When I said I wanted to run more… – A TftMaBoL Update

Recently, I followed the lead set by YouTuber Craig Benzine (WheezyWaiter) and set myself some tasks that would help to improve  my life and lifestyle. The Tasks for the Maintenance and Betterment of Living The Tasks for the Maintenance and Betterment of Living (or TftMaBol for short). One of these tasks was that I wanted to run more, and boy did I do just that.

When I said I wanted to run more, I didn’t mean I wanted to do it all in one day.

Last Sunday, the 17th July 2016, saw World Emoji Day roll around (it’s a thing – check the internet) and a good friend of mine, along with the rest of his running events company, On The Whistle, decided to mark the occasion by holding the World Emoji Day Run in Havant. The World Emoji Day Run (WEDR from now on because I am a lazy blogger) was a 6 hour timed challenge to complete as many laps of the 4.5 (ish. And I mean ish) mile course within the time limit. 1 Lap earned you the medal. 3 Laps, you’d completed a half marathon. 6 Laps and that’s a little over a marathon. 7 or more? Well that’s insane an Ultra.

It was a great day for running, not too sunny (to start with at least), not TOO hot (but still very muggy!) and the whole event had a great atmosphere. Very friendly marshals marked the key turn points on the course and the rest was marked by tiny pink flags which, as Race Director Kiernan mentioned in his safety briefing prior to the start, “If you haven’t seen a pink flag for a while – you’ve got lost”.

Luckily I didn’t get lost thanks to that innate Geography Teacher Compass (that’s a thing right?) and made it round the course, thanks mostly to the encouragement of the people I was running with.

My first lap saw me trying to hold on to the pace set by fellow blogger Paul Jeffrey as he is a bit of a veteran of running longer distances and I thought that if I could stay with him then I’d be fine. Sadly, I didn’t even manage a whole lap with Paul, slowing down well before he did and finishing my first lap by myself. I really must thank Paul for coming back to check on me when I slowed down and for all the encouragement at the Rest Stop and on the course -I wouldn’t have made it round my first REAL long distance run (besides that half marathon I did a few years ago) without you checking up on me!

I then was joined by fellow parkrunner Jason H who I did stick with for more than a single lap and in fact managed two laps running alongside (mostly, I got a bit carried away and sped off at the end of the laps!) before letting Jason speed off for a lap as he had a deadline to stick to in order to get out on the course for a final lap. Jason kept me going with good conversation and a great strategy of run/walk where needed and again, I don’t think I’d have made it round without him! I completely forgot about the fact that I’d breezed through lap 3 and thus 13.1 miles which WAS the furthest that I’d ever run before! 

So that takes me to 4 laps completed – 18 miles. I thought that was respectable enough and hesitated on finishing my 4th lap to ring the hand bell and end my time on the course. But then the little voice (insane little voice more like it) kicked in and said “If you’ve gone this far, why not make it 5 laps? You’ve got plenty of time…” and lo and behold I’m piling haribo into my mouth, refilling my water belt and I’m back on the course jogging (slowly. Basically speed walking. In fact probably not even that) around to start another 4.5 (ISH) mile loop. Quite frankly this was a ridiculous thing to do. I’d already changed my shirt once due to it being drenched and at the end of lap 4 I took it off completely, preferring to risk being a bit cold to having super chafed nipples – they’d already been ripped apart in the first 4 laps. Now, I’ve never run 23 miles before. I’ve only ever run 13.1 as I stated and I had no idea how much my feet would HATE my decision to carry on. They got through though, just, with thanks to all the fantastic people I met on the way round and I crossed the line for the 5th time, having just completed 23 miles. Ten miles more than I’d run previously.

After crossing the line, I was told that I had 4 minutes to make a decision about whether I was going to finish there at 23 miles or get back on the course for a 6th and final lap and push towards my first marathon…

Thankfully I made the right choice, realised how tired I was already and rang the bell to end on 5 laps, 23 miles. The marathon can wait for another day. One where I’ve trained for it and I’m 100% happy with how I’m running. I got given my medal, complete with half marathon badge and finished very happy, but very sore!

I loved the WEDR – it was a great event in a great location, organised by great people and I cant recommend On The Whistle enough for all your 6 hour challenge running needs or desires. The next event is in September, and after that November.

See you at the start line!