Running my First Ultra on my new hip!

Last Saturday, some 11 months since having a full hip replacement, I completed the Race The Tide “long-marathon”, my first ‘ultra’ on my new right hip 😊 and I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single step. Puretrail organised a super event. The route was beautiful yet challenging; was really well marked; had 4,383ft elevation earning two UTMB qualifier points; brilliant checkpoints and crew with a super nice, friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Emotional return

Why emotional? Trail running has been a key part of my life for over 15 years and my wife Melissa knew this would be an important milestone for me, so had booked a holiday house for the weekend near to the start/finish. We picked up our two children straight from school Friday afternoon and arrived shortly after 5pm and with only a 5-minute drive to the start the following morning, I have never arrived at an event feeling so relaxed!

Race The Tide has been such a focus for me and in my mind that failure was simply not an option, even though it did feel odd, having ran little more than 20 mpw for the last few months to protect the new hip

I was armed with my Spotify ‘liked’ playlist and my Aftershokz and dipped in and out of the playlist, depending on whether I was on my own or needing a bit of extra oomph! 

I had tears of joy and happiness as I climbed the 2.5 miles ascent to the finish line and being met by the family capped it all. I was absolutely chuffed and so excited that (even though exhausted) I couldn’t sleep that night! The last time that happened was after completing the MdS Long Day in 2011.

When an aspiration becomes a goal

Pre-op (June 2021) my goal was simply to get back running once again and running an ultra was a far-off aspiration. However, after I completed my first trail run, I knew that I had an ultra in me and this was when my aspiration became an internal goal. Two months later, my running was strong and recovery ahead of where I would have hoped so I went public and shared my goal with Melissa. As always, supportive and wise, testing me that I was not going to undo the good recovery.

I believe sharing our goals to be important, for only when they become public do we become really accountable for our actions and achieving our goals. My next event will be Centurion’s Chiltern Wonderland 50 17th September, which will be another step-up again in terms of distance and effort.

The run ……

The weather was warm yet fortunately not too hot, my race plan was crude but effective! The coastal section from the second aid station at Bigbury-on-Sea (at 15 miles) to the crossing of the River Erme at Mothecombe (20 miles) looked a bit brutal and I knew my progress would be slow, so my plan was to head-off from the start as quick as I could to bank enough time to walk (if required) from Bigbury to Mothecombe in time to beat the cut at 5:45pm. Which I did with 30 minutes or so to spare.

Then with only 9 miles to go I knew that I would finish within the cut, which I did with 35 minutes to spare.

Hot-tub for recovery

Our rented house for the weekend Pentire, Near Ivybridge, Devon – Houses for Rent in Holbeton, England, United Kingdom – Airbnb had a hot-tub, something which I have never really enjoyed before, but what a marvellous tool to aid recovery! Saturday evening after a light dinner and then a second dip Sunday morning and my legs felt so much better.

So, wherever you are with your running, enjoy your journey and the reward it brings.

All the best

Andy

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