So yesterday I went for a run

CaptureAnd this was it.  All 50kms of the Royal Parks Ultra. My first ultra.  In fact, my first marathon.  Now I hurt, but particularly my left knee and hip, which I hurt yesterday.  And that’s where my race went downhill.

The truth is that I didn’t start my race to plan, and that might have contributed to my eventual injury.  I had decided to try and run even pace of 7:00-7:12 minute kilometers the whole race.  Instead, my first 15 kms looked like this:

CaptureThat’s not 7:00-7:12 minute kilometers.

Coupled with that, just before the 10km aid station I fell over and skinned both knees (this is from around 18km later, and after having washed the blood streaks off my legs.)

2013-10-06 11.57.16 HDRAt that same point I looked like this:

2013-10-06 11.57.20 HDRAnd Mr. Neon said this on Facebook:

CaptureIn truth (and hindsight) I didn’t feel that dodgy.  In fact, I felt pretty good.  This was around 28kms, I’d just seen my friend Jo, who was marshalling, I’d hit ‘home turf’ (that is, path I run regularly) and I was cruising.  I was running steadily (though too fast, really).  I’d listening to music for only 4kms (I was determined to only use the music when I needed a boost, and not just because.)  So up until this point I don’t have too much to say.

You will notice, however, that I am eating a Calippo.  That thing saved my life – the cool, icy, sugary goodness.  There were a number of runners (both in and not in the race) who commented on it, mainly asking where I got it.  It must have looked pretty funny, a lady running along eating an icypole.  But there you go.

So, just after the 30km mark I slipped – I didn’t think too much of it, after my 10km tumble I’d slipped over another half a dozen times without hitting the deck again.  Two steps later it dawned on me that I’d actually done something to myself.  What I think happened is that when I tried to recover from the slip I landed weirdly on my left leg and twisted my knee.  It hurt.  I kept running, but with ever increasing walk breaks.

The big problem, I soon discovered, was not my knee but my hips.  I’d changed my running style to compensate for my knee and my hips decided that they weren’t too happy about that.

About this point I met George, another Mind runner, who had also injured his knee.  Together we ran, walked, hobbled, talked, and encouraged each other through the last 20ish kms.

I don’t remember too much about it, but I do remember running – suddenly light and full of energy – down towards the finish line, and crossing with George and a high-5.

2013-10-06 15.42.31 HDRSo, that’s it.  I finished my first marathon and  my first ultra in one day.  I hurt, I didn’t cry, and I’m super proud of my achievement.  What’s next?  A better time, a stronger run, more training.

It might sound silly but yesterday’s race has really inspired me to take my running more seriously.  Perhaps join a gym, try and finally make it to Parkrun, do some speedwork, love my long runs.

Make the most of my running club.

And now, I want to run – because I love running.  And, now I’m an ultra runner.

(also, please remember that you can still contribute to my fundraising efforts for Mind by clicking here: – whatever you can donate all helps!)


31 thoughts on “So yesterday I went for a run

  1. Jude Bellingham says:

    wow this is amazing! You deserve to be so chuffed and this is inspirational, I had a bad half yesterday but 21k versus 50k just wow’s me, I couldn’t imagine doing a marathon let alone an ultra. So I’m just going to pick myself up and train better for the next one. Thanks for the inspiration and carry on being proud, you deserve it! 🙂

    • Neon Anonymous says:

      Congratulations on the Half, Jude! It’s a great achievement, no matter what the distance or time – finishing makes us both winners! And, the training will get better, and the running will get better and one day you might feel that you can do an ultra, you never know!

  2. Rachel O says:

    Amazing – I didn’t realise any of the Mind facebook group were doing the Ultra. Big respect for you. Take it easy with the recovery. I did the Moonwalk this year and tripped half way round, niggled my hip too, and thought that i was good to run the following week. I wasn’t, had 3 sessions of physio and had to rest it for about 4 weeks before I could run 1 mile again. Let your body recover slowly! Amazing achievement, well done.

  3. MrsB | Mind over Matter says:

    Amazing. I ran the half yesterday and it hurt. Cannot imagine running 50km 😐

    Weirdly I’m also newly in love with running even though the race yesterday was hard and painful – I bought myself a new pair of Mizunos today and can’t wait to try them 🙂

    • Neon Anonymous says:

      Well done on the half, Mrs B! I think it’s the hurt that makes me more determined, knowing that I have the mental fortitude to push myself though to the finish makes me wonder how I’d go if the physical was as tough.
      Enjoy the new shoes!

  4. Liz says:

    Great write up, and hey! You’re now an ultra marathon runner!

    I ran the Royal Parks ultra last year, also for Mind. I went along yesterday to cheer people on – it was great to see people wearing their Mind vests!

    So chuffed for you – what an incredible achievement!

    Lots of love to you, Liz x

    • Neon Anonymous says:

      Thanks Liz,
      I’m pretty happy, and already planning the next challenge. I think the RPU was a great first ultra, and I’d like to do it again and hopefully have a better race!

  5. ultraboycreates says:

    Brilliant running and you’ll find the adversity you faced in the race will set you up nicely for the other ultras you will inevitably do. The bad news is that you’ll be ultra addicted now and the smaller races don’t feel quite the same anymore, you’ll want to run 50, 70 and 100 miles, you’ll look at races like UTMB, Western States and the MDS and think … I can do that. You’re one of a special breed of runner and congratulations on being so!

      • ultraboycreates says:

        I’m doing Country to Capital and I’m contemplating Thames. Trot aswell… I’m figuring they will be my warm up races as I prepare to break the 100 mile barrier

      • Neon Anonymous says:

        I looked at CtoC, but being the type of person that I am thought ‘what’s an extra 5 miles when I can do 50’. I know quite a few people doing TT through Twitter and I think it will be a good race.
        Which 100 are you doing/thinking of doing?

      • ultraboycreates says:

        As a minimum I’m doing North Downs Way, but I’m looking at West Highland Way (95), Norman Conquest (100) and possibly some others like Fellsman and Hardmoors and at least one of the 24hr races such as equinox, thunder run or endure. Ideally I’m aiming for about 7 ultras next year … Already signed up for three that only leaves me 4 more to sign up for 🙂

      • Neon Anonymous says:

        Well, it will be a great race, I think.
        I think I am am going to sign up to run TR24 solo – I ran last year in a team of 3 and it was such a great event.
        Sounds like you will have a very packed year!

      • ultraboycreates says:

        All years are packed 🙂 best of luck with everything and welcome to Club Ultra, it’s the friendliest club in town methinks. May see you at thunder run too then aswell! I think entries open in the next week or so 🙂

  6. mia79gbr says:

    That’s amazing!! Clever, clever Ellie!! Can’t believe you did your first marathon as part of yur first ultra!! Crazy lady!! Looking forward to running a crazy distance along the canal with you soon!! Don’t forget the Calippos!! 🙂

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