As a direct result, I think, of the confidence that I got from my Dartford Half Marathon, I have been thinking a lot about the direction my running is taking, and what I want to achieve next. This week, I have done two things which have set me on a new course....
* I have contacted my local running club, the Billericay Striders, and am arranging to go out with them on one of their training runs this weekend. I've never trained with anyone before, but think if I'd really going to get better, this is something I'm going have to do - I need to join a proper running club! You never know, I might really enjoy it, make new friends, get to know people in real life (rather than online) with whom I can share my running passion!
* More excitingly, I have signed up for my first Ultra event, of 50 miles, which is the equivalent of running from Oxford to London! It will be my 30th birthday in July 2012, and to "celebrate" (although don't think that's really the right word!) I've decided that I want to run my 30th race...and I want to make it a significant one.
I have, so far, run 15 races, so this gives me a fair bit of work to do over the next year to get to the number of completed races, but in addition to the races I have already signed up for, I have already started scheduling in the others, to leave me with the Ultra as my 30th race.
I'm going to be taking part in the 50 mile challenge, organised by Challenge Hub, and it's being held in Chislet, near Canterbury, so relatively close to where I live. The event is 8 laps of a 6.55mile course, and although I'm not a huge fan of laps, I think this is a safer option for me as a first timer, as it means I can get help or drop out if I have to without it being a great logistical nightmare! There is a cut-off limit of 15 hours, and as long as I make it to 50 miles by then, I will be happy - I'm not going to worry about the time, just completing it will be enough for my first Ultra.
I do have a very long time to prepare...a whole year...but I have two marathons already booked for September 2011 and April 2012, and I don't want to use those those as training runs - I want to try and get a decent marathon time, so I will carry on training specifically for those, and then start following an ultra plan from April 2012.
I'm so motivated by this plan, and I know that this is something that I'm going to be able to do with the right training, and am also excited about the prospect of running so many shorter races between now and July too.
I feel I'm now becoming a slightly different type of runner...probably one of those that most people would consider to be crazy! ;)