Racing to the stones – Avebury that is, not to some gig
Ok, its an ultra of sorts, an ultra with options. I had been
looking at this event for some time, picking it up and putting it down like
some kind of ornament I had no use for. I had my reasons for dithering, these
were significant, so when Colin, whilst walking his dog said he didn’t know
what sock to wear for this event he signed up to, I decided.
It wasn’t about the socks, or even Colin. It was about
getting back on the event waggon.
After running my first and very enjoyable marathon in
October; I hadn’t been my usual active self. Maybe I needed to recover longer
than I did. Possibly, it is said you need to have more of a break than you
think, but not stop completely. Well, I didn’t quite do that.
I had a few medical issues and health scare which slowed me
down, likely at the point I should have picked up. I fully understand what it
is like to wait for a diagnosis, mulling over uncertainty and possibilities. In
the end I decided to keep busy, I called the problem ‘Jeff’, as anything would
be an assumption which could embody misdirected fears; I went on holiday and
did a few nice things I wanted to do. Jeff is still with me as a passenger and
is not too disruptive, although a concern. I wont bore people with the detail,
but learning you have a benign tumour in your lung doesn’t relieve you, or
excite you. Just exhale (metaphorically, because actually it effects breathing)
that ‘it could be worse’.
So. I’m doing this event and others to push against Jeff.
Unwanted passenger who seems harmless who might get me in the future. I should
currently be struggling to breathe going up stairs, but I’m not. Why – because
I have been active most of my life, and I’m little. Fortunate still.
Enough about me and why.
The event – a well organised machine, very accessible to all
abilities. Weather for some was good, a little on the warm side for me. We had more snacks available than was
sensible, drink possibilities that were endless, and; So. Many. Stops.
Colin valiantly declared he would follow me as he had not
done something like this before (I don’t remember being a) an expert, b) er, likewise?).
Never mind. I hope he understands how I operate…
An hour into the event walk/ jogging to get out the way of
people and chatting – I realised that it would have been better to do the whole
thing in one go, especially as I was talking to walkers who were saying my pace
was good walking speed and they were going to go through the night. Haha.
Lesson no 6. This is a different race to other events, and
it will be down to technique as well as endurance and speed.
Lesson no 7. No matter how bright your t-shirt is, some t*@*
will step on you.
Lesson no 8. The food at the stations is free to help
yourself, but don’t eat 4 times as much, or you’ll look like that person who is
shamelessly building another camel hump.
Lesson no 9. This might be a trail path, but the sun has
packed it hard like concrete, trail shoes not needed (ouch!)
Lesson no 10. Feet swell, they keep swelling and want to
escape the shoe.
Lesson no 10b. running uphill is better for you and was
easier (tiny hills)
Lesson no 11. Ibrobufen gel is a mistake. My hand was numb
from applying it, but it didn’t help with issue I had, haha.
Lesson no 12. This is a tough event, but you need to suit
yourself; being polite to someone will fail for the 5th time they
want a nice cup of tea and a sit down, and you are in agony.
Lesson 13. You have to physically do this event, but unless
you tell yourself you can, you won’t. Psychology against yourself is a mean
Lesson 14. It was a great event, well organised, beautiful timing, beautiful route; I have another chapter in my physical achievements.
Lesson 15. How can anyone wear flipflops after an event like
Thanks to Colin for the company, the lift and the
distraction. I hope you understand that you are a better athlete than you
think, because you are competitive, although stamina is your enemy.
Lesson 16. Do it once, you can then decide to regret it, or
realise what you really can do.