I probably underestimated it. If not outwardly then definitely to myself. I definitely thought the EnduRun24, a 24 hour endurance run in Newcastle upon Tyne, would be easier than it turned out to be.
This was largely down to an early injury. In terms of energy and muscle fitness I felt fine but breaking a toe (quite possibly 2) after just 15km was not part of my race plan. Of course, I didn’t know I had broken my toes at this point. I knew I had done some damage but thought I had squashed a nerve because of the severity of the pain. Running over any uneven surface (about 75% of the course) would cause me real grief.
The real issue with this was that I realised very quickly the parts of the course that would hurt my foot the most and so mentally I started to fear those sections before I got close. Imagine knowing that something is going to be painful for a prolonged period and then making yourself do it again and again and again. That was the hardest part for me. I ran 7 more laps of the 10k course knowing that each time I would have to endure the swelling pain, grit my teeth and keep going. When I’d finished my last lap I think I said to Gary, the organiser that if I was to do another lap I would have to cut my foot off – that seemed preferable to how it felt to run.
So, it may sound foolish to keep running with this kind of injury and of course it is, you’re right. But, I didn’t realise what the injury was and this was an endurance event after all. Firstly, I would have probably kept going anyway and secondly the definition of ‘endurance’ is ‘The ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way’.
Other than the injury I found my energy levels high. My legs weren’t too fatigued and I confidently believe if I didn’t have the foot injury I would have felt good enough for 2 or 3 more laps, or even more. May be I’ll have to try again.
Running this distance gave me an insight into how I will have to push myself in my #7days7irons challenge. It certainly gave me a real feel for the kind of exertion I expect to experience, this made me nervous. But I also learnt a lot about how to calm myself through breathing more slowly and to drop back a little in order to preserve and rebuild energy levels so I could push harder again, this motivated me.
Will I run this distance ever again? Yes, I’m sure I will. There is unfinished business there and if I can avoid protruding rubble underfoot and escape injury I would like to go for 120k, the equivalent of 3 marathons, or near enough.
That was the EnduRun24. Brilliant!
Now the bike is calling and I must start to get cycle fit again. Where one challenge finishes another begins.
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