"Them there trails......"
30,000 ft ascent
That's the sum of the 3 key races I have completed this year. The Brutal Oner (82 miles), North Downs Way 100 (103 miles) and the CTS Endurancelife Ultra plus (45 miles)
I'm enjoying the rest and looking forward to the crosstraining to come in December. Recovery is at the top of the list, remaining active, repatriation of the body to full health.
This year I have practiced, relentlessly, a positive mindset during training and races. By doing so, it has kept me from experiencing negative physical and psychological stress. Prepare with specifics in mind. To run a 100 miler requires a plan of action. That plan takes into account lifestyle, commitments, finances, equipment, ambitions, training history, knowledge, reason and desired outcomes.
I've said it before and now with 3 big sessions in the legs, I'll say it again. Ultras are no harder than a 5k. I can make both hurt just as much as the other. There's the kicker for me. I can make..... without the honest reviews of all the factors that will influence the outcomes.... I can make it very hard for myself.
A well paced 5k, personal best even, is a pleasure. That pB may well hurt. However it will have been in a schedule and worked towards with reason and purpose. No diffferent to the years approach with the ultra training. A goal was set for each race and the training complimented the desired outcome. It hurt at times, just like the fast 5k, it was expected and planned for.
The ONER. 82 miles, charmouth to Studland along the South West coast path. Time limit of 24 hours. Goal time 18:30-19 hours. Completed in 18:56.
North Downs Way Ultra. 103 miles. Fareham to Ashford. Time limit 30 hours. Goal time sub 22. Completed in 21:52.
Ultra Plus CTS Dorset. 45.3 miles. Back and forth South West Coast path, Lulworth. Goal time 7:40-8:00 . Completed in 8:10.
Training took care of the decisions leading into the race itself. On the day itself, prepared to let the course come to me, let the clock tick, have trust in the prep and the body. The only work required on the day is one of mental focus, positive language, positive reinforcement, positive outlook, positive that all efforts leading to the day enable the desired outcome to become reality.
# living with time; 3 hours into an 8 hour effort and the mind can wander. It's a bit analytical how I break this up. Lots of sections to work through, landmarks of distance, time or actual landmarks that are seen in the distance. Otherwise an inevitable sense of OMG, "I can't" language will rise to the top. I can't do another 5 hours of this. When it's realistic and positive to say "I can do another tenth and take the session over halfway" "I can see the flag of the next checkpoint on the hillside, great, drink up, kick on, and the next section awaits with vigour"
Time will tick on regardless. One of the ultimate factors I can never control or wish to go faster. That is a bad day right there. Especially on a hilly course. The proposed average for CTS was 10 mins per mile. Actual moving time on the day was 10:15, a slight drop off occurring later in the session. The average on a course like CTS doesn't make sense to assess until 6-10 miles into it.
So this is where time must be allowed to pass, getting the miles under the belt and the true average starts to show once a few flatter sections are completed .
I'm waffling now. From all of these races and experience of the year there remains one common theme throughout that makes it worth while. Everyone around. My better half Jayne, all the Madmules, close friends and an amazing family. For without racing an ultra, life is very very good.
I'll be entering the ballot for ultra trail Mont Blanc 2018 (UTMB) in late December. 104 miles, 30,000 ft ascent, circumnavigation of the infamous mountain. The races this year have earned the ballot requirements.
Get in? Don't get in? Time will pass regardless. So, best make the most of now.