Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon training blog

After 2.5 years of mixed training for marathons, triathlons and ironman events I have decided to actually follow a plan. I subscribed to Erics 20 week Ultra plan and am due to start on Monday 19th October 2009. I am currently on a rest week after smashing my PB for the marathon by 25 mins and finishing in 3.51.

I read and then re-read the fabulous book Born to Run and was so inspired by it that I started to run barefoot a little at a time, just 1 mile to begin with. I then found my way to Caballo website and asked him about Chia recipies. Amazingly he was taking entries for the 2010 CCUM and I felt the hand of destiny touching me. I entered and was accepted and am about to take on one of the biggest challenges of my life.

As I said I only started training in 2007 after a lifetime of alcohol and work. I was born into the pub and restaurant trade and so alcohol has always been in my life. I got to be overweight and unfit. I was nearly 16 stone and looked and felt awful. i had done a number of Bill Phillips Body for life challenges and yet I lapsed back into bad habits after the challenges and put all the weight back on and more!

So it was on the treadmill in 2007, running next to my wife with me complaining about how much I hated running (after only 5 mns) when I saw a poster for the Milton Keynes Half Marathon and it was on our wedding anniversary! I said to my wife Julie " I'm gonna do that race for you for a wedding anniversayry gift". She looked at me in disbelief and calmly said, "you're overweight, you hate running and besides I would rather have a ring!"

It didn't matter in my mind I had committed to the race. I started small walking to the local lake and attempting to run around it. Soon I made it the whole way round the lake in one run! I was so pleased with myself. I didn't know the lake was only 1 mile in total!

I entered a local 10k with TeamMK the local triathlon club which was 3 laps of another local lake. The first lap was great fun, the second very hard and the third was a nightmare. I had to dig soo deep that day just to finish. The feeling of finishing that race gave me a small amount of hope that i could actually finish this haf marathon. In the end I did it and felt amazing if a little sore.

I did the classic and stopped training secure in the belief that i had conquored this running lark. I put weight back on and after a while I relaised that that far from hating running I actually missed it. I resolved to run a full marathon and entered the London marathon in 2008.

With about 6 weeks to go my loving wife informed me that I was definately crazy and that i was not ready and I should pull out of the race. I had resolved to run and had a charity hoping that i would raise a large amount of cash for them so I had an extra motivation. I finished in 5 hours and once again thought that was it. But I kept on running, a half marathon here and there, 10k's, 5 k's and then i discovered Triathlon. I had been a sucessful swimmer when i was younger so entered a sprint Triathlon. I finished it and enjoyed the process so entered an Olympic distance and once again enjoyed the experience.

The madness then took over. On my long runs I found i had lots of time to think. In Triathlon you cannot use MP3 players so I started to train without them to get used to having just my mind and the scenery to entertain me. This lead to many internal conversations and lead to the masterplan for 2009, a triple challenge.

I would run the London marathon again, then a half Ironman (madness) and then finish with a full Ironman distance Triathon (complete Lunacy!).

Somehow I managed to do all this and documented the experience in my website This year 2009 was about racing for fun and to improve speed. To have time for family and myself without the committment needed to race these huge challenges. The problem is that as my times have been smashed each week I found myself drawn more and more to greater challenges.

I must say that joining the local Triathlon team was the smartest move I have ever made. When you train on your own you pace yourself according to the pain threshold you have at the time. When you train with others you HAVE to raise your game. I got fed up of being the last one in every training run, being dropped in every ride, being good at swimming was the only saving grace I had.

I showed others how to improve their swim and they in tunr helped me with my poor running and bike. I went from the nickname "Captain Slow" to the new one of just "Captain"

So it's now I find myself here typing away and ready to take on the next challenge. The CCUM will be an amazing experience and I'm now looking for 2 other events to complete the Triple Challenge for 2010, just don't tell my wife!

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Comment by Thomas Orf on October 30, 2009 at 7:55pm
Wow Kevin. You've done a lot of great things since 2007. You're definitely an inspiration for us. You just keep doing what you do, and shortly, we'll be reading about your Copper Canyon adventure, which I can't wait to hear about. I'd love to get the chance to do that some day.
What chia recipes do you have and what do the chia seeds do, or what do you use them for? Is this something you've found beneficial and should I be trying these?

Stanford, I also can't wait to hear about your adventures in the Copper Canyons and I'd love to hear all about your adventure when you get to run the Appalachian trail.
Comment by Eric Orton on October 30, 2009 at 9:32am
Hey Kevin - Just checking on the barefoot thing. Sounds as if you have it in check!
Hey Stanford - Welcome and glad to hear you will soon join the Mas Loco club!! And glad to see you are following the 50 mile Training Package. It will have you ready for those Canyons.
Comment by Stanford Lee on October 29, 2009 at 6:18pm
good to see someone else training for th CCUM. See you down there in a few months!
Comment by Kevin O'Rourke on October 26, 2009 at 12:59pm
Hi Eric, I have just ran barefoot as per the program, Not sure I could run 14 miles barefoot anyway! Maybe 14 minutes
Comment by Eric Orton on October 26, 2009 at 10:46am
Hi Kevin - keep in mind that my programs are not designed to only run barefoot. Not sure if this was the case or not in your long run...but I DO NOT recommend you conduct this program only barefoot, but only when called for barefoot running.
Comment by Kevin O'Rourke on October 26, 2009 at 9:51am
Welli finished week 1 of my 20 week training plan and really enjoyed it.....However i go t some pain in my left foot on Saturday, ignored it and ran 14 miles on Sunday. I flared up and apparantly i have either a stress fracture (I think unlikely) or else a strained tendon due to running hills and excessive milage from recent running. So i have to abandon week 2 and rect my foot. I also have sore knees probably due to tight IT bands and weak glutes etc from running poorly up till now. I am going to just ride my bike for this week and concentrate on the skills Eric has suggested in his videos. I could do with some core work anyway!

Any comments about the poor foot and knees are appreciated

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