Training this week: 13/08/2012 – 19/08/2012 (and hitting the wall for the first time)

Not a lot to report as I spent the majority of the week recovering from the North Downs Way 50. I have basically been eating non stop since the race, telling myself that I need to replenish although trying to justify the nutritional quality and recovery benefits of a Dominos Pizza is pushing it.

In terms of running, Saturday saw me returning to the North Downs Way for a run with Gareth from Reigate Hill to Box Hill Stepping Stones and back again, 14.65 miles in total, hindsight says this may have been too much.

A lovely day for a run, or so I thought

Heading out from Reigate Hill at 07:06 we started running at a reasonable pace, we had started early as we knew that the day was set to be warm and didn’t want to get caught in it. I had paced my Salomon with 1.5 litres of Electrolyte and was carrying 3 gels but had only planned to use 2 (the third being a spare)

An epic view from the North Downs Way

Following the NDW I felt good, the section between Reigate and Box is probably the toughest of the Way (or the toughest of the sections I have done), we were not pushing the pace but were speeding up on the flats and downhills and easy running or walking up the hills. Time  passed with not problems and before I knew it we had covered the 6+ miles to get to the Box Hill viewing point

The view from Box Hill, as always lovely

Opting to make sure we had the mileage in we headed down Box Hill path to the stepping stones, a descent where my legs were starting to point out to me that I had run 50 miles a week ago. If they were pointing it out on the way down then they were shouting at me on the way up, I was in a bad way. I seemed to lose all energy in a shot; and still had 7 miles to go to get back.

It had also started to get increasingly warm, more so than we had anticipated and my hydration bladder was down to about 250ml which wouldn’t be enough to get back. Getting to the top of Box Hill I was busted, feeling absolutely drained but walked for a bit on the flat and started running, this however was not going to last.

Misery, that’s what I felt going back. Despite it being a relatively short distance at this point, probably about 9 miles I knew I had hit the wall (Bonked) and hit it hard. Despite all my training up to this point I have never really experienced the ‘Wall’ and it was making up for it now.

By now I was walking more and more so I had said to Gareth to go on, no point in me slowing him down. With 2 miles to go my water had run out, the spare gel had been eaten but I was feeling no better. What I noticed was that I kept have the same thoughts repeat through my head; “just sit down and have a rest” and “when I get back I am going to get a bottle of water and a bottle of coke”, fortunately the latter prevailed and I kept going and got back (and got my drinks)

The only thing I can put this down to is that despite feeling ok to run on the Friday and for the first 7 miles I was no way recovered from last weekend. I will chalk this up to experience for future runs my bit of advice for anyone reading this is, following an Ultra (or even a Marathon) you may be feeling great and ready to run after a week, but it may have taken more out of you than you realise so keep the mileage down, or run a route which is composed of shortish loops so if things start going south you can cut it short without having to suffer a painful return journey.

Today I went for a much more sedate 2 mile run, mainly to test out my new New Balance Minimus zero drop shoes. I will be writing a separate review of these once I have logged some more miles in them.


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