In 2 weeks I will be running in the Great Glen Ultra, a new Scottish ultra which has been organised by team BAM who are also responsible for the Glenmore 12 and 24 and Glen Ogle 33: I have run the latter and will be running the Glenmore 24 later this year.
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.
This will be the furthest single distance I have run, adding 10 miles onto my previous longest distance. There are some serious climbs in the latter stages of the race. I have to complete it in 24 hours and it is an unsupported event (although I suspect that Alasdair may make the occasional, discreet Ninja appearance, as he is a little anxious).
I have the nagging doubt that my fitness is not really where it should be: I am unsure if it is less, more or about the same as last November and if that will be enough. It could be argued that this is the usual taper anxiety; that awful combination of idle body and overactive brain (imagination). On the other hand, there could be substance to my anxiety. My training since the Hoka Highland Fling has not, in my opinion, been all that it could be. There has been a number of distractions.
Additional rest resulting from the toe issue previously documented. A new contract that has meant some missed sessions and adjustments to my training routine as I try to co-ordinate more than full-time paid work, voluntary work and events, home life and training. There also seems to have been quite a few social events, largely because May and June are big months for family and friends’ birthdays. My diet has slipped too, due to the change of routine and partly down to me getting a bit lazy and lacking discipline, and I think I may have put on a little weight: a natural outcome from the former points.
These are all things that I usually take in my stride and put right without much effort, but this time seem to have created a perfect storm that has left me with the sense that my training, diet and focus have not been up to my usual standards.
What do I do?
Let the chimp chatter a while and then have a reasoned chat with it before putting in back in the cage.
Employ the 5th rule: man the ‘f’ up (thanks Derek).
There is nothing I can do about it now. I am either ready or I am not, so toe that start line and see what happens.
There never was a plan with this one other than to finish, and I know I can and will do that. As my Mum said about the Antarctic challenge; ‘She will finish, even if she is on her hands and knees’. You may have already realised, I am a tad stubborn and determined. I know that I will go through highs and lows, probably quite a few lows, and I know that there will be times when I will be in pretty bad shape and will want to stop, but I won’t. I will dig deep and find the strength to go on. Alasdair may need his ‘bear protection kit’, but nothing new there.
If I simply finish/get round or even if I finish well, it is time for me to pause; take stock and work hard to regain my focus, to pull things together and to get my preparation back on track for Glenmore 24 and for the Volcano Marathon both of which are going to push me to the extreme and which could bite me hard if I am not ready. Time to push the training and make it specific to the task, tweak the diet and get a bit more weight and body fat off.
And as I know from last year, it is all in the preparation: prepare to succeed.
Now, where is the nearest altitude training centre? Hypoxic training here we come.