It seems like a million years since I wrote my last blog, and I suppose in blog years it probably has been a million years! It also seems like a million years since I ran my first official ultra - the OCC, which is part of the the North Face UTMB series. The races take place in the Alpine mecca that is Chamonix in August each year and really do make a big mark on the ultra calendar. The OCC is the baby of the lot - just 54k and 4000m of ascent, but it't not really for the faint hearted and there were definitely a few times I wondered what I was doing to myself!
I had no idea just how significant the damage to my body would be after running an Alpine ultra in 30+ degree heat, and had a second ultra (the tour du Ben Nevis) confirmed for just two weeks later.
Unfortunately on my first training run after the OCC I started to experience knee pains, back pains around the kidney areas and spot bruising started showing up on my calves.
My doctor confirmed that I was in great shape and had nothing to worry about, but then the exhaustion hit me and I realised I just needed loads of rest! So I decided to let my body heal and head into winter with a focus on climbing and yoga. Just as my climbing was really taking shape again I fractured my collarbone. I didn't actually realise what had happened until a few weeks later, at which point I was having all sorts of problems and was ordered to just give myself a good old break.
And that's what I did! I spent time with pals - eating, drinking, being merry and realising just how anti-social my life had become spending all my spare time running around the hills and trails. By day; I've been spending my time working on a Lyme disease project which is funded by the European Space Agency - and that's provided almost as much excitement as that which I am used to!
It's only recently that I've started to get myself back into any sort of ultra running focus - I've taken the pressure off a bit and scheduled just one race for this year! An 84k Scottish ultra toward the end of April - I'll see how that goes before committing to anything else. But, I have to admit, taking it easy and enjoying all the wonderful things in life has been a really welcome addition to my hectic schedule!