This is it, I’m officially in taper mode for the Race to the Stones, still going to be putting some miles in but have dialled back the weekend long runs and now looking to tick over a little. Feeling distinctly nervous now if I’m honest, it’s all becoming a little real and of course the doubts over your training start to kick in don’t they?
I had a pretty good build up though, I stayed healthy and although I was probably a little slack in May at times I’ve picked up the pace in June and got some really good back to back long runs in at the weekends. In an ideal world I’d have done a 30 mile training run but I just don’t have the time to fit it in with family life so went for the 2.5 hour back to back option instead. I also pushed the pace on one weekend to test my legs out a little, felt really strong running 16 miles at almost 30 seconds under my normal marathon pace. That was like getting an instant shot of confidence straight into the blood stream. It may not be the best training for an ultra but confidence is oh so important for doing these things.
I think I have my kit sorted, there wasn’t really a lot of decisions to make given it all worked perfectly for the Ridgeway 40. I’ll share a few quick reviews of the things I’m using over the next week or so if I get time. The only tweak I’ve made is I’m going to carry a soft flask to dissolve some electrolyte tablets in during the race. There is a good chance it’s going to be hot and I suffered from some cramps in previous races so I think this is a good addition to the nutrition of the day.
Given I live on the race route and close to the finish I’ve been trying to run sections of the race and think about what it’ll feel like doing it with 50 odd miles in my legs already. Not sure if it’ll help but may at least get my mind ready for that challenge. There’s a couple of decent hills about 5 miles from the finish which are going to be tough, but once you’re over them it’s relatively easy and downhill to the finish.
The only other piece on the route that worries me a little is the climb out of Goring, I ran down it for the Ridgeway 40 and it was a long way. It’ll come around 20 miles in I think so I think I’ll do a hike up the hill and use it to get some food in. I’m also crossing everything that it’s not too hot, there will be very little shade on the route and I’m really don’t want to be running through 30 degree heat all day.
I am feeling a little bit of pressure in doing this race which I haven’t experience before, I decided to run it for charity so now a whole lot of people know I’m doing it. Which is both good and bad. It will give me great motivation to keep going through the tough times but if something goes wrong and I DNF it means repeating many times the story of how I failed. I’m also being asked by a lot of people how fast I think I’ll run it. I’d love to do it in less than 10 hours but I think that will be a challenge and it’s so far that it’s hard to judge isn’t it? But what does get me motivated to aim for 10 hours is it would mean that my kids could be at the finish to meet me which would be just awesome.
If you’re running also do say hello, if you’re not all words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.