Tag Archives: veganrunner

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 😀 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. 5 of the previous were ran alone and 2 others with friends. So it’s great that I have popped my ultra marathon cherry 😉

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 😀

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How to Keep Running When You’re All Puffed Out.

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The door closes behind you and off you go on your run. All being well you start out nice and slowly and build momentum… or like most people you go out too quickly and pay for it a few miles down the road. Regardless either if you are doing a training run at home, on the Dreadmill or you are in a race, from time to time we all get a little puffed out. In this blog I’m going to talk about ways in which we can deal with being puffed out and keep running, rather than the dreaded alternative mid training…. walking!

Being puffed out is normal for us runners. Some people get it at mile 1, some at mile 2, some at mile 20 and others beyond 30 miles. Regardless it happens to the best of us. It’s that feeling when your breathing just doesn’t feel right all of a sudden. You may or may not have even been going too fast for this to happen. Sometimes it can not be explained. It’s a complete mystery. All we know is that, unless we are speed training, we would like to get back in that zone!

There are many symptoms of being puffed out on a ran and some may include:

  • heightened heart rate
  • added perceived effort even at your normal pace
  • wide open mouth breathing
  • wide open eyes
  • slouching over
  • tense shoulders
  • complete lack of focus
  • feeling as though you can’t carry on and must walk
  • wishing you had never took up running

There are a few things you can do to help with this situation. You do not need to walk 9/10 times. In fact I would suggest not walking unless absolutely necessary. Reducing to a walk can kick your self esteem and confidence and make you feel as though you are not good enough. This simply is not the case. Next time you are on a run and you are feeling all puffed out, just try and reduce your pace a little. Even if you are going at your normal pace and you are usually fine. I often find that I can be running my normal pace and I get really puffed out. I hardly ever walk. I reduce my pace so it’s very easy to run, my breath re regulates itself and I then find I can push my pace back up to normal without any of the above symptoms any more.

Another method you can use to help when you feel puffed out is to alter your focus onto something more productive. This method I am going to share with you has helped me on many occasions. Including recently on my 4:05:03 marathon. I also used this method when I fast-packed (ran and walked) 90 miles in 50 hours including sleep time. On day two my feet were so sore. I had hardly ran much and at about mile 20 I was forcing myself forward with each step lugging my 10kg bag and sulking. At mile 30 when I wasn’t sure I could go much further I came to a hill from the top. I saw a man running up that hill. He didn’t see me at first and in an instant I swore I wouldn’t allow him to see me in my Vegan Runners Club technical T-shirt walking down a hill he was running up! Regardless of whether he had maybe only done 3 or 4 miles and I’d done 30! I started counting, I used this method I’m going to share with you and it allowed me to run an entire 10 miles more non stop. So in total I covered 40 miles that day. Here is what you need to do.

Every time your right foot hits the ground count 1,2,3,4 right up to 20. Once you hit 20 start right over again. Just keep doing this over and over and over. What you are doing here is changing your focus from how hard you are finding this part of your run onto the counting. When you do this you may find that your form and posture gets better, your breathing regulates itself again, you never needed to stop and you may even be going faster than before.

Now sometimes our focus is so far gone we can’t even work on 1-20…. that’s fine. All you need to do is focus on counting each right step 1,2,3,4 and then again 1,2,3,4 over and over and over. Once your focus strengthens you can extend this to a count of 1,2,3,4 up to 10 and then up to 20.

This can also work when you have given up hope and stopped as well. Now let’s say you are on a long run or in a race. How many of us have just stopped dead in our tracks and felt like they can’t go on any more? Usually when we are miles away from anyway of getting home right? Running right away is not an option as we are struggling to barely even consider walking! But we can maybe walk a few steps can’t we? Use this same practice. Gently walk and count your steps. Because your cadence is much slower in walking you can count on each left and right step. I would recommend starting with a count of 1-10 and if you find that easy after a few times repeating go on up to 1-20. Keep going until you feel comfortable enough to just very slowly start running again. You don’t even need to go your normal pace. Just barely even running. You’ll still make a better time than walking and build endurance. Often is the case shortly after that you’ll speed up again and bag a good few more miles with ease…. how did we do this? A few moments ago we never even thought we would make it home!

It’s just simply refocussing your attention to the steps instead of how tired you are, and it really does work!

Sometimes when you do this your mind will drift off to other things and you may become tired again. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Just simply gently remind yourself to bring your attention back again to the counting. It’s the minds nature to wander off, but in practising this and refocussing you will become better at it.

I hope you get a chance to practice this in your training. I can’t describe how much it has helped me and I really hope it will help you too.

Happy running everyone
Peace and Love
-ScottyRunner