Running 38 Miles

I have been quiet for a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I have been lazy. Well, sometimes I have. But not always! With both Race to the King and Ring of Steall Skyrace cancelled this year, my training motivation had really taken a hit. I didn’t see much of a point in getting those hill reps and speed work in anymore.

Hence, I needed to come up with a plan. And I did: I decided to try and run a new personal distance record! It may have been on a whim that I decided to do that, after all it was Wednesday evening four weeks ago and I set the date for the Sunday of the same week. No tapering, no specific preparation. Just go out and keep running. I took the day before to prepare a humungus amount of food and snacks. Having run 50k last year, I set my sights to complete 60k on my attempt.

Heading Off

It was really foggy as I set off from my cottage along Kenly Water to the coast.

Early on Sunday morning, I set off on the Fife Coastal Path in a wall of fog and chilly 11°C. The grass along the narrow path and in the dunes was wet and soaked my shoes and socks quickly. Nevertheless, being out all by myself with the North sea to my left was a refreshing feeling.

At the time, the lockdown was still quite strict in Scotland, only allowing people to travel in a rough 5 mile radius for exercise. So apart from a few golfers, I didn’t meet many people until Crail. It was a pieceful run. Once I got to Crail though, I ran into many more people. There is a village every few miles at the coast after Crail, so naturally a lot more people took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful coast of Fife. As time passed, the fog lifted a little, but not too much.

Running through Crail, Anstruther and Pittenweem was a nice change in scenery. Those lovely coastal villages are very picturesque, making for some great views. After reaching St. Monans, I decided to turn back. Upon reaching my cottage, I took a break to refuel and fill up my water, before heading back out. At that point, I had already done 52k (32 miles). I was going to try and continue for as long as I could.

Calling it Quits

Between Crail and Anstruther, the Caiplie Coves provided some eye-catching scenery.

Unfortunately, the fog got denser again and rain set in, making for a less than pleasant experience. I felt my motivation sink and my mood dampen along with my jacket, so I decided to call it a day. There was no point in ruining my joy in running in this self-made challenge. My legs were heavy anyway and I was shuffling along more than I was running. I turned back and hit just over 61k (38 miles) when I touched the door of my cottage. Happy with that, I went in, took off my wet clothes and headed for a warm shower, before snuggling up on the sofa with a tea.

Conclusions

Looking back, I have definitely identified a few things to work on. While my cardio is fine, my legs are in need of some more strengthening. And I need to dial in my refuelling on the run. I did snack on jelly babies, nuts and banana bread throughout the run, however I probably should have taken in more. In my break after 52k I had a smoothie and some pasta salad, but this was definitely too late in the run. I probably have to make more of a conscious effort to take in calories every 30min or so, since I am one of those people who never feel hungry while being active. On the bright side, I had zero stomach issues.

Pittenweem was one of the picturesque villages I passed on my run.

In general, I am glad I did this challenge. It gave purpose to all the training I had done and made me feel good about myself. I have identified some areas to improve for the Montane Cheviot Goat Ultra Marathon in December (assuming it goes ahead). I shouldn’t repeat this too often though, since my legs were super tired for a week and still quite slow for another week. Now, I am feeling fitter and running fasten than before. And my motivation to train has come back, knowing it’s not pointless. There might be no race in the near future, but I have planned several days out in the highlands. And since the weekend, I am finally allowed to drive there!

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