The Day I Did 50K
It has taken me a couple of days to get around to posting about this weekend’s walk/run adventure, and with good reason. I’m exhausted!
I knew before I set out on Sunday morning that this was going to be a tough one. I was still pretty tired from last Monday’s long walk and the weather forecast wasn’t looking too good, so I decided that I would break it down into four shorter walks and come home for some rest breaks in between.
Last Monday’s walk had been pretty tough on the old feet so I’d bought some pads to put on the balls of my feet in the hope that they might relieve the pressure a little bit. I also figured that if I reduced the time I spent on my feet by introducing some short running segments into the walk, that might help too.
So, at 8:12 am I headed out for the first leg of my adventure.
1st Leg: 11.85 Kilometres
It took a while for my Garmin to find a satellite at first, so I’d walked about half a kilometre before it started tracking, but that didn’t bother me too much. What did bother me though, was that I’d forgotten to charge it up again after my last walk so I wasn’t sure if it would last the distance. Still, with 50K to get through, I wasn’t about to postpone my start by going back to charge it up again, so I decided to just get on with it.
It usually takes me just under two hours to walk 10K, so I decided to see how much time I could save by running parts of the route. The plan for the first leg was to walk for four minutes and run for one. This worked quite well and I realised that, much as I enjoy being able to cover more distance by walking, I find running much more fun!
Round about the half way point, however, the heavens opened. I hadn’t taken my waterproof jacket as the sky had looked quite clear when I left and I’d hoped that meant it would stay dry for the morning. Clearly I had been wrong on that one.
Still, it didn’t put me off too much. I just put my hood up and kept going, pausing occasionally to wipe the rain from my glasses so that I could see the path in front of me.
In fact, to be honest, I kind of enjoyed running in the rain. The second half of the route included a downhill section along a short wooded trail that runs behind some houses. Although it became pretty muddy pretty quickly, it was a lot of fun splashing through the mud and skipping over puddles and the small stream of water that ran down the middle of it.
By the time I got home, I was pretty much drenched. According to my Garmin, I had covered 11.85 kilometres in 1:47. True, I had run a bit more than intended once it started raining, but I still felt like I had enough to complete the 50K, once I’d dried off of course!
2nd Leg: 12.31 Kilometres
I took quite a lengthy break after the first leg, partly to dry off and get changed, but mostly to recharge my Garmin. By 11:12 am, the sun was out, but I wasn’t going to be fooled this time and remembered to take my waterproof jacket with me.
This second leg went pretty much the same way as the first. I walked for four, ran for one, followed the same route and, when I got to half way, the heavens opened again. This time, my waterproof jacket kept me much dryer although by the time I got home I discovered that it wasn’t quite as waterproof as I had originally thought!
Still, I had managed to complete the section in 1:55, so I was feeling pretty good and ready to take on the second half of the distance.
3rd Leg: 15.84 Kilometres
Again, I took a fairly lengthy break, this time to have some lunch as well as to dry off and get changed, and headed out again at 2:12 pm.
I was feeling really good after a decent meal so decided that I would try to make this section a bit longer than the previous two. I followed the same route as before, but this time when I reached the half way point, I decided to do three loops of the field instead of just one.
Again, it rained, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I was getting closer to my 50K target and knew that the more I did in this section, the easier it would be to complete the final one.
By this point, I wasn’t really sticking to my walk four minutes, run one minute strategy, but instead would walk on the uphill sections and run on the downhill. This seemed to be working quite well until I reached the little trail behind the houses.
All the rain had made the trail very muddy and slippery and, even though I was trying to be careful, at one point I did get a bit carried away and lost my footing – not enough to fall in the mud, but enough to pull something in my leg.
Still, it wasn’t enough to stop me, and by the end of the third section I had completed 40K!
4th Leg: 10.58 Kilometres
With only 10 kilometres to go, I was keen to get back out so, after a much shorter break this time, I headed out at 5:14 pm.
My legs were feeling pretty tired by this point but I still made an effort to keep up my walk/run ratio where possible, even if the run part had become more of a jog.
Unlike in the previous three sections, this time it didn’t rain and I got to enjoy the whole route (minus a couple of laps of the park) in the evening sunshine before returning home to a nice hot bath.
Despite the feeling of complete and utter exhaustion, Sunday’s session has given me a lot of confidence in terms of my ability to complete the London to Brighton 100K Challenge. But most importantly, I have learned some valuable lessons:
1. Get some decent waterproofs – even if it looks like it’s going to be a nice day, the weather here is fairly unpredictable and it’s better t carry a bit of extra weight than get soaked part way through the course.
2. Enjoy the rest breaks – the London to Brighton Challenge isn’t a race (not for me at least) and taking breaks to rest and recover makes a big difference both physically and psychologically.
3. Use a walk/run ratio from the start – this means less time on the old feet, at the start at least, and it’s much easier to cut down on the running later than it is to start running after hours of walking.
4. Wear pads on the balls of the feet – this made a huge difference and my feet felt much better after Sunday’s 50K than they did after last Monday’s 43K
5. Watch your step – take care when walking or running on muddy or slippery surfaces. It’s too easy to pick up an injury!
That’s probably going to be my longest walk in terms of distance before the big day and, even though it’s only half of what I need to complete, I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll be able to do it. Now I just need to practise some big hills, running at night and test out some new waterproofs!
As part of the London to Brighton Challenge, I’m raising money for The British Heart Foundation. If you have a couple of quid to spare and would like to sponsor me, please visit my JustGiving page and donate what you can – it all helps!
Thanks for reading! 🙂