wasn't great & the trails were truly muddy. I also had no real idea of where I was in relation to places I knew. All a bit disheartening. However, eventually I reached my car & my run was done. Just over 30k. A 30k I don't wish to re- visit! Now I am tired & hungry. My legs- ridiculously they seem OK. ;)

Day 8 (11/5/12). Today the efforts of the last few days began to catch up with me.  I felt tired & noticed a few aches. By the time this evening arrived I was dreading my run, even though it was going to be a realtively short one. I regretted not doing a bit more earlier in the week as a rest ahead of tomorrows long run would have been very welcome. Eventually I set off & covered just over 11k so when I cross the line tomorrow at the end of the Marlborough 33 the work is done. Today it definitely would have been easier & more comfortable to stay at home & let the aches subside a bit.

Day 9 (12/5/12) To round of this challenge I drove down to Wiltshire to take part in the Marlborough Downland Challenge. The organisers offer a 20mile or a 33mile option. I was going to be enjoying the 33mile route. On the drive down I was feeling tired & doubting my ability to complete this particular challenge. A few coffees later I remained unconvinced but the skies were blue. At 9 am we were off. The first few miles gave a good indication of what laid ahead. Ups, downs, & stunning views. There was also a lovely, feel good atmosphere thanks to my fellow runners & the marshals. The tracks varied from very muddy to hard packed chalk as the route wound its way around the Downs. My legs were doing OK.  I was lucky to find myself among a group of runners of a similar pace. This was particularly welcome in the closing miles as I became increasingly aware of some few aches, pains & niggles. However,  all things considered they were doing OK. During the conversations that took place along the route, motivations for taking on such runs were discussed. One runner simply said, because she could. We could, & we were.  Contrast this with the limitations imposed by muscular dystrophy on the lives of Alfie & Arthur & other sufferers. I thought on this as I crossed the finish line.

Day 10.. a recovery day.  I woke up, tired, but I hadn't had to sleep with my legs in calipers (like Alfie does) & after a few steps my legs were working 'normally' again. For most of us our body's ability to perform & recover truly is amazing.

4 Comment(s)

mate, let me know what days you have what planned, i'm thinking this tuesday, 8th May, i maybe able to join you and cover some miles... i do have a slight calf issue, but thats nothing compared to why these challenges are even taking if you do
want company, and i can make it happen, i will be there...

nobbsy / 04-May-2012 10:39 PM

Tues is likely to be a long slow one, as I've not got out for today's run yet, so it is likely to be much, much shorter run than desireable.

Anonymous / 05-May-2012 06:12 PM

'because we can!' 'get a shifty on'! Thank you for you entertainment! Well done on your achievement, here's to many more :-) xx

Anonymous / 13-May-2012 03:49 PM

Having functional bodies makes us achieve surprising stuff. Well done on completing yet another challenge. Having suffered minor injury while on my bike I have realised that painfree body is a luxury.

Anonymous / 17-Jun-2012 11:36 PM

Leave a reply

Captcha Image