A sub-zero 36km run. It took 3 hours 52 minutes at an average heart rate of 150bpm and an average pace (with auto-pause) of 6:25 min/km, leaving a 2305 calorie hole.

‘Go Long’ are short reports from my weekend mini-adventures on bike and foot, as I continue to train for more ultramarathons and Ironman 2019. They are most likely of interest to other endurance masochists, as well as those looking for new running and cycling routes around Bath and Bristol.

  • Achievements unlocked: quadricep annihilation
  • Fuel: 1.4L water. 2 Nakd bars (Blueberry Muffin), a double espresso SIS gel, a Bounce ball, 2 Torq gels, an SIS energy bar. I ate a lot on this run.
  • Background: I haven’t run long in a long time. A week ago I ran 15km on the roads, and that's the furthest I've gone sine running the Cotswold Way Challenge last June! I took time off to let my knee get better and focus more on cycling and swimming.

Wake up and layer up. It was below freezing out, and we'd be running across the Mendips so...

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I got to the Swan a little late after Google Maps announced there was a traffic jam around Chew Valley lake. I find this very hard to believe at 8am on a Saturday morning, but whatever Google.

I met Jarek, Dave and Nick and we set off quickly, picking the correct route out of the 4 GPX lines leaving the pub. It was very cold.

We were all signed up for Butcombe Trail Ultra 56 in April, and this run would cover the entire west loop of the route. (The east loop is quite a bit longer...)

Running idiots: 1

Earlier in the morning I'd been feeling nervous about just finishing the run. As well as being way down on mileage, my ankle was still sore. I'd violently rolled it in a deep puddle a fortnight ago. It was still very painful if I turned it to the side. I knew I couldn't afford to roll it again and that I'd have to stop straight away if I did.

No pressure, there's only 4 hours of running through frozen, lumpy mud to contend with.

After a particularly steep descent early on, I thought I had about 25% chance of finishing. I had to brace my ankle and brake the whole way down, and the tension it created was horrible.

Looking down to Axbridge

But we carried on. After the descent into Axbridge there were some flat parts and some milder terrain.

This also marked the point where we'd join the route I'd run last year, so it all felt a little more familiar. I think my favourite part is still the bend around Wavering Down towards Crook Peak. The descent down to the motorway is fun too.

Wavering Down

At some point we entered a new field and heard "IT'S COMING" only for a pheasant to fly over us and then be shot out of the air 20 metres away. Ouch. Shortly afterwards we ran past this handy sign.

Shooting in progress

As for the rest, we ticked the miles off. There was only one serious navigation SNAFU, which resulted in visiting all corners of a large field before leaving it the way we came in...

The last 5 miles or so were really tough going for me. My legs were cooked and I was checking my watch every few minutes, praying for the pub to re-appear. After what felt like an age, it did, and we were back where we started. In pretty good time too!

Running idiots: 2

Recovery

Running recovery meal

Postscript

This was three days ago; stairs are still difficult.