For everyone that competes on a semi-regular basis; that first DNF (did not finish) is always on the cards; it is waiting in the wind like an inevitable pride killer.
As the old saying goes: ‘Finishing dead last is better than DNF, and DNF is better than DNS’. I think this is a great expression, which gives an order of merit to these otherwise difficult outcomes, but surely sometimes there are reasonable scenarios where DNF and DNS are actually the more sensible options…
I’ve been asked before now, what do you need to take with you on trail races, or long ultras? – An excellent question, as these events tend to be predominantly off-road and weather conditions in this country can vary greatly and not always predictably.
Firstly, I find it quite funny when people choose to ask ME about all this stuff, mostly because of my well documented and solidly proven status as a complete moron.
Not sure why this took me so long to put together. Was actually fairly tough looking back at some of it, as I’d forgotten what a complete state I got myself into in parts.
I didn’t actually film the worst parts. Filming and documenting was the absolute LAST thing on my mind; particularly in the latter stages in Scotland, but this gives an overall idea of what it was like to run for the 27 days without a break, and carrying what I’d describe as ‘not a lightweight’ rucksack on my back the entire way…
12 months ago, I ran in my first ever ultra (you can read about it here. It’s good, I promise!). So enamoured with the course and the race, I decided that I wanted to have another go at it this year. Seemed like a simple, and good enough idea.
A change to the schedule at the start of the year meant that this race was now only one week after my 100 mile debut at the North Downs Way 100.
It was a strange feeling lining up at the start line as one of the ‘least’ experienced runners out there.
To most of my friends these days, I am now known as ‘Dan the runner’. I am forever being told by people that they have seen me out running while they were driving past; that they tried to get my attention, but I was just off in my own little world. If you were to ask the average friend of mine to describe me, they would probably go with “Oh yeah, Dan. Short guy, looks like a hobbit, always running…” Something like that anyway; or something a lot more insulting.
Last weekend, I traveled to Wales to basically run about with no planned route. My rule was I was not allowed to say “no” to any local route suggestion made by anyone I spoke to whilst out there. The result had me travel all along the north coast, and finish by climbing up Moel Siobod before returning to Betws-y-Coed.
This video shows some of my trip, and a fair bit of messing about. It also shows that I can’t say anywhere in Wales properly and I don’t seem to know what part of my phone does the filming.
As many of you already know, I do quite a lot of running about. I’m not the best at it, I’m certainly not the fastest at it, but I do lots of it!
This weekend, I am running around in Wales in search of the best places to run. Perhaps you’ve seen me out there, or I’ve spoken to you already. I’m not difficult to spot; I’m the one running around with a blue backpack and look like an idiot.
Sometimes it’s great just to drop your training agenda and just run about somewhere. The number of times I am so focused on getting further away (as is the nature of running), I don’t really notice where I am. This time, in the nice weather I decided to take my time and actually look around a bit.
Information that Strava gave me
Satellite map of the route
If I was training hard, this is what I’d call one of my ‘two peaks runs’. There’s loads of hills round here and in a standard mid-week hill session, I would aim to hit two of them in a training run and keep a good tempo. In this instance, they were Tegg’s Nose and Shutlingsloe.
The Peak District offers such a lot to runners. There is a bit of everything on a clear, sunny day. That is exactly what we got this year as we lined up by the start line of the Dig Deep – Ultra Tour of the Peak District at 8am with the sun beaming down generously.
This was a 60 mile race up and down Peak District terrain around Sheffield. This meant hills. Lots of hills.
Last year, after finishing the Greater Manchester Marathon in a time of 3:05, I decided that as a pre-30 ambition (I’m turning 30 on the 9th of June!) I wanted to run a sub-3 marathon. That meant I had a year and a bit to knock 5 minutes off my time; simple.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that the only events I would end up entering that year, would be hill-saturated, tricky trail marathons and I also foolishly got into running ultras. On top of this, another pre-30 ambition was creeping up, to run the length of the country; carrying all my stuff along the way.