It has taken me a while to write this entry, but I wanted to do it justice and so have waited until I felt ready and there was enough quiet time available to write. This was perhaps one of the most amazing and influential days of my life.
Song title, perhaps; oh, no that is dancing. Although, I have to say that I did feel a bit like dancing during my run in the dark last night, and tonight it came up on my MP3 player.
Unlike many of my peers who are converting to low card diets and fueling I still run with carbs. As this is a product review I am not going to cover the carbohydrate /low carbohydrate debate. That said, since becoming an ultra runner I have adjusted my diet and eat less of the traditional carbohydrates especially wheat based.
My last ultra-distance run before going to Antarctica. Another milestone: the last long distance run before I start to taper, 4 weeks before I leave the UK for Chile, and just under 5 weeks until I run the first marathon.
The 2013 Loch Ness Marathon was set to be fairly special for me.
It was exactly 10 years since I ran my first marathon, which had been Loch Ness in 2003 which gave me my marathon PB which still stands to this day. This would be my 7th run of this event. In addition this was my last formal running event before Antarctica. Emotions would potentially ride high this weekend.
Conversations with the uninitiated: back by popular demand. Banter: the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks. I think that it can be said that there is a fair amount of banter going on between my ultra uninitiated friend and myself. It is fun and it is interesting to see things from his perspective. It is probably also keeping me grounded, giving me pause for thought, and it is probably contributing to that healthy dollop of nerves that I am feeling.
Saturday was a beautiful autumn day. There was no denying it, summer is passing and we are transitioning into autumn. The dashboard display told me it was 4 degrees on my early morning trip to the supermarket and there was a definite chill in the air, not to mention the half light. Later when getting ready to go out for my run I swithered over the shorts versus tights and vest versus t-shirt decision.
Firstly, thanks and credit to Fiona Rennie whose comment on a recent facebook post provided the title of this blog entry.
The Speyside Way is a national trail that runs from Buckie to Aviemore, following the route of the river Spey, and by default the Scottish Whisky trail . The Speyside Way Ultra covers 36.5 miles from Ballindalloch to Buckie and has been run since 2012 and is well organised by race director Sarah Louise Grigor and a band of dedicated and happy marshals and helpers.
The week commencing 19th August was going to be my Antarctic Odyssey rehearsal week, and as such a fairly epic and momentous week for me. It was another milestone in my preparations. The objectives for the week were: to test my ability to run long distance on a surface similar to the Antarctic snow; test the nutrition plans; test my recovery rates; hit a new weekly mileage total. The keynote activities were to be a 20 – 21 mile beach run on the Wednesday and the Speyside Way Ultra on the Saturday.
At this point in time there are not many of my friends who have not been roped into race support to some level. This weekend, a dear friend, who has successfully managed to avoid this delightful duty, got roped in.
With only 14 weeks to go there is light at the end of the training tunnel, but things are getting tough as my training starts to peak. I have had a tired and hungry week so far this week. A 6 mile beach run on over 24 hours without food due to bad timing on one of my fast days was tough; and the planned easy session the following day (2nd fast day) was cut short as the energy just was not there.
It may seem anachronous to be posting a summer kit review on a blog that is primarily about an Antarctic challenge; however Helly Hansen kindly provided me some summer training kit that I could use for my on-going training and participation in various events over the summer months.
In 2010 Clyde Stride ultra was my first ultra. I completed it which was great, but it was not one of my better moments and there was plenty to learn from it. I entered for the following year but had to withdraw about a month before the event due to a knee injury. I duly entered for 2012 and was a DNF (did not finish) at 20 miles due to energy problems (which I subsequently found out were caused by a magnesium deficiency. So, was 2013 going to be my year?
This is the final taper towards the Clyde Stride, a 40 mile race along the river Clyde (along the River Clyde Way) from Partick to New Lanark.
In previous posts I have alluded to 'the perfect run'. It is one of those rare things that happens occasionally when a numbers of factors or conditions come together. My long run on Saturday was, unexpectedly, one of those occasions.
So, how do you prepare for running on snow in Antarctica during British summer time?
Answer: run on the beach, something that had not occurred to me initially, but which with hindsight is quite obvious. John Killingworth, a previous Antarctic Ice Marathon participant suggested this to me, so many thanks for the tip.
For someone with such an epic challenge coming up I seem to be taking things remarkably easy at the moment. Not only that but the Clyde Stride 40 (July) is approaching at great speed, so really, I should be getting a bit of a move on.
My great grandmother always said, ‘take everything in moderation’, and she particularly applied that to diet. She was born in the late 1800′s and died in the early 1970′s, in her eighties. Although latterly her health was not great and she had a touch of dementia she enjoyed good health and a steady weight through out her life.