Tag Archives: JW Ultra

JW Ultra – 30 Miles – Stratford Upon Avon to Birmingham

Firstly I want to say thanks to the directors and others who helped to run this event! Special thanks go to Sharon who helps out at the event. Who went out of her way to start making vegan goody bags for those who wanted to take part who are vegan. There’s not many goody bags you’ll ever get with vegan organic flapjacks and organic chocolates. This was such a nice thing to do and that will stick with me for life. Also special thanks go to the Sea Cadet Centre in Kings Norton. They were all dressed in uniforms the adults and children and at the start line 30 miles away, on all check points and the finish line. They were so friendly and helpful to everyone. The kids couldn’t’ do enough to make sure you had what you needed. At the end it was funny to hear them saying “oh yes Scott needs a special goody bag!” haha πŸ˜€ I highly recommend ANYONE taking part in this event! If you can’t (don’t want to) run 30 miles then take part in the group relay teams where you can 10 miles each.

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I had run this distance and a little more 7 times up until this day. I considered myself an ultra runner, but not an ultra marathoner. I read something somewhere that states to be an ultra marathoner you have to have had actually run an event… not just run on your own.Β 5 of the previous were ran alone and 2 others with friends. So it’s great that I have popped my ultra marathon cherry πŸ˜‰

It was a pretty epic day all round to be honest. The event was on Saturday 12th September 2015. I got up early and meditated to get myself focussed for the day. I got my bags together and headed for the bus stop. When I checked the timetable I realised I’d be safer with a taxi. So I called a taxi to collect me from the bus stop. This was an ace decision… when he turned up he saw my Vegan Store linen bag that had my check point drinks in it. He commented on it, and I though he was going to be a vegan hater. He asked where I was going and I said Cadet Centre as there’s a race today. He said “vegan and a runner? That’s pretty awesome. Well done”. Out of curiosity I asked if he was vegan and he said yes, and then went on to talk about how great Scott Jurek is and his recent achievement running over 2,000 miles. Then we discussed the contents of his book and his personality. All round I felt like I was in a dream lol.

When I arrived at the cadet centre there was free tea and coffee while we all waited for the hired coach to take us to the start line in Stratford Upon Avon… we would run 30 miles back here!

The raining had stopped by the time we arrived and it was looking promising to be a nice sunny day. Everyone put their bags in and check point drinks went into 2 different boxes for each checkpoint. We all then headed to the start line for briefing at 9:45.

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Photograph by Rob Hume. Thank you Very much.

Time was called at exactly 10 and off we went. It’s tricky enough to find your pace as it is on race day, but it was even more so today… there were a lot of relay teams and they were running 10 miles for each leg… so naturally a lot of them will be going faster than us doing the whole length. I kept an eye on my Garmin watch and made sure I didn’t go over 85-88% Max HR. I pretty much kept heart rate intensity for the entire race. Naturally I slowed down for the same HR after a while.

About 40 mins in it started absolutely throwing it down. Luckily this only lasted for about 10 minutes and then it cleared up and we had a really nice day all day… not too hot and not too cold. Plenty of sun, but enough shelter from over hanging trees alongside the canal towpaths.

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Some people can’t stand the canals for running. They get bored of the flatness or the winding narrow body of water stretching for miles. I like the canals… it helps me to zone out and get on with it. The first half was a slight incline due to there being so many locks, but it wasn’t anything too difficult.The second half was flat as a pancake apart from a climb about 2 miles from the end as you need to come up to the road and get back on the canal 2 streets across.

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I briskly walked up the steeper locks and ran the rest. From about mile 18 I turned off my music, and I started counting every time my right foot hit the ground. I did this from 1-20 and I just kept doing that all the way to the end! There were a few breaks in between were I chatted with a few of the other runners out there. I just kept checking my time every once in a while so I could have some dates and liquids every half an hour from my waist belt.

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Photograph by Rob Hume. Thank you Very much.

The last mile and half is a section of another canal that I run several times a week so I starting picking up the pace knowing I was right near the end then. I came over the finish line with a finishing time of 5 hours and 5 minutes. This is 40 minutes off my previous personal record for this distance. I claimed my VEGAN Goody RUCKSACK, ate some tangerines and waited for my friends to finish.

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There we have it. End of my first ever successful season. I have been running a few years now but have been held back by injuries every season before. I’m starting to learn my body, what works and what doesn’t. I’m getting stronger. I have done 5 races this season and got 5 personal bests. Now I’m taking 2 ish weeks recovery and then I’ll be starting a new season as I prepare myself for the beast that is Enigma’s Week at the Knees – 1 week of marathons every day πŸ˜€

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30 Miles and 33oC. Birmingham-Stratford Upon Avon

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Yesterday (1st July 2015) was the hottest July day on record in the UK at 36oC. I certainly could tell when we were out there running 30 miles!

On the last day of June my friend Steve said he was going to go for a long run along the canal towpaths from Birmingham to Stratford Upon Avon. That day I was supposed to be running 5.5 miles on my usual circular route.
I asked if he would mind if I came along and he said I was welcome. Due to the distance I mentioned that I’d likely do 8 or 9 miles then run back to make 16-18 miles I didn’t think 30 miles was a good idea 3 days before a half marathon race!… in the end though I did the whole thing.

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We had arranged to meet at 9:05am by the Wast Hills Tunnel Entrance to the Towpath on the side that heads towards Birmingham City Centre. This was so I could set off at 9am. I did set off at 9am and I don’t know how I underestimated the distance as it took me longer than I thought. I was late and my first mile was done at a 7:45 minute mile pace lol. I certainly wouldn’t be carrying on at that pace for the next 29 miles!

Our plan was to go at about a 11 minute mile average and for the first 15 miles we where at a 10:20 minute mile average.
Obviously at this point I’d decided I was going to run the whole way. We stopped at about mile 13 in Hockley Heath and topped up with liquids. I remember wanting a Lucozade Sport Orange but noticed B6 in it and wasn’t sure if it was Vegan. It was only later asking my husband to check for me online I found out it was. At the time I just opted for old style Lucozade instead. I haven’t had that for years and when I sipped some outside I remember why. That stuff is nasty. I drank just about enough to stomach and get a sugar rush and threw the rest. VOM

After mile 15 we started to slow it down a bit and just enjoy the scenery and winding trail along side the canal. Occasionally passing over the odd bridge. We were lucky as much of the path is over run with trees which kept us a little cooler than being right out open in the sun. The sun was still sweltering though. We found it easier when running than walking. When running there was a bit of a breeze to cool us off lol. I checked the temperature on my phone which said it was 33oC.

As runners we all know what it’s like when you go out on a long run and can’t wait for the journey ahead. Then something, somewhere goes wrong! It’s always something that you would not have thought would go wrong. Sure the heat may slow us down, or my legs may be really heavy from lots of training lately, perhaps I wont fuel correctly and hit a wall or 2. Those weren’t the case. Annoyingly for Steve his knee copped out about half way. I was just as surprised as he was. This is the first time I have known Steve to get a problem like this on a run. I know he’s been contemplating what the reason behind it was since then. I wont go into too much more detail on that, as I’m sure he will be wanting to write about it in his own blog and not read it all on mine haha.

Amazingly though although he was limping from time to time, Steve continued to move forward the entire rest of the distance. He ran and he walked but he didn’t stop.

Around mile 18 we stopped at this little place in Wooten Wawden. They had craft, clothing and farm shops. We went to the farm shop to get more liquids and I also bought some crisps and 2 satsumas and on we went.

As the miles became less and less we were running a bit longer each time and finished the distance off on a run.
As we arrive Stratford Upon Avon we went to get some cash and then Holland and Barrett. I let myself down by getting 3 Veg Out Steakless Bakes and a Veg Out SOS sausage roll. As many of you know I’m trying to be raw vegan high carb low fat. My mind crave them after this run because that’s what I used to do after running 30 milers…. eat crap.

It wasn’t long before I realised my body was actually craving fruit. We took the bus most of the way back and stopped by Sainsbury’s. Steve’s partner met us there, and we all topped up with fruit and a big bag of ice cubes each. She wasΒ even kind enough to drive me home so that was very nice of her. It can’t be easy sitting in a car with 2 stinking guys who just ran 30 miles in that heat. Thank you πŸ™‚

Well done Steve. I have done this distance a few times now and it’s taken me 6 or 7 to be “comfortable” with doing it. This I think was your second time running this kind of distance. Though limping a bit at the end you came through looking much better than I did on those first times!

The time in the end was 6 hours 50 minutes. I know without a shadow of a doubt that we could thrash that next time. This route we did is actually the same route as the JW 30 Mile Ultra which we are both doing in September. We did it back to front though. That time is going to be demolished on race day. We have discussed attempting it again before then too.

When I got home I filled the bath right away with cold water and sank myself into it waste deep, then poured in the ice cubes. REALLY cold but it felt really good and I knew that it would make me feel better the next day. After my bath I put the shower on cold. This felt warm in comparison to the leg bath so I could wash myself clean, but not rewarm my legs again.
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The rest of the day was spent lounging about and eating a nice big bowl filled with 1kg of cherries πŸ˜€
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To my surprise when I woke the next day I felt fantastic. It felt like I never even ran the day before and I’m soooo ready for my half marathon in 2 days time now.

I seriously believe that my high carb low fat raw vegan diet is helping with recovery. Also I think my HOKA trail sneakers are helping a great deal. I have the roadies version and they have helped keep ongoing injuries at bay and even given them a chance to recede. All other sneaks I have owned I have had an injury in some form or another every few weeks to months, which have kept me off running.

So on and up… half marathon on Saturday 4th July πŸ™‚ That will be a doddle in comparison πŸ˜‰
Peace and Love
-ScottyRunner