One (Yes One!!!) week to The Stones

Well the nerves have little time to do much damage, but writing this the only song going through my head right now is…

I got home from work today (Friday 5th July) and found my race number had arrived! Well this sh*t just got real! I can’t fool myself into thinking the idea I had actually signed up to this race was just an odd dream! It happened, and I’m now due to set-off on a 100Km run in just over 7 days at 7:55am!!!

In the last week I have really cut back the training and entered the hideous world of the taper. I always thought runners were talking gibberish when discussing tapering. This pre-race period where you cut back the mileage to prepare yourself for the big day, For some it seemed like one of the most difficult, challenging and painful parts of training. Some comparing it to bereavement – c’mon that’s just a bit much isn’t it?

Well yes, maybe that’s a tad too far, but it really is a weird place to be in. Months of training hundreds if not thousands of miles to prepare for a big race, and then a couple of weeks before the big day you grind to a pretty rapid halt, holding yourself protected and building your energy for the go. It makes sense, I get it. It’s not natural to somebody that loves running though, but it does makes sense, really it does (have I convinced myself yet ?)

In the past week I’ve made the final plans and got my kit list sorted. Final shopping for spares, extra this and extra that all done.

Kit List:

Kit Bag containing:

  • 2 x 500mL soft flasks
  • Spare tailwind sachets
  • Spare electrolyte tabs
  • flapjacks (just as I can be sure I can eat those on a run)
  • rain coat (really – the chances of rain are remote at best – aren’t they?
  • Spare top
  • Spare socks
  • head torch + battery
  • phone charger
  • collapsible cup
  • GoPro
  • First Aid bits
  • Paracetamol
  • Mobile
  • Money
  • Spare Cap
  • Energy gels (I only train with SIS so better take some)
  • Buff to soak and use to cool down with if needed

Starting gear:

  • T-Shirt
  • Cap
  • Shorts
  • Socks
  • Taped feet/Talc
  • Garmin (with course route – as I am always paranoid!)
  • sun cream (P20)

Halfway Bag:

I plan to have my wife meet me along the route to say hi and wish me luck, I intend to give her a bag of ‘spares’ that I can swap with en-route

  • spare shirt/vest
  • spare socks
  • spare cap
  • second pair of shoes
  • tape for feet
  • additional suncream
  • Additional food/electrolyte tabs
  • full bladder in case soft flasks have leaked or failed somehow – a bit of overkill, but rather overkill than miss the opportunity to rule out an unlikely risk.
  • Knee supports – just in case!!

Writing all that down has really helped!! Never underestimate the stress easing power of a list !!🤣🤣

Getting my head round it!

One thing I’m still stumped with, I simply don’t get how I got to this point. A few days over two years ago, I hadn’t run for 24 years (or thereabouts). I had no intention to, I was around 90 Kg in weight and enjoyed a biscuit or too. I never thought I had time to do any exercise or fitness and didn’t try hard to prove otherwise.

After the penny dropped that I should try this (see my blog: The Best Version of me) things just went stratospheric and the bug had truly bitten me. But even then a 100Km run in a day on undulating terrain, in the summer. A joke, right?

Clearly not, I’m in it for the journey. I have realised I can challenge myself in ways I hadn’t ever thought of. I’ve already achieved a lot, and longer, endurance type running is where my heart is. I can run a 20minute 5Km or a 41min 10Km but I don’t like this as much as a 50Km around Oxfordshire, or a Hampshire hills marathon. I’ve found my space in the running world, and I love it.

There will be some mental challenges in the Stones that I won’t have experienced before, when everything is telling me to stop, but I will use what I have learnt, fall back on my training and know that the mind is a strong organ, it has an amazing ability to bring you through a challenge that is otherwise unattainable!

I recently posted a link to a writeup I found about the mental challenge in Ultrarunning and it’s a good read. You can find it here: https://ridgewayrunner.com/2019/07/03/ultra-running-with-the-brain/

Over the rest of this coming week, there’s a few more short runs for me (5Km ish) and I’ll probably take a bit of time to watch a couple of documentaries about ultra running – I’m a big fan of Gary Robbins and the Ginger Runner (Check them out on Youtube!!). I really find that these can give you a bit of a motivational kick up the arse! and sometimes that helps!

Whatever you are doing on the 13th July 2019, and maybe you’re at the Stones too! Make it a great day. I certainly plan to.

So maybe I was a bit quick to think I needed Help! at the start of this blog, maybe I should have been a bit more optimistic. Come to think of it …

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