Completion of her first ultramarathon as a breastfeeding mother: Chiltern Ridge 50km ultra track


Running the ultramarathon has been on my bucket list for too long and I finally decided that 2019 is what to exclude from this goal list. An ultrasound as a mother of a 6-month-old baby seemed like a crazy idea, but I was convinced that it would never be ideal to train or perform such an event, so I could do it even when I was on maternity leave… Besides, according to Duke & # 39; According to the study, "pregnant women are endurance specialists who live almost on what the human body can do" – so after Alex's full staff, be sure to run an ultramarathon is a breeze, right ?!

Most importantly, I felt very inspired by the two specific ladies. One is Sophie Power, who drove the UTMB (toughest ultrasound) icon only 3 months after giving birth to her second son – she was famously busy with a camera in the middle of a race. , has a 3-month-old baby in one hand and a breast pump in the other. The second lady is Jasmine Paris, who became the first woman to win a grueling 268-mile Montane spine, despite having to give her baby milk at almost every helpline – an extraordinary achievement that required incredible determination and organization. Theirs are great examples of giving up becoming a mother and doing your own thing. Their example also shows how important it is to have support and the right logistics: her husband met Sophie at every help desk along the route, where she would give her a breast pump and raft her milk. son. Jasmine wore her entire set. After reading these stories, I began to believe that by providing enough support from my own family, I could do the job.

I got into a brand new ultramarathon on Facebook called the Chiltern Ridge Ultra Trail in the Wendover Woods / Trings / Ashridge Estate organized by Runaway Adventures. It is basically a group of people who organize scenic group adventures near London and easily accessible from the capital. They also work with organizations to promote trails in forest trails, nature reserves and areas of natural beauty.

At the starting line

This 50 km run in mid-May seemed like the perfect opportunity to get your first taste of running an ultramarathon – by definition, everything in the standard 42.195 km distance is great, and having run a few marathons earlier, I felt going "just a little further" would be achievable. Looking at the track profile, I also made sure that while there should be plenty of challenging wave tracks, there are also faster, passable sections that allow you to test, but for beginner-friendly ultra-racing venues that were generally familiar to me. together.

I invited 3 friends to me for this challenge, but unfortunately only one of them was able to raise the starting line with me (one got injured during the training for the London Marathon and the other drove) left the registration for the event too late). This friend happened to be my running friend Dom from my Saturday morning running group (also a member of Handy Cross Runners). Dom is one of those people I really admire – since he was a complete beginner, he has trained as a first class runner, scoring trophies in the "3 best finishers" competitions at different distances over the last few years. I have never met anyone like him who can stand out in all distances, from park races to ultra races. Dom is a great example of a talent that meets visibly bloody thinking. In my case, I just have to deal with the latter. LOL.

Competition headquarters

While training for this event, I encountered some ups and downs. As I mentioned in some of my previous blog posts, I had to take some time off from running after 20 miller runs of Datchet Dashers due to tibialis muscle inflammation, which put a big dent in my confidence. Until then, I had asked for help from local running coach Leanne Wellings, whom I had met at The Fitness Experts Gym. In addition to working as a marketing manager in a large international company, he also founded his own sports coaching company. Leanne gave me two-week training plans, and we often had gym reviews to review our progress and well-being. Working with a running coach, although only for a few weeks, gave me peace of mind about the task ahead. It’s always good to have someone you can hold accountable to; someone who can provide an external, objective perspective. Another strategy I used in the weeks before race day was to try not to set the final goal too firmly, but to break it down into smaller, manageable milestones. My two-week personalized exercise plan helped me break these milestones easily and helped me build momentum and move on to a real, bigger goal. I have found that focusing on hitting those smaller goalposts was psychologically easier to digest.

Eventually the race day arrived and I headed to the event headquarters, which was set up opposite the Wendover Woods bike park. When only 79 runners had registered for the opening event, my friend Domit was easy to spot. After exchanging a few words of encouragement and discussing our competition goals (which for me was & # 39; survival & # 39; and Dom & # 39; had to get close to the top – obviously!), I retreated with my head to give myself so much pepper to talk about. I'm not lying, I started peeing on my pants! It was easy to know that I had a generous 9-hour break to cover the distance, and it was an even greater relief to learn during the pre-race briefing that Bucks' rescue team was here if someone had to rescue him.

Out we go!

Above all, I remembered what Leanne had told me
it is important to warm yourself up just before you start. First of all
I thought of three of my strengths that would help me succeed during the program
competition: the discipline and focus I had put into my training (despite the meeting)
some setbacks); my passion for running the track; my firm determination to do so
things that scare me a little! By repeating these strengths to himself as a mantra,
I was able to step firmly to the starting line, with only a few butterflies
waving their wings at my stomach.

The route itself was absolutely stunning and the weather was gracious to us too – mostly sunny, later launched with a short hailstorm, but which arrived at another time at exactly the right time for me. The route had frequent markers, so it was very easy to navigate without routes or maps. Some signs even warned us of the wrong path. All the help points were well stocked with drinks and snacks, so I could have carried less food with me, but I didn't want to leave anything to chance. In addition, my home-made almond butter, cocoa and date energy balls, and pieces of salted caramel mixture worked as a treat after I could no longer face the energy gels. Suspension at the help points was mandatory so that we could scan the timing chips (to wear the bracelet). Another thing that was really handy was the plenty of medical support along the way – I remember being asked about half a dozen times if I was feeling well and if I needed help. I must say that the organizers could not have done anything better to make the event smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

Entering Wendover Woods
… And the adventure begins!

What really struck me was the friendliness of the other runners – it seemed that everyone was ready by the road with a small bang. It turned out that I was not the only ultramarathon virgin that day …

I managed to run almost constantly up to about 30 km,
after which I switched the rest of the distance to jogging / walking. I would still try
run downhill to the very end when my legs started to get really heavy
and painful, can no longer run up hills — especially those who are located
the last part that sounded like a cruel joke! I finally finished 55th
Of the 79 runners after I had been on my feet for about 6.5 hours. However, I did it
must stop for about 20-25 minutes at the penultimate auxiliary station in Hastoe
Village hall to express any breast milk to relieve themselves. Otherwise I would
has probably finished in the upper half. Not that I'm not happy enough
the fact that I had succeeded in my first ultramarathon not only survived
injuries, but stop it before the time of completion! Dom finished at 4 p.m.th
place, about 2 hours before me.

Several things have been done after the reflection
my first ultramarathon, a very enjoyable and unforgettable experience: –

  • Following the advice of more experienced ultramarathonists, I tried to focus on hitting milestones (auxiliary stations / important distance markers) during the event, instead of thinking about how much was left of the entire distance. This approach paid me dividends because I was able to stay calm and actually enjoy the event without feeling emotional.
  • I didn't look at my gym watch to see how long and how fast I had run. Let's be honest, the thought of 3+ hours of constant running can be scary and can really confuse your head. Instead, I only checked the distances already covered (see my point above).
  • In addition to setting an approximate finish time goal, I allowed myself to simply enjoy the event and see it as an opportunity to take a day off from maternity responsibilities!
  • I had also put a lot of preparation into the competition from a logistical point of view to give myself the best chance to succeed. As a breastfeeding mother, I knew I needed to "pump and sink" at some point to avoid any significant discomfort. Fortunately, my Ultimate Direction running bag / vest was big enough to carry with my battery-powered express kit. The kit, although it doesn’t weigh much at all, took up quite a bit of space, so I ended up using my two small milk bottles at the same time as my water bottles. Talk about optimizing space, LOL. The quaint little village hall was the perfect place to express – the big hall was empty inside and it gave me the privacy and comfort I needed to perform the operation. (All other substations were located outdoors and would not have been suitable).
  • I listened to my whole body and chose a tempo that felt right. My mantra was "just keep moving forward, no matter how fast".
I pose with my hardest earned medal so far

Even if a few weeks have passed since its completion
race, I'm still high on that. When I got home, my husband was waiting to see
a woman who looks very tired; instead, he noted that I was radiating. He didn't feel anything
better than giving a big hug to my two favorite men of my world after crushing
my biggest running goal to date. A big "thank you" to my grandmother and mom
who took Alex here and there for a couple of hours so I could get fit
training with mother responsibilities.

Have you run an ultramarathon? Have you learned any lessons?

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