Journey to 100km

This blog documents my training journey for Race to the Stones which is part of the Threshold Series

Distance: 100km 
Route: Lewknor to Avebury
Location: The Ridgeway - Field Farm
Shirburn Road
Lewknor, Watlington, Oxon, OX49 5RR
Date: 9th – 10th July 2022

Photo taken from Threshold Series

Unfortunately due to an injury I was not able to run this race and have deferred to 2023. However I wanted to share my journal of my ups and downs during this training cycle. I find it helpful to reflect on my training week as it is so easy to hold on to a feeling of a bad run and then allowing it to erase the positive experiences.

The training plan I followed (for most part!) from Marathon Handbook. They have easy to follow plans for marathons and ultras. I tweaked it where necessary but was a good guide to follow.  As with all ready-made plans you can move things around.

Training journal 

Week 1: 48km run (10th Jan - 16th Jan)

Completed week one feeling great. 6 runs accidently but also included lots of warm ups and cool downs.

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 2: 16km run, 2.85km walk (17th Jan - 23rd Jan)
Had a fall during a social run with BlackTrail Runners in Ruislip woods. Fell on my left knee with an awkward landing as I tried not to put both knees down and saved myself with my left hand on the floor! 🤦🏿‍♀️🤣. Great social Sunday run with the crew. Plenty of mud, but great fun nonetheless.  Met lots of new people and people that I connected with via Instagram but had never met in person.
My left knee started to hurt later that week. Sometimes a stinging feeling under the knee cap. Last run was with the Caminos at Victoria Park track on Thursday 20th. This run was super painful. Decided to take a few days off, then decided to take a week off as it is better to recover now than make it worse.
Started doing daily ITB rehab exercises. Been thinking about it for a while so I joined a small gym in Mile End on 21st January. It's only £10 a month as it is part of a school but it pretty much has most of the machines you need. Only downside is that it is only available to use between 5-7pm Monday to Friday. My first session, I cycled for 30 minutes then did some free weights. Still some knee pain then realised I probably shouldn't be doing squats and lunges with knee pain!

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

     Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 3: 8km run (24th Jan - 30th Jan) .
The only run I did this week was with Camino Ultra - session coached by Jonty in Victoria Park and even with that the run started with some pain, eased off and then came back again. Annoyingly I ended up walking parts of the run on the track and let the ladies carry on with on without me.
Continued with ITB rehab and dumbell workout. Booked Physio for Monday 31st January! Fingers crossed the news is not too devastating 😢 

Week 4: 20.97km of which 2.66km was a walk  (31st Jan - 6th Feb)
Physio appointment was cancelled as Physio is not well (not covid but a cough) aaaarrrrggghhh! Oh well. Just another opportunity to go to the gym. 30 minutes on the treadmill mostly walking with incline and then tried 1 minute walk/run/walk. Was OK but I ended up doing more walking due to the fear of making the pain worse. Then I did some strenght workout arms/Romanian deadlifts and leg machine. All 30 seconds exercise.  Felt strong. 3 days in the gym. Ran Saturday and Sunday with Black Girls Do Run UK totalling 15 km in total. Run felt good, not overly painful.

Week 5: 33.39km (7th Feb - 13th Feb)
Went to the gym 3 times (Mon, Weds, Fri)
First run to the gym, happened Friday 11th- 2.62km. Could feel the knee but not overly painful.
Saw Tyler the Physio on Thursday and looks like I have bursitis where I have bruised the bone and inflamed the bursar around that area. Plenty of R.I.C.E, tapping and generally listening to the body.
Ran with the Camino Ultra on track on Thursday which was great as I gave last week a miss.
Ran a 5km on Tuesday in barlett Park.

   Tyler showing me where the Grade 1 Chrondomalacia is.

Week 6: 25.1km run, 15.7km walk in Portugal (14th Feb - 20th Feb)
Travelled to Portugal for the week for daughters birthday. Ran 5k on Saturday 19th. 20km on Sunday.  10km for Local Landmarks and had 19km on the plan so pushed to 20km. Happy with that. Knee a bit sore so will ice throughout the day.

Week 7: 48.1km run, 3.6km walk (21st Feb - 26th Feb)
2 strenght days in the gym.
Did my long run on Saturday at velo Park. Half marathon with Runthrough. Had a catch up with David Bone yesterday too regarding fueling on those long runs. He gave me lots of tips. At the Velo park, I used 2 electrolytes in my water and foil wrapped 3 mini flapjacks bites which I bought from lidl. Had lots of energy and finished in 2hr17. Wanted 2hr30 as an easy run. Sunny day but the fuelling combo worked well. Purchased Maurten and sis gels plus precision hydration sachets to start using on these long runs. You can buy these gels on amazon too which is usually my first stop. Taking energy supplements between 35-40 mins in the runs. First time in a while I ran to the gym and I also ran to Thursday morning run in Victoria Park for Jonty's session . Covered 7 miles that day!

Week 8: 42.8km run, 4.6km walk (28th Feb - 6th Mar)
2 days weights session in the gym. No run on Sunday as did this on Friday.
Camino Ultra half marathon on Saturday.
Made sure to use nutrition in all runs as good practise. Completed Thursday run in Victoria Park. Unfortunately I didn't run there as was I was running late so jumped on the bus instead.
    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

   Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 9:  48.3km run (7th Mar - 13th Mar) 
1 strenght session this week. I've incorporated skipping into my weekly gym strenght session.
Long run 30km on Friday.  Planned to use Kamoot but got messed up so ran 12 miles along regents canal and the rest in Victoria Park. Planned to run on Sunday after the tour which was arranged by  MJ and delivered by the amazing Angela Morgan in Brixton but was too cold. “We likkle but we tallawah, tour” which means we may be little but we are strong and can do any- thing walk formed part of the Women History Month 2022. A series of wide ranging talks by Look up London.  Plan to run on Monday. Good week but not enough strenght training, which is naughty 🤦🏿‍♀️.  Onto the next.

Week 10: 32km run  (14th Mar - 20th Mar)
2 gym sessions and 2.2km walk recorded. Didn't run over the weekend as I was at my Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF) course through England Athletics at Brunel University. Still focusing on nutrition on all runs. Taking gels and electrolyte water on all runs.

Week 11: 20.8km (21st Mar - 27th Mar) 
Only 2 runs.  No gym. Very low energy and busy at work. Still taking Science In Sport (SIS) electrolytes in water.

Week 12: 54.9km (28th Apr - 3rd Apr) 
1 gym sessions on Friday... 30 minutes didn't want to over do it
Manchester Marathon on Sunday  4hr57. Focused on nutrition and running easy. Ran up to half way with Gosia but then she keep getting stitches and she told me she will walk for a bit and I should just carry on. At about 20 miles, I had a good cry just thinking of my mum but I just carried on running. Still feels unreal that I will never see her again 😔 

   Photo taken by a willing volunteer 😝

Week 13:  4km run 8.31km walk, 33 mins workout (4th Apr- 10th Apr)
In Madeira from 8th to 15th to scatter mum's ashes. Scattered the ashes on 10th April. Beautiful island and great to be with my family. Hope my mum will be happy here as we have set her free to travel the 🌎 “Lives are like rivers: Eventually they go where they must. Not where we want them to.”

— Richard Russo

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

   Photo taken by my husband Mark

    My beautiful mum ❤ 💕 

    Got a tattoo of forget-me-not flowers which was given out at my mum's funeral 

Planted some 💐 🙏🏿

Week 14: 35.99km run of which 5.34km Treadmill. 6.89km walk (11th Apr - 18th Apr) 
Completed 5km on Treadmill in one session. The other session was 10 mins Treadmill, 15 mins bike and leg press. 2 gym sessions. Used the bike, Treadmill and leg press. Ran April's Camino Ultra London Greenways Challenge on 17th April with Alice - New River. Started at Debden Station and finished in Wanstead ( short walk from Manor Park Station. On Sunday ran 10km to mark 300th day of 381 for Running for Justice Relay Movement   @deoruns_381. A great podcast and more information about why Deo started this movement and its importance Running for Justice 381

    Photo by Alice

    Photo by Alice

Week 15: 40.5km run, 5.6km walk. 2 stretches (18th Apr - 24th Apr) 
Completed a half marathon on Friday evening. Ran 8 miles solo in Victoria Park and then the rest with Gloria. Really painful knee and could barely walk on Saturday at the CirF course.

   Photo by Gloria

Week 16: No running  (25th Apr - 1st May)
Completed over 30km in walks. Unfortunately should have been doing some strenght training but emotionally wasn't available.

Week 17: 22.4km walk  (2nd May - 8th May) 
Didn't run Vitality 10km on Monday.  Gave my bib away. Still no running.  Attended MRI appointment with NHS Inhealth in Stratford at 10am on 4th May. Results should be with GP in a weeks time. Planned to attend gym on 4th May but just extremely demotivated. Have been eating a lot food over the last 2 weeks.  Was weighed when I attended MRI, currently 78.5kg (12.3 stones!). 6 weeks till Camino Ultra 50km. Need to get back on plan with workouts and nutrition.

Week 18: 14.2km walk, 25.3km run (9th May - 15th May) 
Travelled to Reading with Alice to meet Dr Tom Crossland for us to do 1/3 recce of the RTTS route ready for July. Racecourse reconnaissance (recce) is a vital part of ultra running. Knowing what lies ahead allows runners to pace themselves correctly, and to mentally prepare for climbs to come. The day started cold but pretty much warmed up. Knee started sore then cooled down then became painful again. Didn't fancy 30km (as planned) and we agreed with Dr Tom that 25km was enough. Fantastic route and scenery. Unfortunately a fly got stuck up nose and it was horrid! Thought at one point it was never going to come out. Luckily Alice had a great idea of squirting water up my nose and I blew it again and it eventually came out. So disgusting!!! After that horrific experience, I wore that special Ruby's buff over my face for the duration of the run. Never leave your house without a buff or sunglasses! This was my first run in 21 days! 
I then worked as an official at the Middlesex championship the day after the run and that really helped recovery for my legs. 

    Photo taken by Dr Tom's friends

     Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

    Photo byAlice

Week 19: 23.8m walk, 4.2km run, 1.6km cycle (16th May - 22nd May)
 Lots of walking as I travelled to the Isle of Sark via Guernsey with James for a Merrell project. Had to cycle around as there is no public transport or cars on the island. The only mode of transport is bicycles and horse drawn carriages! So with all that cycling, let's just put that down as strenght training, shall we 😃. Beautiful island 🏝 
Seeing Tyler the Physio on 20th May after collecting my MRI report from the GP.

    Photo by James

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 20: 19.8km walk, 7hrs 33mins strenght training (23rd May - 29th May)
Gym on 25th and 27th May.
Following a programme devised by the Physio and hoping we will make good progress. Tried my first run after 5 days on ibuprofen on Saturday 28th. Could only run 0.5km and then the burning sensation returned. Stopped immediately and just walked 5km as it was a lovely day. Ice/hot compress when I got home. Carried on using rehab guru and home workout programme.
    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 21: 16.3km walk, 9.1 hours strenght training (30th May - 5th Jun)
30th May went to see Physio Tyler. Diagnosed the burning pain as Pes Anserine Burisitis and added some new exercises to do. Will see him after 13th June as he is on holiday from tomorrow. Will do the home workouts at least twice a day and follow the gym plan. Went to the gym only once as it was closed on Thursday and Friday for queen's jubilee 😬. 

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 22: 23.6km walk, 2 gym sessions (6th Jun- 12th Jun)
Joined Puregym on Wednesday.  Decided I needed more flexibility and at the end of the day health is wealth. Plus these exercises are getting boring and would like to do proper workout to strengthen those quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves.  Attended bodytone session which was great. Knee was a little tender doing the lunges but otherwise OK. Then booked my induction and spin session for Friday. The spin session was great and tough but I did it. So proud and sweaty. Definitely will be doing that a couple of times a week.  Really happy I joined this gym now! Let's get stronger. I also paid to defer my Race to the Stones. Decided I needed to defer that and the Camino Ultra as I was never going to be healthy enough. There's always next time.  It's important for me to run healthy.

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 23: Spinning session at Pure Gym x 2. 17km walk. 49 mins workout (13th Jun- 19th Jun)
Highlight of the week was volunteering on 18th June for Lea Valley 50km Camino Ultra. The amazing Alice completed her first Ultra! Finish line support crew (Ingrid, Ruden, GeorginaDeo, Paula, David) Absolutely loved it. What a great way to support the community by cheering. The amazing community barge named Genesis was beautiful and hosted our finishers.  Plenty of Lemon and carrot cake by Alice and other finishers bites to go. Lovely lovely day. Great fun working with Anna (who completed 100 miles with David the week before) and the lovely Esther. So much jokes on that canal path!

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

So amazing to watch Alice cross the line after completing her 1st ever ULTRA- 50K ❤🙌🏿

Week 24: 24.6km walk, 4 hours gym workout (strenght 30, LBT, Absolutely abs), 1 hour 15 Spin session  (20th Jun - 26th Jun) 
Really enjoying the gym classes.  I definitely give my all in these sessions. I do a 15 cross training warm up before going into the classes.

   Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 25: 11.8km walk, gym workout (cycle and pump) (27th Jun to 3rd July) 
Not as much walking this week. Work and life in general has been hectic. Thursday to Sunday was full so no gym or workouts.
    Photo by yours truly ✌🏿

Week 26: 31.9km walk, 2km run, 2 gym sessions  (4th July - 10th July)

What would have been race week, is the week I changed physios as I want a more hands on approach.  I was very pleased with the assessment with Qasim and really looking forward to the healing process. As part of the consultation, we discussed the MRI report, my current rehab programme and then what Qasim thinks and how we will work going forward. I had a deep tissue massage which was super painful and then acupuncture. Qasim told me to try a short run. I did this on Tuesday 5th July, 4 laps around the cinder track in Victoria Park. The run was OK, it wasn't painful but obviously I could still feel an ache on the impact. 

    Photo taken by Qasim Myoset  Physiotherapist

    Photo taken by yours truly ✌🏿 7th July 2022
Running for Justice Relay (Final run) - Deo set off to run 381 days to unite and bring everyone together to end racism, using running and our bodies as a vehicle for change. This movement has brought the community together in joining Deo for this important cause. Thank you Deo

    Photo taken by yours truly ✌🏿 - Victoria Park

Friday morning walk with my sis Gloria

    Photo taken by yours truly ✌🏿

I can absolutely say I have been really enjoying the classes at Puregym.  This was after a body tone class and after walking 7 miles in the morning! 

Photo credit: unknown 🤷🏿‍♀️

Beautiful Alice at the start line of Race to the Stones. As her amazing well -known motto says 'One woman running for women everywhere '. That includes me as I should have been standing right there next to her. Go Alice! We ❤ you!

There you have it. Alot and nothing can happen in short period of time. Though this training block did not turn out the way I had planned, I have learned so many things and had many opportunities thrown my way. For that I am grateful.  It will not be a #comeback, but a #comethrough ✌🏿

Until next year Race to the Stones ✌🏿. For now, I'll keep this year's race bib as a souvenir unopened 😏

    Photo taken by yours truly ✌🏿


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