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Tuesday 5 May 2015

Coventry Way 40 Miler: Flouting the 5 Second Rule

This race was made up of:

Flouting the 5 second rule. 
If you shout “FIVE SECOND RULE!” really loudly after you’ve dropped food, it is absolutely impossible for any germs, dirt, poo or otherwise vile things to attach themselves to it. The louder you shout it, the longer you have to retrieve your food. I suspect people could hear me picking up my jellybabies from Northampton. 

Yes I KNOW it looks like the photographer is drinking a beer ...

Kicking tree stumps.
If you don’t donate at least one toenail during an ultra then you’ve jinxed yourself for the rest of the season. It’s like a disposable bodypart offering to the Running Gods. Therefore it was entirely on purpose *cough* that I kicked that hidden tree stump at 32 miles. The swearing after kicking said tree stump was like a prayer to said Running Gods. Honest. They like it better when you use really imaginative words. 

*mutter “cockwomble” grump “badgerbollocks” whimper “stripy strumpet” mumble* 

Navigating without using the map book
The joys of actually knowing a run route! Having run the Coventry Way in the pitch black and bitter cold in December and nearly losing all the interesting parts of my body to frostbite and crying when I found the pub closed was totally worth it. Almost worth it. Worth it except for the closed pub bit. 

Also thanks to running with Mike, we didn’t get lost ONCE. Except for at the start when I took the wrong junction off the M6 and ended up in Birmingham instead of Coventry. Note: I live SIX miles from Coventry. Shhh don’t tell anyone or they’ll realise how shit my navigation is. 

Mike ran the WHOLE way like this. On one leg. 

Actually RUNNING Most of the Route
It really helped knowing the way as didn’t have to stand still bickering about which stile to climb or field of cows to brave.  Although we did stick strictly to Ultra Rules shouting “Ultra Rules!” whenever we came to a hill and refusing to run up it if gradient was steeper than a speed bump. If a marble would roll down it we were walking it. And probably eating snacks at the same time. It’s sensible planning, right? No point tiring legs out on mole hills and speed bumps. Climbing those is EXHAUSTING. *cough*

Doing Aid Stations Like Pros
Basically this consisted of a slow motion version of supermarket sweep but with picnic tables and my grubby, grabby little hands instead of a supermarket trolley. And with eating as I went along for maximum food intake. 

You know how people say they don’t lose weight during marathon training? Well in ultra marathons you can actually put on weight. 

Shortest Ultra 
Coventry Way 40 was due to be my shortest ultra marathon. I was a bit concerned about this as my legs tend to get a 2nd wind at about 50 miles ... and this race was 40 miles long. It wouldn’t be much good if my legs whisked me out of the shower about an hour after I finished and insisted on a trot down the road. And the neighbours would probably complain at soap suds on their roses. 

Overtaking the Husband
This is guaranteed to cheer me up. Saw The Mister at about mile 22 on the canal path section. I felt a bit mean about waving and leaving him behind but not ‘mean’ enough that I would slow down and run slowly with him. There’s ‘feeling mean’ and then there’s ‘cocking your race up’. I blew him a kiss as I left though. (I didn’t think shouting “Na na na na na” would have gone down very well.)

Seeing Friends On Route
There’s a lot to be said for a local race. We saw family. We saw friends. We even saw the man who I waved at in the car park thinking he was Dave. He saw me too and I couldn’t have been running fast enough as he had time to ask “Aren’t you the person who waved at me in the car park? Do I know you?” We ran behind Monika for ages although I didn’t even realise it was her until I saw a photo on Facebook. We saw Amy and Dave from Northbrook, lots of Kenilworth Runners and we made a new friend who was 72 and who did the Coventry Way every year. 

Amazing Support Crew
The aim was to stroll through the CPs doing our Food Hoover Strategy but without hanging around as we had The Amazing Sheela as Support Crew and she very kindly agreed to cart around food, kit and be Vaseline Angel. (Proffer the tub not application of said Vaseline – she’s kind not insane). Richie ran with us for the last 3 miles despite having raced an insanely hilly 7 miler and nursing an injury and Steff and Simon and Sally of Kenilworth Runners did LOUD CHEERING. 

Cider & Glory
Was very surprisingly 2nd lady! Woo!! Very pleased with that! No cup or prize, instead a massive dose of smug. And a pint of cider at the end. 

The Coventry Way is a 40 mile race which is a loop around Coventry ... but you’d never know it. It’s about 90% trails and footpaths and it’s full of stiles, pedlars bridges, farm tracks and hidden ways. You cross through the edges of villages occasionally but it feels very rural. It’s flat but interesting. You can find out a bit more about it here.


  1. A great write-up as usual! And nice work with the 2nd. I am debating taking up ultra-running just for the ability to walk up hills and eat more. Must be a legit reason??!

    1. Those are TOTALLY a legitimate reasons ... and precisely the reason I prefer ultras to shorter races. People get sniffy when I walk up hills during parkruns ...

  2. Love your blog. Whenever I need a cheer up about losing my running mojo I have a read of your blog. That running mojo just keeps getting out the door by itself without me!!! Sigh!

    1. I don't believe for a second. If your running mojo is running away it's because of that terrifying blue knobbly instrument of torture! *I'D* run away from that too ... ;)

  3. I came across your blog by accident and find it truely inspirational. I'm just getting into running after baby 2. :)

    1. What a wonderful comment! Thank you so much and I'm so pleased you're enjoying it! I got into running after having my daughter and found it gave me some 'me' time when everything was so busy at home. Hope everything is going well and you're liking the running!