Running off road is seriously hard!
I knew I hadn't really trained properly for the 3 in 3, and it showed in my times. My focus has been Run Wales obviously, so the offroad running really took a back seat. I did run offroad in training, but only the easiest routes on the Gower I could find, and never 2 days in a row let alone 3. Just goes to show how specific training needs to be. My training will be fine for Run Wales as it's hilly and on road, but was a poor preparation for the kind of extreme terrain of the Pembs Challenge. I found it very tough to stay upright on slippery trails, and the muscles I needed for that stabilisation just weren't strong enough. I hadn't practiced any speed marching on hills either - mainly because I just don't enjoy it! But being able to do it, would have come in really handy in Pembs.
Sports massage is wonderful. I had 2 very different massages after the first and second day. The first felt lovely, very gentle, but completely useless. The second was quite uncomfortable, at times painful, and made a huge difference to my legs the third day, making the DOMs far more comfortable and manageable.
I have the eating and drinking thing sorted. Eating early, drinking well, and making sure you fuel up at every opportunity even if you don't feel like it, will make sure you survive the course. I found I wasn't at all hungry in the evenings, but needed to eat plenty of mars bars, salty food etc during the day. Things I particularly liked were zingy haribos, brown sauce and coke. Anything with a really strong flavour was good, as it made it a little more appetising when you were feeling a bit queasy.
Company makes the miles go faster. It's nice to run on your own, but not if you want to go quicker. I found company of any sort helped, as did little mini targets, like gates and hills. Of course good company is best, but a couple of times I followed people in the 3 in 3 I didn't talk to, but just having them there spurred you on to run harder.
Tape everything you think might be a problem later. I taped the balls of my feet, and one toe which had a small blister. It was the spot where I often get blisters on my little toe that I didn't tape, that was the only really painful blister and actually caused me to change my stride and slightly strain my instep - lesson learnt, tape everything!
I also learnt that I probably had the beginnings of a stomach bug whilst away at the weekend. Whilst I was racing, my youngest had the bug, and that feeling of lightheadedness, and queasiness on the first evening may well have been the stomach bug beginning. I didn't realise, so I finished the event, but on the Monday night I felt very odd, and by Tuesday I couldn't bear the thought of food. Until Thursday evening I ate very little, the odd biscuit or piece of dry toast. Not great recovery from a marathon. I have run this morning, my first one, 3 miles very slowly. The legs are fine, but I feel tired now. I should have been eating at least 2500-3000 calories per day for 2-3 days post event, instead I probably managed 800 or so per day. I am trying to make up for it now, and I certainly feel loads better than I did on Tuesday. The learning here is, I suppose the human body is quite wonderful, and will do what you ask of it, you just have to be really careful you look after it as well as you possibly can in between the hard stuff!
The aim for the next week is to get back into the running habit, rest whenever possible, and restock my body's fuel stores ready for the big mileage to come.