Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a national champion runner with multiple records in distances ranging from marathons to 100 mile trail races.

October 2013
« Sep   Nov »


Nope, Mo Farah’s autobiography, and whatisultra


I told the baby she was setting herself up to get a Russian earful if she didn’t make an appearance on Olga’s birthday, but it didn’t work.  No memories of the Cold War…  Maybe it was best she wasn’t born on a Wednesday though.

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for a living,

But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day

Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

It seems like Thursday’s child is destined to be an ultra runner, right?  So anyway we’re in a holding pattern and the uphill power hiking on the garage treadmill continues.  I read a little excerpt from Mo Farah’s autobiography this morning.  The excerpt detailed how living and training with Kenyans transformed his running.

“The Kenyans would go out for their first run of the day no later than 7am. I remember shaking my groggy head clear and staggering out of bed to join them. By the end of the session I was knackered.

After our first training session, we went back home and the guys would rustle up some food. They cooked simple, home-grown foods in these massive pots, typical Kenyan staples like ugali, a maize flour mix rolled into a doughy lump. This was new to me. Kenyan runners swear by ugali.

After food, they’d sleep. In the afternoon, they trained again. In the evenings they ate, rested and went to bed early. They did this every day. It was an almost monk-like existence.

For entertainment, they played chess. There was no proper chessboard, so they made one from a piece of cardboard and used bottle caps for the pieces. In the evenings they watched running videos. That’s all they ever did. No TV shows, no comedy, no movies. Just videos of old Olympic races. All I wanted to do after a hard day’s training was go out to town or play Pro Evolution Soccer. Anything to take my mind off running. But then it hit me just how little I knew about running compared to these guys. Running was their life.

It was like a switch had been turned on inside my head. Like that, I knew what I had to do to win. No more late-night trips to the cinema or dancing at Oceana. No more jumping off bridges. I couldn’t be doing with any of that. From that day on my attitude changed completely. I went to bed early. I trained hard. I ate more healthily.

I took naps in the afternoon. I drank water, which I never used to do: I used to drink tea. I would have six or seven cups a day, taken with three or four lumps of sugar. Water didn’t taste good to me. I was like, “Who drinks this stuff? Tea is way better”. On race days, I might have a few sips. That was my limit. I was so used to not drinking water that I never really noticed it.

The late nights I’d enjoyed at St Mary’s were a thing of the past. I even changed my mobile phone number so that people couldn’t get hold of me and tempt me into going out. It was a bold decision, but the way I saw it, I didn’t have any choice. What else was I going to do? I had no back-up plan, no qualifications. It was running or nothing.”

So power-hiking uphill on a garage treadmill for an hour at due-any-minute pregnant… that’s a similar level of dedication, right?  Minus the ugali.

The late nights I’d enjoyed watching “Foyle’s War” on Netflix were a thing of the past.  I changed how often I checked for Facebook updates on my mobile phone while I treadmilled, so that people couldn’t tempt me into like-ing their posts and distract me from the my mindnumbing uphill work and the sight of my pale belly.  It was a bold decision, but the way I saw it I didn’t have any choice.  What else was I going to do?  I had no back-up plan (minus the c-section scheduled for the 18th), no 100-mile runs logged since 2012.  It was uphill garage treadmilling or nothing.

OK, most importantly, have you seen whatisultra?

This one is my favorite so far.

Screen shot 2013-10-10 at 8.44.13 AM

Go to the site to see the images move.  I can’t make that happen here.

OK, off to jump up and down on the bed – and then maybe a nap — like Mo and the Kenyans.



Comments 4
  • olga
    Posted on

    olga olga

    Reply Author

    Finishing the ultra was my fav as well.

  • Gene Taylor
    Posted on

    Gene Taylor Gene Taylor

    Reply Author

    If you make it to the 18th, a (friday) loving and giving child is a pretty good reason to wait although at this point an ultra child (today) would be fine as well. Thanks for the “whatisultra” link. I can identify with the newbie slowing for a puddle at .53 miles. I actually tried to dodge puddles in the first mile of my first trail race. Seems ludicrous now but it seemed reasonable at the time.