So what on earth makes a person have any hint of desire to run more than 20 minutes on a treadmill. I wish I could give a reasonable and plausible answer, I can't so, you'll have to make do with a cobbled one. Having recently completed a few of my runs on a treadmill in my constant quest to become more comfortable with speed, pacing and form, I had to try to make it more fun in order to keep me at it I guess. So, about a month ago, I had the crazy idea to give the treadmill running a purpose in it's own right. I perused the internet, in order to see what kind of running had been completed on the treadmill and found my way to the realisation that 50km record hadn't actually been set for women as yet. Great, a goal. I'd already completed a two hour run on the treadmill a couple of months before and so, I did another, at the pace that I thought was reasonable, comfortable, and likely to see me complete the 50km distance in about 4hrs 10 mins. I couldn't walk the next day. Was this going to stop a slightly unhinged ultra runner, no way. I could run 2 hours on a treadmill, I could run 4.
Coincidentally, two weeks ago, a great runner Paul Navesey an acquaintance, had a crack, and smashed the men's 50km record in a staggering 3 hours 5 mins. I pondered the coincidence and wondered just how many ultra runners take the to indoors during the colder months for their longer runs? In any event, I felt slightly uncomfortable about having an attempt at the women's record given that a pal had smashed the men's. It just felt a little more, well, awkward. Nonetheless, I'd been here before (recently) with not fulfilling some of my goals because of the timing of something similar with others, so, as uncomfortable as it felt, I stuck with it, selfishly.
The week preceding was full of doubt, something that had been plaguing me for a while with regards to my capacity generally. I guess it's a mindful state that most runners feel at some point, however I had been having trouble shifting mine. I know I'm not a fast runner, yet, I know I am resilient and have tenacity beyond comprehension at times, that, sets me apart. Four hours on a treadmill, no problem. Can you see the battle here?
Edit Berces (Hungary) in 2004m set a 24 hour world record on the treadmill and set the 100 mile, 100km and 50km as well en route. So whilst there was no official women's 50km record, I was informed that I would have to complete the 50km in half of Edit's 100km time of 8:35:05. Four hours ten seemed reasonable then, with a few minutes to spare. The criteria requires that a standard treadmill is used, this means then that every 60 mins, that the treadmill would need to be restarted, it took about 40 seconds to restart and this would add to the overall time of the attempt.
My local gym was fully on board and gave me great support, I hadn't been aware until after that they had gone to the trouble to have two brand new treadmills, shipped in from Germany fully calibrated to the standard. Wow, thank you Pure gym. Carl the manager was remarkable, anything that I wanted he arranged.
So the planned start was 10 am on the 27th December 2014. I called at the supermarket en route, for petroleum jelly and pain relief, perhaps only ultra runners will understand this strange combination. I arrived at the gym, and unpacked, getting everything just right, having all that sense of control and adequate preparation, everything in it's place, no mobile phone. Panic, as after emptying my kit bags time and again, I guessed that I'd left it in the supermarket at the checkout. I jumped back in the car, and calmly retraced my steps, smiling at the realisation, that you can try to control and make everything perfect, yet, life will throw anomalies that you just have to deal with. A word with the security guard revealed that It was likely that my phone was gone. On the off chance, I went to the self service checkout where I had completed my purchases, picked up the gleaming black piece of technology, and headed back to the gym.
A pal, Ant Bethell soon arrive as did my coach John Danahay, these were the official time keepers, both qualified to do so as per rules for setting a world record of this nature. A few princess instructions, a quick interview the the local Newspaper, a couple of cheesy photographs on the treadmill to accompany, then I was off. Ant posted a live feed just in case folk wanted to test there endurance and watch. Here is a link boring viewing. However, there was a problem with Wifi and Ant had used his portable dongle, which, ran out of credit with about 20 mins to go. Doh. There is a video that captures the last moments however and I'll post it here when I have it.
The run was pretty unremarkable, other than two toilet stops that were not planned, however like my sister Angela pointed out, 4 hours will seem like 24 if you don't go! I had plenty of support from friends and family and without them I'd have not completed. The distractions were important, as it was boring, and yet, conversing and watching those who were there, on their Saturday morning, giving up their time for me, made me more determined than ever to get the job done. At 3hrs10 ish, I developed a stitch I'd increased the pace of the treadmill by 0.3kmph and the change in pace sent me out of kilter and stitch developed. I panicked as I was unsure I could ride it through, the pain was immense, It was crippling, and I felt I had no choice than to take pain relief. After ten mins it settled and part of me considered I'd failed, another battle, tsk.
I hadn't failed of course, I was still going, playing with the speed trying to compensate for the stops and the restarting of the treadmill, I so desperately wanted to do well. The last 20 mins were hard work, the motivation came from John, he knew exactly what to say to keep me at it.
The world record was set at 4:15:01. It's not a fast time, it's almost embarrassingly slow, there are so many faster 50km runners out there. Are they daft enough to spend that time on a treadmill, well, of course they are and it'll be great, if It's inspired you ladies to take my record.
Gels: TORQ x8
Mini Cheddar x1 (not packet, just 1.. haha)
300ml TORQ perfomance energy drink
Shoe: INOV8 F-light 195
Treadmill was set at 12kph however I tinkered with increasing this speed as I felt appropriate.
|The results of poor taping under bra strap|
Thanks to those who popped in to support me: Angela, Matt, Issac, John, Ant, Darren Washington, and Scott Boulton (briefly).
Thanks also to radio Stoke, Paul and Nina,
Liam and Leanne from The Sentinel.
Puregym: Carl Wallace and Laurence
Matrix: Tom Johnson
Happy New Year folks and look forward to an exciting 2015.