Here we go again, another first for the McIntosh ultra-team: my first 24 hour event.
It has been a while since D (of Conversations with the Uninitiated fame) has commented upon my running, but true to form he felt compelled to ensure that I remain grounded and understood some basic ground rules before attempting the Great Glen Ultra, my longest race to date.
Saturday 21st June was the longest day in so many ways; and be warned this is going to be a long post. It was of course West Highland Race day meaning that a not insignificant number of people were set to have a very long day either running, crewing for a runner, or supporting the infrastructure of the event. I have to say at this point that the event was a logistical tour-de-force.
The Great Glen Ultra is a big milestone for me, although you would not have realised it based upon my cool, calm demeanour and rather relaxed training schedule. It has, however, rather crept up on me, and typically, now a little over two weeks before the event, I am having a bit of a wobble and my inner chimp is chattering away furiously.
I have always been a solo runner, and have for some reason been pondering over the fact recently.
There were demons to be slain at this year’s Hoka Highland Fling. I have been open and frank about my experience last year and the wake -up call that it gave me in terms of my preparations for Antarctica, especially in terms of managing hydration and food; knowing how much I need and what I can take and what my body will tolerate. A very different runner toed the start line this year: more experienced; leaner, fitter, stronger, apparently faster based upon my recent D33 time and with nutrition sorted (or so I thought).
As I taper into my 2nd attempt at the Hoka Highland Fling I find myself in an odd place both mentally and physically. To be fair a lot of this will be the effects of the taper: the whole idle body and idle mind just finding things to fixate on and worry about. A short easy run suddenly becomes very hard and niggle laden, your brain starts to dwell on the memories of last year’s fairly disastrous run, and the recent unexpectedly hard training runs on the route. How do you stem those negative thoughts and remain positive and dismiss the self-fulfilling disaster prophesy?
In recent months and blog posting I have devoted a lot of thought and spoken about the life changing effect of my Antarctic Odyssey and pondered on what the future holds for me. There is with no doubt a legacy, and an on-going Odyssey and my recent participation in the D33 marked the first step of the next stage of my journey.
In the past year I have learned quite a lot. So, in no particular order, here is a light-hearted and not too deep look at some of the things I have learned.