Less than 2 weeks left, no backing out now! That said currently I’m still looking forward to the day and nerves haven’t really kicked in, not fully!
As I put this together the mood is optimistic, and I’m confident of getting through the challenge, OK I’m really quite pumped up about it and can’t wait until the day! The next two weeks will be a bit of a confidence rollercoaster!
So the last week has been good. I planned a big week, ending with the ‘Big One’. A 50Km round route from home, taking in Thames Path, Ridgeway and about 1000ft of climb.
I’ve managed 88.1Km last week. Mostly gentle morning runs low heart rate zones. I threw in a tempo run too, medium effort, as I just like these! Odd I know but every one likes different things 😉
The big 50 was great. I wanted to test my strategy for the Stones.
My plan was to aim for 6min/Km, stops every 10Km or so for ‘pit stop’ like refreshments, and when I. hit hills I planned to walk most of them. Im not too good at sticking to a controlled pace or plan. I like a plan but my mind always wants to push things and so I have to battle a bit to keep things slow – marathons have normally shown my reluctance to start steady – always out fast and back slow – I’m still learning.
The strategy worked well. I didn’t eat enough – must work on that, but I had enough fluid – partially thanks to a shop stop in Goring (hence the detour in the bottom right of the route map above !).
SHOES: I took a shot for the first time using road shoes on trails. The weather meant I expected hard, dry trails and this proved to be the case. My. Brooks Levitate 2’s were fantastic, comfy, robust and a real winner – assuming there is nonsignificant rain in the next two weeks I have my. shoes sorted for the Stones.
FEET: My real concern has been feet, most particularly blisters. I can walk 100Km if I cannot run it, but if I am suffering with blisters it’ll be hard. I’ve taped feet before with Rock Tape with various levels of success. This time I tried a new tape (below). That and a combination of baby powder to keep my feet dry worked amazingly well. 50Km and no blisters, feet hardly ached! An absolute winner, another Stones strategy sorted!!
NUTRITION: This I was fairly set on already. 2 x 500mL softflasks (1x tailwind and 1x electrolyte drink). This worked on the run, and given the frequency of pit stops at the Stones I don’t feel I need to take more. I will drink more than I did on this test run though as I only had one opportunity to top up my 2 flasks during the run, so I rationed my fluids more than I should – but I felt good and didn’t suffer.
1 other nutritional component I have been playing with are salt tablets. I found these to be fantastic and have given me confidence I have options to maintain electrolytes. They do a great job at staving off cramp!!
KITBAG: I went all out with the kitbag this time, test before you need it being my plan! I filled it with the stuff I thought I would need on the day – so more than I needed for this run but not by much. It’s a tight fit for the bag I have (10L Kalenji Trail bag) but it fits (especially if using the soft flasks rather than the bladder. Again, one extra bit of confidence for the day that I know my bag works, and I know its comfortable with everything in it for a long run.
THE BIG DAY: Anything can be thrown at you when you try and run 100Km, lets be honest. Training helps you feel capable but nothing can ensure you finish. But positivity and belief is a very powerful strategy along with whatever level of training you are physically able to manage. I found at the end of the 50Km trial run that it was a mental run rather than physical. It would have been ever so easy to stop at 40Km or 45Km, but I had a plan to hit 50Km plus and wasn’t going to fail to reach it. Even when I stopped it was a decision of the mind not the body. I know I could have carried on and that makes me feel pleased. Admittedly the idea of adding 50Km to the run I have just done is a big thought. A very big thought, and quite daunting, but would I be doing it if I didn’t feel it was a real challenge of physical and mental strength – almost certainly not.
I know I will run the first half of the Stones with my body and the second half with my mind.
TAPER: Well now the training is done, there’s little more to do between now and July 13th. No training now will really make a significant impact ton the day. The next two weeks will be a few gentle training runs at low heart rate. maybe half a dozen runs or so. The taper is a nightmare, I want to run and I want to do training, not sit around. I know it will refresh the mind and body and get me ready for the Stones, but surely there’s a better way! Pending that better way being found I guess it’ll have to be a taper.
So, bring on the next two weeks, the rollercoaster I expect of belief and doubt, and finally the big day. I plan to enjoy the day more than most other days and know that whatever happens, I have already achieved so much just entering such an event. We are already all winners, bring on the celebration.