Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Joining The Ultra Club
by Russell Turner - 21:42 on 17 March 2023
Day One as an ultra runner: hills, puddles, mud, wet grass and my first fall. I guess I’ve joined the club.
The first four weeks of the Race to the Stones training plan was overlapped by the lead up to the Inverness Half Marathon, so Week 5 (of 20) began today with a 10k outing, which I used as another attempt to find the elusive loop which links Udale and Poyntzfield.
The run began well enough with an easy trot to Jemimaville, from where I turned up the hill to Udale and did my first ultra walk. It was quite steep. A bit more run/walking took me to the top of the hill and on to the flat, past Udale Farm where the tarmac road dwindled into a farm track which further dwindled into a very narrow but distinct track beside the fields.
The track dwindled even further, only the occasional footprint proving it was used by more than sheep or wildlife, but it followed the direction I expected so I pressed on despite the rutted and damp terrain. Running was too risky so walking prevailed.
My tumble happened at a very new-looking farm gate with an awkwardly stiff spring in its handle which refused to budge then did so unexpectedly. The gate swung open, throwing me off balance and on to my back, which hurt. My neck was wrenched too, which also hurt. At least there was no mud, just damp but unyielding grass.
After some cathartic swearing I shut the gate and tottered down the track and resumed running when it emerged on to the tarmac road at Poyntzfield. Whether finding the loop was worth the indignity I’m still undecided.
From there, there were no further dramas. A good downhill ended at the main road which led up the runnable hill past The Rural Retreat, along another flat section, then back with a slight sprint for the final downhill half-kilometre. I’d even achieved the 100m of elevation gain which the plan says should accompany every 10k. And the rain held off.
A few hours later, both neck and back are still sore, most likely from pulled muscle than impact. Hopefully I’ll recover overnight because the plan has another 10k tomorrow, for which I’ll stick to decent roads. I’m not a masochist. There’s also a gig in the evening, then two days to recover before the week’s long run: 15k on Tuesday. What fun.
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