Paul’s Blog – Training for my 2022 ROFN Run

My ROFN Run training update as promised:-

When I last posted (20th April) I was formulating my final training schedule for the remaining three & a bit weeks leading to my third & ‘final’ attempt to run 100 Miles in under 24 Hours as part of this years ROFN Fund raising. This ‘plan’ aimed to increase the reasonable 50 miles of the previous week over the two subsequent weeks before a serious tapering of my runs in the final 11 days leading to the attempt itself.

I set myself an immediate crux over the next 3 days of a 30 miler on Thursday, a longish run on Friday, possibly a Park Run Saturday morning backed up the same afternoon with the Goldrush race albeit sacrificing any real pace within the race itself, so how did that bit go?

Well not bad really, Thursday I hung on for a hard 30.15 Miles with 4,700 feet of ascent, a loan run of nearly 6 hours took a bit of sticking at particularly having got back to the CyB centre (1.5 miles from home) 20 miles in only to turn the other way & head away from home rather than towards it, I stuck at it for a hard, lonely job done well. Next up saw Dorina & I head out late afternoon on the Friday with the aim of doing a complete recce of The Goldrush. We split up halfway through this to protect Dorina’s tiring legs as I carried on to complete the route on a lovely evening, felt strong clocking up a little over 10 miles, part two complete & feeling satisfied.

Saturday saw me kick off with the Dlogellau Park Run admittedly with a mindset a little less focused on full on pace. That said coming home in just over 21 minutes I was only 30 seconds or so down on my latest outing so not bad all things considered. I returned home for a couple of hours rest before I began to walk the 1.5 miles to the CyB centre for the start of The Goldrush race with one Banana in my hand & another one already in my stomach. Having registered I was pleasantly surprised if not a little scared to see our neighbour, Andrea, sat down & waving over to me, we exchanged some words & I walked away thinking ‘shit Paul your plan to jog it is out the window, you can’t get beaten by Andrea’. All due respect & all that, no insult intended Andrea!! This was not going to be a plan going to plan.

I set off with some degree of sense, not full throttle although in truth I probably didn’t have full throttle by this point in the week. Once I’d settled into this mode I began to enjoy myself as I wound myself around the wonderful 8.5 mile Goldrush route. As quite often happens I was in my race place after a couple of miles, this basically means you are running in a stretched out small group of similar paced runners & may only exchange an odd place up & down as you run to the finish. In particular there was a guy clearly a few years older than me (he would win the O.60’s category) who kept taking me on the downs before I’d real him in on the ups. He upset me a bit by cutting a corner on a down by the first bailey bridge thereby extending his lead by a few extra metres but I chose not to complain & used my energy instead to focus on the my ‘up’ opportunities in the second half of the race.

My second half went well, despite my suicidal schedule of the two & bit previous days the stamina they’d given me kicked in & I improved my finish placing by 4 places to come home in 15th place, a distant 2nd in the O.50’s. I had not exactly speeded up simply I didn’t slow down & that felt undeniably good. Not being competitive in the slightest I’d also beaten the O.60 guy by a couple of minutes & had not become the second fastest runner in my village, a genuine relief! Before I move on a great thank you to Matt Ward & all his team for getting us back racing in the CyB & a special thank you to Stephen Edwards on the Tannoy for giving me, the Cafe & Dorina’s Scones such a massive plug as I shuffled to the start line. I walked home rather than my normal jog, well sometimes even I can be sensible.

Sunday was a day of rest on the pots but a 58 mile week was further progress towards D Day.

The next week started well with me planning either 3 or 4 recce’s of my ROFN route on the Monday with each one being 10.45 miles long. Circumstances (renewing acquaintances with long standing Cafe regular, Roger) soon dictated that 3 or 4 would actually be just 3. This would still see me clocking up over 31 miles my second 30+ in 5 days but more importantly they were done at a pace I will hope to match on the day itself, basically slow running with most hills being fast walked. It was a pleasing exercise partly because mentally it began to prepare my mind for the mental battle that awaits it but even more so because of the consistency I achieved. First 10.45 Miles in 1:55:54, second one in 1:56:32, third one 1:55:54, the smile was soon taken off my race when I uploaded the third one onto my Garmin only for it to be rounded up to 1:55:55, only a runner may understand that frustration!

The week continued well, Tuesday 5 miles, Wednesday rest, Thursday 14 miles, Friday 7 miles, Saturday after a long day on the pots (Bank Holiday weekend) 4.3 miles before a late night with our Cafe’s Open MIC Night & not much sleep as a result. I was now up to 62 miles for the week & homing in on 70 but on Sunday the pots got me again & with a repeat almost certain for Bank Holiday Monday I sensibly (twice in one blog, this is progress) cancelled my planned run & replaced it with the core exercise of choice, lifting a glass of wine.

Since all this I have begun to seriously Taper with only 3 runs in the next 9 days & only planning one more run before Friday the 13th arrives.

I can summarise the way I’m feeling as simply scared & really not looking forward to what awaits me. Yes I have prepared better than 2 years ago (my most recent failure), yes I have a route with 10% less ascent, yes I have a route that is a bit less technical making a fall less likely (2 in the first 12 hours two years ago scuppered me then), yes I will avoid the pots on Friday (unlike 2 years ago) & yes I believe (like 2 years ago) I am going to have some great support runners doing one or multiple legs with me, but? 100/105 miles is an awful lot for a runner of my level & 24 Hours is a very long time for those inevitable battles of the mind that await me, I know what’s that is like, it is brutally hard for me to contemplate let alone endure. I’ll need those support runners & all those at the Cafe who make every return to it very special but the lonely despondent moments will inevitably do their best to derail my attempt, you’re helping me where you can to banish these demons will at least be a huge consolation, fail or succeed the memories will halp make it all very worthwhile trying.

I’m doing it for CAN & their work in remote areas of Nepal & yes in truth because I want to proof a point to myself, if you want to run/walk with me please do so you’ll be very welcome. Of course if you can donate or take part in any other aspects of our ROFN Day we will be delighted to see you.

Please visit our Events Page for full details of our ROFN Day 2022.

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