Someone asked me the other day what I thought about when I was running long miles. How did I not get bored? Well, the answer is quite simply ‘everything’ and depending on how well the run is going depends on the type of thoughts I have. Here’s a typical long, long run (based on 50 miles)

Running an Ultra – Miles 1-10 – Loving Life

Mile 1 – That’s one mile done ✅ only another 49 to go – I’ve got this 

Mile 2 – Should I start eating now or wait a while? 

Mile 3 – I should probably eat something now and get the carbs in early. (Eats walking uphill) 

Mile 4 – That sunrise over the trig is the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. However tough it gets today, that will stay with me forever. Hang on, I need to take a photo.

Mile 5 – Wow. We’ve already done 10% – feeling good. We’ll eat at the next hill…

Mile 10 – Still feeling good. Let’s hope this continues. Definitely should eat again. What shall we have next? 

Half Marathon to Full Marathon – Feeling Epic

13.1 miles – Half marathon. Boom 💥- We’ve so got this. My legs are feeling good. Stomachs good. Pacing on schedule for a sub 12 hour 50 here.

Mile 20 – Wish I’d stopped for a poo at that last stop. Oh well. It will keep.

Mile 22 – Still feeling good. Will eat some more now. 

Mile 25 – Halfway – We are so epic – I feel good. Running an ultra isn’t that bad. We can do this – the weather’s not too hot. Might have a snack. What about a cold coke? Hmmm… keep drinking, keep snacking. 

26.2 miles – Marathon – BOOM – remember when I couldn’t do a marathon. When that felt like forever? We are still on for a sub-12. I knew we could do it. 

The Second Half – It’s Not So Bad Yet

Mile 30 – This was my first ultra distance – We’ve so got this. Less than halfway to go. 20 miles is all that’s left… 4 x 5 milers. No problem. Nothing’s hurting. 

Mile 32 – I don’t remember that hill being that long. Seriously?

Mile 35 – Next aid station – Should I change my shoes? What about my socks. Maybe I need another snack. I don’t really want to eat. I will stop for a (***) at the next checkpoint. 

Yeah, I’m Not Sure I Like This Anymore

Mile 38 – God this downhill hurts. How does it hurt so much going down? It doesn’t hurt this much going up. Owwweeee – get me down off this bloody hill.

Mile 39 – A friendly face – just what I needed. Only 11 miles to go. We’ve got this right? Stomachs not good (dashes to nearest pub toilet). Off we go. Almost over (just the small matter of 11 miles to go).

The Last 10 – Am I Dead Yet?

Mile 41 – Yes – single figures to go. We’re nearly there, right? our pace has slowed a bit though. Reckon we can just about make that sub 12.

Mile 42 – Crook Peak – definitely walking this. Really can’t face eating. Must keep drinking. Don’t need a wee anymore. Am I dehydrated? Oh god we’ve climbed up – now we’ve got to go down. Owwwwww. Do we have any more descents coming? Oh god we do.

Kill Me Now!

Mile 44 – Training buddy starts puking – I need the toilet – stomach cramps so bad. (Finds nearest bush!) God help us. We’re nearly there. We’ve got this even if we have to walk. Maybe that sub 12 will be a 12.30 now? I don’t even care anymore. 

Mile 46 – Another friendly face that points out we don’t look too good. Yeah, we got that! Ok – nearly there. Back up the hill. We’ve done it so many times in training. We can do it… slowly.

Mile 47 – My legs feel OK on the flat, this ten-minute pace feels OK. This is over in half an hour. It’s done – we can crawl and still finish. We don’t have head torches – crap! We are definitely not going to make 12 hours 30. Oh well, sub 13 is still good. 

Mile 48 – Come on – stop puking and keep it together (these were my thoughts towards my poor training partner who was really suffering at this point) – we can’t be out in the dark. I said we wouldn’t need head torches.  

Mile 49 – It’s downhill to the finish now – crap! No more climbing though. One foot in front of the other. Owwww. It’s fine. We’ve got this. 

Final Stretch of My First 50 Mile Ultra

Mile 50 – Why aren’t we there yet and why are we still going downhill? How much further is it?

Mile 50.5 – Never doing that again. I want pizza. No, I want to be sick. God, I need the toilet. If I stop will I ever walk again? What if I can’t get up? 

Next day… That was awesome, what are we doing next? 

Oh, and our actual time was 13:06:03 with 7,000 feet of elevation! Mile 50 took us 25 minutes and it was all downhill!

You Can’t Beat a Good Sunrise

Remember that sunrise at mile 4 – the memory didn’t leave me. It still makes me smile. It is still the highlight of that race. It’s the screensaver for my iPad and a reminder of the great parts of that run! Oh, and I really want to do this race for real when Covid is finally over. 

running an ultra