So, as I type this it is a week since I completed the first of my 12 fitness challenges to raise money for Gods Little People on the Greek island of Syros (head over here to find out more about them)

A friend very kindly (or foolishly!) agreed to take part in a 12 hour overnight (midnight to midday) trail race with me.

Our ‘official’ result was 35 miles in 11 hours and 50 minutes, but due to a slight navigation error on the first lap, the result of too much overexcitement and chat that led to us missing a sign, we actually completed 37.4 miles.

Of the 11 hours and 50 minutes we had about an hour and 40 minutes break for refuelling, stretching and using the loo!!

It was the first experience for both of us of an ‘ultra’ event and it couldn’t have gone better. The organisation was superb and the atmosphere was one of fun, inclusion and people looking out for each other. We enjoyed it so much that we are definitely signing up for the 24 hour event next year, which will actually be the last of my 12 challenges.

I could leave the ‘report’ there and let you all think that it was all soft and fluffy, but let’s take a moment to talk about the aftermath of walking 37.4 miles – in vibrams – so essentially ‘barefoot’.

Wisely I had taken the following day off so that negated the lack of sleep as I had plenty of time to catch up with it.

Unfortunately what I hadn’t really organised very well was pushing all my Monday clients into the following day, along with that day’s clients as well. So, I ended up doing about 5 workouts on the Tuesday. My legs decided that was quite enough and by the Wednesday I had developed shin splints in my left leg.

Never having had them before I honestly hadn’t realised how bloomin’ painful they are. It is very obvious that I land heavier on my left side as my left heel has also been very sore. Wearing vibrams means you have to walk/run forward on the ball of the foot more, but over 37 miles you lose the discipline of doing that.

The result and takeout then of this particular challenge is the following:

  • Do more training – enough is never enough with me and I am notorious for falling ‘short’ with my training. That I can still do it is not necessarily a good thing. Next time I will definitely train more and work on my posture/gait more.
  • Compression socks and sleeves (for the arms) may not look the best but they really do work. I have been wearing the socks post event and they have helped massively in clearing up the shin splints. We also both suffered from swollen fingers during the race (they went down almost immediately every time we stopped). This is caused mainly because during periods of endurance exercise the blood flow is directed away from the extremities to the bigger muscles that are working harder. This causes fingers to get cold which in turn causes the blood vessels to open wider which results in swelling. Wearing compression sleeves helps keep the blood flow and as a result sending more oxygen down to the fingers, which reduces swelling. Definitely will be something we will try for the 24 hour.
  • My nutrition plan for refuelling was spot on and at no point did I feel that my energy was dipping. We ate a snack after every lap, and after every 3 laps had a more substantial refuel. We stuck with foods we were familiar with so as not to stress out our digestion. When the body is working harder as in an endurance event then the body tends to divert energy away from other functions such as digestion. Keeping it simple with foods that deliver a quick hit of energy and nutrition is key. We also made our own isikate drink – more of that in another post and that also worked wonders.

My next challenge begins on the 1st August and lasts for the duration of the month. It is to complete 2000 burpees in the month!! For the record, burpees are my least favourite exercise so this will really be a challenge for me!!

Follow my social medias below for more challenge updates!

Helen x

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