Temporary Leave of My Senses

Posted on October 10, 2015. Filed under: bridge to bridge swim, great scottish swim, speyside way race, the wall ultra |

I’ve been thinking.

Usually I think with clarity; sometimes it’s just a stramash inside my head. At the moment it’s a bugger’s muddle but as I am thinking about what I’m going to do in 2016 it’s also kinda fun.  A bit like diving into a paddling pool of jelly, I imagine.

So, where to start?  2015 may be a good place.

My plan was always for 2015 to be a fallow year. I find that I just lose the love for a bit after I’ve done an Ironman and just doing stuff for fun is, well, more fun.  Even in a fallow year, however, there was stuff I wanted to do.  By and large, after a fashion, I have plodded my way through the year.  I did London Marathon; underprepared and full of manflu I probably shouldn’t have.  I nailed my bete noir, the 5k swim, at the Great Scottish Swim and I am hungry for more.  As a bonus I also got to swim across the Firth of Forth.  And Nessie and I did the Edinburgh Half Marathon in a very leisurely pace followed by a burger and beer binge for The Hen Weekend. I haven’t done the Coast to Coast cycle in a day and it never looked a likelihood – basically, I just didn’t want to do it enough.  And the Seven Hills of Edinburgh is still on the cards as soon as Nessie and I coordinate diaries (and I can run more than 5k without coughing up a lung).  A quiet year but not a bad year.

2016 is going to be about swimming. And running. And maybe a triathlon.

Firstly, the swimming.  Having sunk the mental block I had swimming 5k in open water I am now hungry for more.  Having held a respectable pace with no training for 5k I am also hungry to see what I can do if I train.  Two events are going in the diary in pen, proper fountain pen ink.  No pencil based equivocation here.  The Great Scottish Swim are doing a 10k in Loch Lomond this year – as I have never missed a GSS I will be there.  And then coincidentally, as I was googling the 14k Bridge to Bridge, a friend from Oxford emailed to say “have you ever thought about doing the Bridge to Bridge, I fancy it too?”.  HELL YEAH.  So, the second event in pen is the Henley Bridge to Bridge Swim.  (Incidentally, Jan and I are veterans of Thames swimming having taken a short cut home from the pub previously……..).  In pencil I will add some of the events on the Vigour Events calendar that I can make including a repeat of the Forth swim.

So far so good.  But now the water gets more choppy.  What will I do on dry land this year, I found myself thinking?

I don’t know what happened next.  Perhaps a small aneurysm.  But with one roll of the mouse I started googling ultras.  WTAF??  I’m not designed for hardass, mentalist ultra running.  The googling started innocently enough.  Then I started reading blogs.  Like an idiot.


And then, to make matters worse, I left the internet to head to the Highlands to sherpa Pam and Sandi at the Mamores Half Marathon, part of the Glencoe Marathon Festival.  It looked great on the trails, the atmosphere was lovely.  I wanted to do it.  I mentioned ultras to Sandi. “What about Hadrian’s Wall?”, she responded.  Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.  *googles The Wall ultramarathon*.  What have I become??

IMG_20151004_160920Anyway, what I had in mind was a nice, flat 30 mile ultra.  Then the ultra box would be ticked and I could go back to burgers and beer. However, and with some regret in hindsight, I read that anything under 50k is really just an extended marathon.  And that is a reasonable point given that in Rome and London I have managed to start a 28th mile.  So where does that leave me?

Scotland has magnificent ultras, and I feel I should do one on home turf.  However, and let me be absolutely honest, they terrify me.  WE HAVE HUGE HAIRY ARSED MOUNTAINS HERE!  The one that I think I could cope with is the 36 mile Speyside Way Race.  But the dates may clash with other “inked in” events.  The Glen Lyon ultra which is yet to be announced looks interesting, the timing Is about right and I quite like the cut of the organiser’s jib. And then I found myself back at The Wall.

I may only have one ultra in me and doing it properly seems like something to consider.  Running Hadrian’s Wall starts in Carlisle, finishes at the Newcastle Quayside has a 24 hour time limit and involves night “running”  For some inexplicable reason I find these 69 lumpy miles tempting.  The googling isn’t over, I need some advice from the kind of people who do profoundly silly things just for fun.  But I think I will be running more than 26.2 miles in 2016 and the thought doesn’t fill me with horror.

Finally, triathlon.  I’ve kinda lost the love for triathlon as it becomes more about selling and buying sparkly shit than it does about honest endeavours against myself and the clock.  But the daft paddy Iron Nessie keeps on chewing my lug about another euro expedition.  Nothing has really floated my boat to combine a trip with a triathlon but then yesterday Ironman tantalisingly tweeted about Rome 70.3.  We. Shall. See.

And that, my friends, is the current state of 2016.  It would appear that I have taken temporary leave of my senses.  Recommendations, advice and meds are welcome.


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2 Responses to “Temporary Leave of My Senses”

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Let’s be honest, did you ever have any senses to take leave of, temporary or otherwise?

I thought not.

Enjoy the Hadrian’s Wall Ultra 🙂


Have you considered this http://www.brecaswimrun.com/


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