Keep on truckin’

2 weeks ago I ran 31 miles. I was tired, I got lost, I was a man a mission. Then things went a little “off plan”….

After my 31 miler I had to travel to Sunderland for work. Although the flight was less than an hour the lack of leg room onboard for a man of my stature (6’4”) was far from ideal as I recovered for the run. After a well deserved evening meal – or “refuelling” as it’s known in running circles – my legs still ached. A lot. I thought nothing of this as muscle aches have been part of the #projectultra experience. I’m used to “good aches” and it followed that pattern.

The next day my legs felt very heavy. Almost as if they were screaming at me for putting them through the 31 miles. At this point I found myself wondering how I’d feel after a further 19 miles, but thankfully not for long.

On the Tuesday I was scheduled to run 12 miles but was feeling very tired, probably a combination of lack of sleep (as I rarely sleep well away from home), being mentally drained from the challenging but rewarding research I’m doing for work and the after effects of the weekend’s long run. Up to this point in my training I had missed or cut short very few runs and prided myself in sticking to the plan. Yet I decided to do 6 miles rather than the planned 12 that morning. It turns out that decision might have saved me from a long lay off…

It felt good to get out again but after the run something didn’t quite feel right. The quadriceps (I had to look that up as I am useless with biology) on the outside of my right leg were feeling tight. Rather than risk aggravating this I rested for the next few days and didn’t run again until the weekend. The little matter of a 25 mile hilly trail run awaited and I was nervous but came though it okay.

Since then I’ve adjusted the training plan and have reduced my mileage so as not to overload my body and reduce the risk of a niggle becoming an injury. I expressed my concern and frustration with the interruption to my training on Twitter and, as ever, the fabulous running community came forward with words of wisdom, support and encouragement:

Me (@GrahamCarterGC): Frustrating… after last week’s reduced #projectultra training miles due to niggle in right leg I’m being sensible … fewer miles again

Me: I wish my training had progressed as well last week as it had up until then but not risking #projectultra by trying to make up for it now

Me: I have faith that I’ve enough miles in the bank – or my legs – to get me to the #projectultra finish line, as long as I maintain fitness

@UltraBevo: @GrahamCarterGC you’ve already got a lot of miles in your legs and not long until #ndw50. You’re doing the right thing.

@DanPark81: @GrahamCarterGC good attitude and undoubtedly true. Hopefully I’ll be feeling the same in 6 weeks time

@theMonkeySmokes: @GrahamCarterGC If you’re able to stay mobile, it won’t hurt. Think it’s less about what you haven’t done & more about what you can do.

@ultraplodder: @GrahamCarterGC when I did the NDW50 last yeat I hadn’t done half the miles you have. You are ready for it 🙂

@c3044700: @GrahamCarterGC it’s your mind. nothing to do with legs mate

@mjgreenfield1: @GrahamCarterGC I would concur with that, a lot is mental strength 🙂

@JediRider: @GrahamCarterGC You have enough miles in your legs mate, I’m running TN100 same day as you are running NDW50 so I’m slowing it down now.

Yesterday I ran 26 miles along the North Downs Way 50 race route on a recce run with @bryanwe @cmmercer @rattyrunner and @paulgiblet and my leg felt fine. Today I managed my first back to back weekend runs for over a month with a fun 6.5 mile trail run with @phil657 and my leg felt okay. Tonight I have a dull ache in that leg but the foam roller treatment has helped, as always. My toenails are another matter entirely though!

My plan is to maintain fitness during the next 20 days in the lead up to NDW50, with the tapering phase of training starts tomorrow. I’m going to take it easy and stretch, foam roll and rest well. I’m doing what I can do get to race day fit and ready.

Mentally I’m ready to go. I know that running 50 miles will be a challenge but that’s why I signed up in the first place. I believe I will do it. I can’t wait. I will, as @girlyrunner1 says:

Keep On Truckin’

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