Saturday, April 28, 2012


Well here we are; all those miles of difficult climbs and scary descents. Training is done.
I've been tapering all this week with just the odd gentle jog here and there plus a few walks. I reduced my mileage by about 25% per week over the past 3 weeks to give my body a rest although until this week I  kept the elevation fairly consistent, averaging about 8000 feet per week in combined runs. I wanted my legs to get used to the climbing more than the distance......hope its the right choice. As  Seneca said -

        " It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult."

      It seems there are some varied opinions on what the actual elevation is but its much closer to 10,000 feet of climb than I had origonally thought. To put this into perspective, the hardest 50k in the USA is the Speedgoat 50 and thats 12000 feet, so its going to be tough whatever it is. The weather forecast keeps changing but unusually for here it might be raining which presents me with some new challenges, still, it might be cooler so thats a positive.
    At the last count there were 250 runners signed up for the race and 15 (or 6%) were my age or older, so as you can see its definitely a sport for the younger generation.....but I guess we all new that anyway.
    I've spent most of this week developing our new website ''Modelplan Active' to try and keep my mind of the race but its not easy when I can see the mountains every day. I  started increasing my carb intake a few days ago. I'm still not totally convinced about carb loading; studies have shown that it improves performance and helps prevent hypoglycemia but the quantities, type, oxidisation, all seem varied depending on the individual  but I suppose its better to do it than not. The same goes for tapering, most runners taper, and the main reason that I can see, is that when you pull back dramatically on training your fitness degrades by only 1 or 2% whereas your fatigued muscles benefit a lot more from the reduced strain. I could quote countless studies but its not an exact science and therefore very difficult to prove. To me its just common sense to rest a little before a putting your body through a huge physical challenge........(I know there has been years and mountains of research on these two issues and I don't want to appear glib but its just my personal opinion.)
          Just received a new map of the course, not that its changed, its just that at the 27k point they've split it into 4 marked zones, the reasons being that 1) Its dangerous and technically very difficult and 2)Its hard for the medical services to get to you if you have a problem, so there's a special number to ring to tell them which zone you are in. Fun isn't it ?
     And, after collecting my number today I learnt that all they have at the Aid stations are water and soft drinks ! In all the other races I've done there has been some food but this race is completely self sufficient. There are no 'drop bags' and no support teams ( which means Sue can just chill out all day). The other variable is that I will have to carry all my food for the day and this of course creates a few logistical problems when it comes to hot soup and muffins.......guess I'll have to get creative. I'll let you know how that goes because I haven't figured it out Californian ultra cafe's on the UTBA.
      I am now getting the usual 'phantom pains' which I try to ignore otherwise I'll go nuts. I'm convinced I'm getting a cold, despite the fact I haven't  had one in years. For the past 3 nights I have slept in a blacked out room whilst wearing ear plugs. I've been in bed by 10:00 pm and practiced arising early to prepare myself for race day. Now to my Californian friends this is nothing unusual however my European friends think I'm crazy, especially when I told them that on the eve of the race it will be 9:30pm! I here comments like 'get a life', 'your obsessed', 'Thats just weird', etc,etc........My response is; 'You think this is strange, try running up mountains for 10 hours'. Looks of utter bewilderment flash across their faces....
        The nerves are starting to creep in now but all my gels, food (cold soup and muffins), drinks and clothes are prepared, so the goal is simply to  have a good night's sleep.........and then just get up and do it.


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