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.
This was a much needed rest day, especially as I was getting virtually no sleep. It had been -10 in the tent overnight, and I have to say, a pretty miserable night. As ever, after a marathon, there was a lot of adrenalin still in my system; that always makes sleep a challenge, but then add the light and the cold and it was a recipe for an uncomfortable night.
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.
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.
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.