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30 mile run: close to quitting

I got up at 4:30am yesterday morning to fit in my first ‘proper’ training run for my ultra marathon adventure.

As I hauled myself out of my bed I really didn’t want to go.

Having stupidly hammered out a load of squats in the gym on Thursday after a 2 week break my legs were still wobbling around underneath me.  Not good.

The prospect of running 30 miles didn’t sound too appealing.

I was reminded just how important it is to have complete clarity on the reason for taking on any physical challenge.

If you’re in any doubt just ask yourself what’s more important:

Doing the thing, or being able to tell others that you’ve done the thing.

finishedWhilst ‘bragging rights’ can make you feel good, on their own they’re not going to be enough to get you out of a nice warm bed at ridiculous o’ clock the morning and put in the hard yards.

Far from filling me with confidence, yesterday’s 30 miler has raised more questions than it has answered.

To be honest there were several points yesterday when I was seriously trying to figure out a way to bail out of the whole thing.

I was struggling big time towards the end and could barely walk all of yesterday afternoon.

The thought of doing all that AND THEN running for another 18 hours is terrifying.

This week I’ll be going back to the drawing board to rethink my entire training and race day strategy for the 24 hour run.

I learned a lot yesterday, and I’m sure there are plenty more lessons to come before June.

Perhaps it’s only when you get close to the point of quitting that you know you’re challenging yourself big enough.

Here are a few of my thoughts as I approached the end of the run:

I spoke to a couple of my friends and mentors, experienced ultra runners Warren Pole & Gerry Duffy, after the run and received some sage advice.

Both agreed that the experience I had was exactly as it should have been, and my body will have benefitted greatly from it.

Gerry helped me refine my plans for my next (and final) 2 long runs, and Warren helped me completely change my approach to the race itself.

I’ll write more about these points in a later blog, but the important take away is that you need to surround yourself with the kind of people who can support you.  Whether that’s a coach or a fellow runner who has already achieved what you want to do, having people in your life who understand your goals and challenges can make the world of difference.