Running first 100 miles: Can you do it?

Can you run your first ever 100 mile ultramarathon? The answer is simply: Yes! You can, because I could!

Let me tell you about my first 100 miles attempt a couple weeks ago. It’s a bit tricky distance to train for – not like you can do a 100K long run every Sunday. So instead of training specifically for this event, I spent the past eight months working on being “ultra ready” which to me means I am capable of running an ultra marathon anytime I choose. I am still a rookie of the ultra community having completed my first ultra distance only last year. During training, I focused on time on my feet including walking, a lot of double runs (running twice a day) and doing a monthly ultra (usually between 45 and 50K).

Endure 24

My first 100 mile attempt was at Endure 24: 24 hours long relays that one can opt to run solo (if mad enough). The route was a 5 mile trail lap with an aid station at around 5K and access to own supplies at the start/finish area. Hence, this was an excellent opportunity to have a go at a long distance while being able to access own nutrition and gear without carrying it all around.

That’s just shoes and food…

Obviously, preparation was crucial (and somewhat stressful and exciting at the same time). I brought a crazy amount of gear and nutrition with me. As expected, I did not use most of the things I brought, but the comfort of having it all accessible unburdened my mind a little.


I set myself A B C goals. My C goal was to conquer 100 miles (even if it meant walking), B goal was running until the end of the event (I somehow always assumed that I would be able to fit 100 miles well within 24 hrs), and A goal was to be a top 3 female. I realise my goals were rather ambitious given the fact that it was my first time doing this kind of event and distance, but I felt they were still realistic enough.


Now let’s talk about mindset. In my opinion, the key to running long long distances is not to get intimidated and not to overthink things. There are terrible stories being told about DNFing due to all sorts of stuff: cramps, fatigue, stomach issues, injuries, the list can go on forever. One needs to be prepared for eventualities but not get fixated on them. I said to myself “How hard can it really be?” It may sound oblivious and naive, but in my experience, a little bit of naivety is goes a long way (check out my blog post about it). One just needs to carry on putting one foot in front of the other, no matter what.

Some laps felt real hard and I though how on earth will I be able to carry on? And then the next lap came and felt easy and joyful. So I figured out it does not stay difficult forever and there is always an end to whatever pain one feels. I am lucky to be a natural survivor which is an important trait of an ultrarunner. I managed to keep my spirit up whether it was by smiling no matter what, my terrible singing through the night or a random shot of Fireball at 2 am.


When it comes to nutrition, after a couple laps I figured out I don’t need to carry anything with me as long as I have water and couple slices of orange (I have never eaten so many oranges in my life) at the aid station and something more substantial at the start/finish. I went with High5 gels, shortbread, salted crisps, bananas and rice pudding which together with Tailwind was my nutrition through the 24 hours. I kept electrolytes topped up with my favourite Totum Sport sachets. It comes without saying that everyone needs to find their go-to food for long distances.

I soon got into the rhythm of doing a lap after lap – and boy, did time flow quicker than I thought it would. I had set uphill sections which I walked and a specific point where I started pre-planning in my head what nutrition and gear I need for the next lap (to avoid unnecessary faffing at start/finish). I didn’t waste any time sitting or standing around – I ate either while walking or sitting in the portaloo (yuck!).

Using uphill sections to eat while walking.
Issues and mistakes

Speaking of portaloos – it was not all smiles and unicorns. During the first 30 miles I was going through some digestion troubles and there were times when I though I might genuinely poop my pants. I spent a lot of time in the toilet. Luckily around mile 40, it settled in, because (as I said) nothing unpleasant lasts forever.

When it comes to running itself, I started sensibly and made sure my breathing was easy on the first few laps when one is tempted to go fast (I didn’t really look at heart rate or pace). I managed to keep a decent pace until about 80 miles and then I started to struggle running. It was not due to specific pain or injury, my legs just got fatigued and I had a hard time lifting feet off the ground. So I grabbed poles (that I never used before) and started walking. Several times, I attempted to restart running, but my legs were not cooperating. So walking it was. I didn’t panic, I just accepted it as a fact and kept going, trying not to stab anyone with my poles because I clearly was a pole amateur.

At that time I also made my first and (luckily) the only mistake at this event: I stuck to my current nutrition routine of refuelling each lap at the start/finish, but because laps now took me longer to complete, I ended up consuming fewer calories per hour. This resulted in a drop of energy level and left me drained on my last (22nd) lap. I was worried I won’t complete my last lap before the cut off of the event. During the last few miles I cried, because I just felt emotional, especially when I realised I will actually make it and also bank 2nd female prize.

Over the moon to be the 2nd Solo Female at 2022 Endure 24!
Happy ending

I could barely stand when the prize was given to me, but felt lucky because the winner spent the prize giving in the medical tent. Shortly after that, I fell asleep in my tent snuggling my trophy, only to wake up in an empty field because most of the participants have already left.

So back to the initial question: Can you do it?




I am not going to pretend it was easy, but I found running (walking) 110 miles easier than I thought it would be. All you need is to simply carry on with forward motion, no matter how slow, and keep smiling. There is something intensely magical about running through sunset into the night while most of the nation sits on a sofa in front of TV. For me, running ultramarathons certainly satisfies my love for nature and my lifelong search for unknown adventures waiting in the woods and mountains. There is something spiritual and elevating about sunset and sunrise on the trails, so if you are looking to starve your muscles but feed your soul, get out and do an ultra. I recommend ❤️

I’m a BA-leaver

I fell in love with you before we have even met. You swept me off my feet and charmed me with the way you made me feel: Whenever I was with you and whenever I thought of you, I was drowning in excitement equal to hundreds of butterflies fluttering around my stomach. The sense of adventure you gave me kept me awake at night. Your vision made me proud and I stood a little taller each time I realised you and I were together. All I’ve ever wanted was to be part of something big and important and exciting…and you offered me just that. And for that I will love you till my last breath.


But now, at this time, we have to say goodbye. I never wanted to leave you. I never intended for things to turn out this way. But I have to go. I have to go because I love you. I have to go while I still love you.

We have grown apart you and I. And while it doesn’t change the depth of my feelings for you, it started changing the person I am. With each day by your side I was little more careless and ruthless, and little less kind and patient…and that’s not me. So I have to save myself. Save myself by leaving you.

I have sacrificed everything for you. My home. Relationships. Family time. Sleep. Wellbeing. Sanity. And I would do it all again because it was more than worth it. You took over my life and force-fed me thrill and excitement, and this meant everything to me because routine and peace does not agree with me.


Whoever will come after you – I will lie to them, pretending they make me satisfied, knowing no one can ever match you. I am truly scared I will never again experience all the adrenaline you’ve let me taste. I am worried my heart will never mend, once I break it by leaving you. I suspect I am addicted to you and might cry myself to sleep every night without your presence. You shaped my life and my world for so long that I genuinely don’t know how will I live without you. But the landing gear is down and a go-around is out of the question.

I just need you to know that I will never stop going through all the wonderful memories of us; that you made me who I am and that I feel incredibly fortunate for all the adventures we have been through. So thank you and so long British Airways. Doors to manual and cross check.

I thought love was only true in fairy tales
Meant for someone else but not for me
Love was out to get me
That’s the way it seemed
Disappointment haunted all of my dreams

Then I saw your jets, now I’m a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I’m in love
Yet I’m a BA-leaver, it’s hard to leave you but I try…

The return of the segment ninja :)

It’s a common knowledge that I used to hate running (and sports in general). I was a nerdy kid. I wore old-fashioned clothes and read Harry Potter while J. K. Rowling still lived in a cardboard box and The Witcher before it was translated to English. Perhaps it was all the books, or perhaps something else, but I always felt very much limited by the streets of my home town. I felt I didn’t belong there because the town just didn’t get me. I was freaked out by the possibility that I would lead a little life locked in the cage of “normality”. So when the first opportunity presented itself, I ran (not literally because at that time I still hated running).

That was over 17 years ago. Since then I have been all around the world and have done and experienced more than some (most?) will do in their entire lifetime. Whenever I have (briefly) returned to my home town, I felt proud because each time I came back crowned by another little success (whether it was a uni degree, a new job, or a different country I have visited/lived in). Today I have returned once again, for a brief time as usual because I am afraid that if I stay too long the town will cage me and lock me up. Today, when I returned it was different than any other time in the past.

First of all, I started the day with an epic segment session when I smoothly took all the Strava segments in the neighbourhood. Given the fact that I was nothing but a nerdy unfit kid when I left, being able to comfortably outrun any female Strava users in the area is just something that blows my mind. And that’s not all. It’s not just the running side of it. This time I arrived back to my home town with a full house….wait….a royal flipping flush in my hand. For the first time in my life I feel like I have it all. Did I mention I run fast? Yeah, that. Plus I feel healthy and great and fit. I have an awesome kid (=an annoying little bugger). I work for the most British airline (for now….loving the furlough life). I live at a place that feels like real home. I have friends I can count on and belong to a supportive community of like-minded nutters (runners). I feel content and at peace. And I have finally met the man of my dreams, although I had very little dreams left in that department and was certainly not looking for any man at all.

So this geeky kid that took a risk 17 years ago, came back to her home town knowing it was all worth it (yes, it was bloody hard work) and that she finally has it all.

“Feeling lucky” does not even come close to describing how fortunate and grateful I consider myself. So maybe, just maybe, this all means that if you keep the faith through the tough times and take some risks instead of following the easy path, you’ll be rewarded for it in a much better way than you can ever imagine 🙂

Let me entertain you with my mad running challenge

The Runnerd (or simply “me” if you think that referring to myself in third person is a sign of mental disturbance) is thrilled to announce a 13 x 13.1 in 13 days challenge starting on 1st of June!

I will (attempt to) run 13 half marathons (13.1 miles) over 13 consecutive days. All of them with a buggy. Let’s just call it the 13×13 challenge, shall we?

Before you ask, yes, I might be mildly bonkers.

Now, why am I doing it?

Trust me, this is a question I will be asking myself several times per day over the next two weeks. So I better write it down while it still makes sense to me:

Occasionally, people tell me I inspired them to do something cool (usually studying or exercising). We live in crazy times and we all seem to be getting a little bit mad (which is only natural) as if having our freedoms limited brings out (on occasions) the worst in us. I strongly believe that exercise is the answer to that. So I want to kick your bottom and energise you! Get up! Get moving! Go for a jog! You’ll experience endorphins rushing through your body which will make you feel happy; you’ll inhale some fresh air which will make your brain work better, and the sense of achievement you get will make you smile for the rest of the day. And if you lose a few grams of your lockdown weight (not that you need to) – well, that’s just the cherry on the cake. So yes, I am doing this to inspire you.

Secondly, I want to show everyone that excuses are lame and totally unnecessary. I am a single mum and have no childcare which means I cannot run, right? Wrong! I’ll shove the wee monster in a buggy and off we go. Whatever excuse you throw at me, chances are that there is always a workaround. Unless you are in a wheelchair and if you are, well, then I will run for you, friend.

If you have never jogged and/or are feeling self-conscious, then join me! If you are close enough to meet me in person, we are “open” between 07:30 and 10:30 7 days a week. I am happy to jog even the shortest distance in your company, no matter how slow, or just go for the (stop/start) first run attempt with you. Get in touch! And if you are not from the Windsor area then join me virtually and share your experience on Insta @the_runnerd or Twitter @JetJenny747. You don’t need these flipping £200 Nike shoes and crappy electrolytes drink to run your first mile. Just get out and do it!

Finally, if you are an experienced/regular runner and don’t need my silly attempts to motivate you, then I am here to entertain you! It’s going to be a laugh. 🙂

Look out for daily updates on this blog and @the_runnerd Instagram, or alternatively my Facebook. And if you don’t know what to do with your cash, feel free to buy me a gel or Lucozade here. Now get off your bum and put your trainers on! Chop chop!

Armageddon Diaries: 30 March 2020

I have spent the past week and half on annual leave (that’s correct – I have wasted seven days of my leave in a lockdown). Today was my first day back in the “real” world – in the world where we have to work from home while taking care of our children at the same time. I mean like “what???”

I am a single parent of an almost-2-yr-old darling (read “little sh!t”) whom I love with my whole heart and more. I normally struggle coping with him at weekends because he needs entertainment every waking minute and can sit still for about 45 seconds at a time. So when I was told I would work from home while taking care of my son, I nodded the same way I would nod if someone told me they had been abducted by aliens.

This morning I woke up all charged up and determined to do it. By 9:30 am during a video meeting my child was quite literally climbing onto me using my hair to pull himself up. At 9:45 he became very quiet and finally entertained himself. I suspected he might be in the bathroom drinking toilet bleach. When the meeting was over a few minutes later, the bleach was untouched but I found black permanent marker drawings on the furniture. They will go well with the chocolate hand prints on the walls and miniature tyre marks on the doors.

Finally, we got to nap time which meant I can get some work done. It took me 45 mins to send him to sleep, but it was totally worth it as he slept for whole 16 minutes. Out of my work day he spent about 30% time squeaking, howling and throwing himself onto the floor.

Going mad towards the end of the day, I donned a blonde curly wig for the wide team meeting. Losing my fear of embarrassing myself, I have won some sort of “best coffee mug” competition, only thank to my wig, having no coffee mug handy.

Now here I am at the end of the day, only just starting to actually work, thinking “How will I keep this up for another two or more months?”


I haven’t got a clue.

Even my own mother who has got a PhD in pedagogy wanted my advice on this because apparently she gets asked that question all the time.

My advice to her was:

You know when Jesus was on the cross and he got offered wine but refused? Well, parents homeschooling their little ones while trying to work from home are essentially hanging on their own crosses. The wine offered to Jesus was intended as a type of painkiller. You are in pain. My advice is: take the wine! You need to take the edge off the pain, so please do whatever it takes – exercise, wine, chocolate, kicking the wall… whatever it takes. Because you need to stay sane – because you don’t want to snap and scream at your children – because you don’t want to be unkind – because you cannot lose your sense of humour. So do whatever works for you, no matter what it is, because all is fair in love and war 😉

Armageddon Diaries: 25 March 2020

Sleep: Higher likelihood of me getting a six pack before achieving more than 6 and half hours sleep.

Weekly mileage: 18. Running keeps me sane. That is if I am still sane.

Risk of redundancy: 90%

What is worse I wonder – uncertainty or unpleasant certainty?

These days we live in uncertainty, as well as unpleasant certainty. I am a numbers person. If I know I have about 15% chance of finding toilet paper on the shelves of my local supermarket, I won’t even bother going in, because the chance is too slim. If I assess that I have about 10% chance of still being in a job by the time this is over, the numbers are clearly not in my favour.

But those are just numbers. Statistics. Estimates. How about having a little faith? Faith which cannot be expressed in numbers. Faith that things will work out as they have done so far, despite uncertainties and hardships. When we do everything that is in our power, there is no point in worrying any more. All we can do is sit back, have a little faith and perhaps inspire others who desperately need it. Just close your eyes and imagine the whole universe working in your favour, because it does and it will, although at this moment in time we do not understand it yet. So just have a little faith because it brings us peace that we so sorely need.

Armageddon Diaries 23 March

Sleep: 6 and half hours! Despite hearing “ready, steady, go” from my child’s bedroom at 1 am and then again at 3:30 am..

Toilet roll count: One less than yesterday but still enough, however not too many.

Schools: Shut. Auto correct. Shit.

Okay now on a serious note – Britons, stop being dickheads!

I have 3 packs of pasta at home (=pasta rich). So I offered one to my friend’s son because he is a key worker and needs it more than I do.

Yes, we all live in an extraordinary uncertainty when our freedoms, comforts, living and even lives are being threatened, but it does not mean we have the right to be cruel. If anything, now is the time to show some kindness. This is our chance to demonstrate that we as mankind and also as individuals are considerate and supportive of each other. If you don’t take this opportunity to do something nice for the ones who need it now, the fiver you’ll donate to charity next year will mean f all. So stop hoarding toilet paper and be kind. Just be kind. One little act of kindness per day will do. Because if you are not kind now, during tough times, you are a dickhead and there is no helping you.

Armageddon Diaries: 18 March 2020

Sleep: 5 and half hours (2 hours increase since the night before)

Toilet rolls count: enough

Wine stock: 18 bottles. *Starts calculating a complex formula that would determine how many bottles are needed for this lock-down thing. The first draft of the formula is:

X (which is the amount of wine bottles required) = the amount of days in self-isolation x average anxiety level (scale 1 to 5) x 1 if schools are open or 3 if schools are shut / orgasms per day + number of miles ran per day

Putting this into practice:

14 days in self-isolation x anxiety of 2 x 3 (schools shut soon) / 0 orgasms + 13 miles = 6.5 bottles of wine required. Sounds about right.

Risk of redundancy: 50/50, not in the immediate future luckily.

Schools: shutting soon. Lord give us strength!

Achievement of the day: Two loads of laundry and a lone half marathon PB that took 5 mins off my previous PB last autumn.

I am going to bed now, wishing to wake up in the good old world as we used to know it. Perhaps this was just one of the virtual reality games…

Apocalyptic Diaries: 17 March 2020

Sleep: 3 and half hours

Toilet rolls count: enough

Wine stock: 15 bottles (*adds wine to the shopping list*)

Risk of redundancy: 50/50

Latest purchase: a bottle of champagne and a boxing bag

Schools: still open, thank you Jesus!

07:42 Sitting in an uber cuddling my hand sanitiser, not touching my face. I have done a full day’s work already last night but obviously still heading to the office because somehow I foolishly believe there is something I can do to save my job. Instead of tipping the uber driver, I allow him to use my hand sanitiser because I’m the coolest.

13:56 I’m leaving the office because I was falling asleep on my desk. Walking from our engineering building to Hatton Cross tube station, passing by all the gorgeous British Airways planes neatly parked alongside the road. The sight is breaking my heart. I imagine those beautiful beasts perhaps never tasting flight again, and just remaining to sit there quietly for decades to come, being slowly covered in rust and moss, serving as hiding places for wild animals. My passion for aviation has always been one of the strongest feelings I have ever experienced, and now I am drowning in incredible sadness that cannot be translated to words. I get to the tube station that is spookily deserted although it’s only mid-afternoon. I don’t touch anything. I just stand there, in the middle of completely dead tube station, like in an apocalyptic movie, quietly crying because I am unsure of what to make of this new world. I don’t even need to hide my tears because there is no one to see them.

16:25 Sorry Boris! Having a drink in my local Irish pub. Feeling unsociable so surely this does not count as socialising, right? I disinfect my hands after I touch the jukebox to put some Irish tunes on. I know we’re all about survival these days, but does anyone actually consider it is also the mind, not only the body that needs to survive? Us humans are incredibly complex (and equally silly and irrational) beings and I am intrigued (and scared) to see how we behave over the upcoming weeks. Wish us all luck 😉 Luck of the Irish I guess! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Complainable compliments

Compliments! You may tell yourself you don’t care about them but secretly you love them. Everyone does. It’s human nature. I enjoy complimenting people and guess what – no one ever complained about receiving too many compliments. However…

It’s widely known I am a little weird and adore people’s weirdness (or uniqueness if you wish). This often means that I end up complimenting something no one else would find complimentable, nor compliment-worthy.

Imagine this scene: Monday 9 am work meeting. The programme manager (who is a man of perfect suits) walks in wearing a suit that is considerably different to his usual plain black, well-fitted, expensive and boring piece.

Me: “Oh your suit is so 90s!”

Him: *smiling confusedly*

He never wore that suit ever again, although I genuinely liked it and found it refreshing. Sigh.

Some of my other “legendary” / unfortunate compliments are:

I love the shape of your skull!

The chocolate stain on your uniform matches your eyes.

You pee as fast as you run.

Your jaw line is a genetic treasure.

I love your annoying work emails!

Your sweat smells lovely.

I swear to you, all of the statements above are positive and meant as genuine compliments. Some would (and did) disagree. Hence, recently in an attempt not to scare away this dude whom I called a caveman (a compliment!!!) I had to clarify:

If at any point in future, you are unsure whether I am insulting or complimenting you, it is always the latter.

And same applies to you gorgeous people! Whatever weird words come out of my mouth – they are intended as positive statements. After all, we live in a world full off nastiness and drama, so we should celebrate the little quirky things that make us special.

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