It is great to share in the glory times, but an awful lot goes on behind the scenes before the UMR crosses the finishing line, so this blog is an account of what goes on in an Ultra Running home.
... not least that my fridge is always bare, that there are always at least 4 pairs of discarded running shoes by the front door, and that the bedroom light goes on at 4:30 am in the morning as he, the Ultra Marathon Runner, (now known as the UMR), gets ready to head out on a long run.
There are several phrases that will probably crop up a lot in this blog:
‘Its 100 miles, not 100 km’ – yes those extra 37.86 miles make a difference
'Not everything is a bloody competition!’ – apparently everything is
‘Yes I know my leg is falling off, I have no toenails left and I have a limp, but I’m just going out for a run’ - says every UMR
‘Just going out for a short run’ - 7 hours later UMR returns!
‘BLOODY STRAVA’ – I just giggle, knowing that it will update sometime soon, but not soon enough for the UMR
Now, I’m an Ultra Marathon Runner too – well I have one Ultra run under my belt, and have completed several Ultra walks including 100 km of the Cotswold Way, but walking an ultra doesn’t really count in UMR's world. He’s not dismissive of them, they just aren’t an ultra run.
I GET HIM
So what I am saying is that I do get the UMR's foibles, rituals, and obsessiveness but sometimes it can become so all-absorbing that I just want to run away and live on a little island so I don’t have to hear the words ‘Tailwind’, ‘Centurion’, ‘trail shoes’, ‘head torch’ or ‘survival blanket’ ever again. We also prepare very differently for races, which is part of the fun, and also part of the friction. I’m more about completing, and he is more about competing, which makes for fun conversations, sometimes!
So how has lockdown affected the household? Well the UMR pre-lockdown would run 3 times a day, not every day, but fairly frequently, and this was curtailed to just the once a day at the beginning of the lockdown. The length of the runs was shortened and speed becomes the champ. This means if you own a crown on a Strava segment within a 5-mile radius of our house in Black-heath, then the UMR needs to get his competitive fix and he will be coming after it. I didn’t really understand segments, crowns, and cups on Strava, but believe me, after the initial 6 weeks of lockdown, I think I could now make it my Mastermind subject.
Strava. Just typing the word makes my blood boil. There are 3 people in our relationship, and Strava is the not so secret mistress. She certainly gets lots of attention after a run and is coveted for many hours. She is dissected, shared, occasionally screamed at, normally by me at about midnight. A certain friend of ours likes to give the UMR ‘kudos’ for his weeks running in one go, normally just after midnight. If you have no idea what that means, very simply it means that I am woken by incessant beeping from the UMR’s watch, which then results in incessant bleeping by me of a different type.
Apparently, according to the Ultra Marathon Runner (UMR), you are not a runner unless you are on Strava – I am therefore not a runner.