Likeys Brecon Beacons Ultra 2014

Update 27th May 2015: This post is now hosted on Ordinary Superhuman.

Two and a half years ago I ruptured my Achilles Tendon. My rehabilitation included nearly four months on crutches and nine months before I was allowed to run for just a few minutes on a treadmill. To help get me through recovery, I started trying to find something big to set myself as a challenge. I'd flirted with running over the years. I love being outdoors. So, I started to settle on the idea of an ultra marathon. The results of much pleasurable googling and internet surfing (it's not called trail porn for nothing), was the Likeys Brecon Beacons Ultra. It had great reviews. It sounded really friendly. It was in a beautiful place and relatively accessible to me. So that was it. It was my goal. A reason to not give up on being properly fit again. The Likeys Brecon Beacons Ultra 2014 would be my first ultra marathon.

Roll forward a few months and by Christmas 2012 I was tentatively trotting on a treadmill for 10 minutes at a time. By February 2013 I'd built up to running for 30 minutes a few times a week and I did my first outdoors run of about 4 miles. And, in many ways, then the training began for this race. My training progressed and I built up to running six days a week and the mileage crept up. February 2014 arrived and I was up at midnight to make sure I registered nice and early for the race when the entries opened.

Being the unremittingly competitive and obsessive type of person that I am, the goals for the ultra gradually morphed from "running an ultra" to "running an ultra and raising a load of money for charity" to "running an ultra, raising a load of money for charity, and finishing in a more-or-less competitive time". This eventually settled down to a goal of finishing in less than 8 hours and raising money for a fabulous charity called Azafady.

Along the way, I've learnt a lot about training, achieved some other personal bests and had a huge amount of fun. But those are all stories for another time. Let's get to the weekend and the race itself.


The power of a mid afternoon cup of coffee

As you might have noticed, I spend a lot of time experimenting with different aspects of my diet and lifestyle. I like to look at the impact of things like the number of calories I consume, the balance of macro-nutrients, the amount of sleep I get, the differences between getting up early versus later, and so on.

Obviously, these aren't rigorous scientific studies. I can't double-blind test the results. My sample size of one is not statistically significant. But I enjoy playing with them and, ultimately, personal performance is just that: personal. So, finding what works well for me is valuable.