Last night Bryn and #daznbone took the train from London Marylebone and headed out to Aylesbury to embark on a planned 90km “night run”. What followed was a tough battle that ended in a #dnf of sorts and whole set of introspection of our “inner chimp” Our feeds have seen lots of questions on the subject of ultra-distance night runs from a logistical to a why? level. So why do a 50 mile plus night run. Obviously “why not”. We have seen an explosion in the running scene and many weekend parks are flooded with excitable park-runners as well as a huge variety of 10 kms, city half and full marathons and even trail events and races. However the night scene is still sacred. When you catch a commuter train out at 6-9pm you will barely see anyone else in their running gear. To see Bryn get his legs out and fumigate the carriage with his Deep Heat, whilst we set about filling endless water vessels with TailWind and Bryn his Maurten - it was carnage. The first real “sighting of the chimp” came (on the train!) when the night time legs and body just had this feeling of seizure. It’s the body and mind trying to tell you to be in your comfort zone (bed + in front of the laptop) and not fiddling with your replacement battery packs and your Petzl night lights Here is something that is going to surprise you - sometimes at night it gets very dark. This can play havoc for your long run. Last night the ground on the canal was very boggy with constant huge puddles. It is only natural to spend the first few hours trying to go around these (before you give up trying - puddles ALWAYS win). So what do you do - well you take your life into your own hands and you skirt close to the canal edge (ask Debbie Consani what it’s like to fall into the canal - no fun) OR you run ragged next to the trees/undergrowth. Last night I slipped (because I couldn’t see that well and my Petzl Tikka headtorch isn’t great) and I fell into a branch and my watch strap broke. No major drama but it meant that I carried my watch in my hand for a couple of hours and I am sure that it played havoc with my Heart Rate readings (way higher that Bryn’s!!! Bryn had the opposite issue - his Petzl NAO was awesome*** and it lit up the boggy canal path for us. However it has 4 million settings and we already drained the first set of its batteries after a couple of hours only to find that he had it on industrial aircraft hanger mode. As Bryn turned it around to take a look at it he screamed “I’ve burnt my retina” and he basically couldn’t see straight for the next 15 minutes When you are on an English canal these things aren’t that serious when compared to a mountainside in the Alps or 300km into the Tor de Geants and I guess this is the perfect way to segue back to the Chimp. Why because you need tips and tricks to be prepared for the Chimp. Lesson 8: Your Ultra Running Chimp will say “Why are you running at night on this boggy canal - it’s dark and dangerous and if you fall into this canal you will die of Hyperthermia - Go get an Uber home”. You need to say “Look chimp when I was doing the Lakeland 100miler that was a proper ultra - this is a mere shuffle along a canal path” Summary - Punch the Monkey and carry on.
The Chimp (Paradox) idea was brought to life by the brilliant mind of Dr Steven Peters - the guy that helped kickstart the Team Sky cycling revolution. Put simply your chimp is a constant noise in your brain t