At the time of writing it is 19 days since I completed the Norfolk 100K Ultra Marathon. I am still learning about recovery, and I do not recover quite as swiftly as some seasoned ultra runners! The day after the ultra I was in the usual pain that a huge effort might bring, but as is always the case with me, it was day two when it really hit me: some toenails hurt (I am losing two more); I had chaffed areas; the soles of my feet hurt (especially that area before the toes); my left hip ached; my quads felt heavy, but most of all, I felt mentally washed-out. In the week following the event, I fell asleep twice after work. This never usually happens! I felt a lot better in time for the Great Wilbraham 10K Cake Run! This is a new and very low key race, which I went along to with Lauren, and she has already written about: take a look! Girlrunnninglate
Next up was the Wolsey Waddle 20 miler, laid on by the Norfolk and Suffolk LDWA. Ely Runner and Coach, Charlotte suggested this as training run for club members Emily and Jon, who have been training hard for the Stour Valley Path 50K, which Charlotte and me are also running this August. Overall, the route took me by surprise, it was picturesque and undulating, taking in the gorgeous waterfront in the middle of Ipswich; the banks of the Estuary/ River Orwell (and under the Bridge); through woodland along stunning tracks and through the middle of wheat and barley fields. All in all, a loop of just over 20 miles. Walkers set off before runners. Charlotte fancied her own headspace so went off ahead. Emily, Jon and I set off nice and steady, with me feeling very pleased that Jon’s watch showed us which way to go and Emily had a map (she was bloody good at navigation)!
One thing stood out for us during this superb run: the Estuary part along the River Orwell was stunning to look at, but gave off an unpleasant aroma. We are sure that nastiness from sheep-grazed fields and farmland higher up on the banks had seeped into the seaweed and shingle on the banks. It was not nice, and it made for a technical run at times! Needless to say, we did not smell pleasant for the rest of the run.
The run was well-marshalled but with little by way of signage. This didn’t matter; we could tell that Emily was simply in her element reading a map and getting us through the event. I suspect she was a little disappointed at finding no need for the compass she came equipped with. The early stages of the race took as through woodland, with some rural tracks alongside cereal crops: it was beautiful. Given the pending Stour Valley Path 50K, we employed some power-walking up slopes. Otherwise, we ran!
At one point we ended up in the Docks and Central part of Ipswich; we were getting some funny looks, and the hot dog and burger stands as well as the pubs and bars were a real challenge to run past. I will be honest, I was pleased to get back into the countryside.
The food/ drink stations were interesting: the volunteers were lovely, and we were treated to ‘cheesy feet’ (mini cheese scones shaped like feet); full-fat Coke (my thing when distance running); chocolate mini-eggs; crisps and more! One food station was set up in a huge greenhouse in a park, and this was an unusual affair in my view, or at least the refreshment were: tomato, cucumber and lettuce gluten-free white bread sarnies, plates of lettuce, crisps and hot orange drink (yes, hot). We got it down us, it was fine and we were hungry. I was starting to get slightly ‘hangry’ by this stage.
The final three or so miles were tough as it got a little more hilly, we were exposed to the sun, often running though the middle of crop fields.
Nearer the end of the race we had a message from Charlotte expressing her dissatisfaction at having to run along the shores of the Estuary, and offering us an interesting name for a member of the public, who gave her poor directions (this resulted in Charlotte running an extra four miles)! I would love to quote the message, but this is a family-friendly blog.
When we finally entered the hall at the end of the event, we were chuffed to bits to discover hot food, included in the cheap price of the event! I am sure I broke the world record for the most speedily-demolished beans on toast and apple crumble with custard! Fantastic!
This was a really enjoyable event, so much so that we agreed we must do it again in 2020, and the fact that there was no medal didn’t bother us so much in the end!
Jon and Emily were such great company, and we made a superb team: Charlotte is a comedy genius.
No-one stole any potatoes and put them in their ultra vest.
I will blog again after the Stour Valley Path 50K. Until then I will just say, I still have stuff to learn around recovery and nutrition post-ultras. I have not hit other runs hard since the ultra, but I can still feel what the Norfolk 100K did to my body. I hope the energy levels increase soon and the aches go away!