This Saturday 17th November will see me on the start line of the Wendover Woods 50 mile race.
Organised by Centurion Running, it's a hilly undulating course of 10 miles, repeated 5 times. With a total ascent of 2000 ft per lap, it will surely be one for pacing with precision and care.
Writing about events after they have been completed is usually the protocol. Breaking with tradition, these are my thoughts prior to race day and how I will attempt to place method into this madness.
* the mindset has always been to complete Ultra races with intelligence, ownership and happiness. When I don't go over the start line with that outlook and maintain through the session, then DNF is the result. Sure, there were a couple of races in the past that created so much pain I thought about giving up. It was uncomfortable.
These extreme efforts placed upon the body will hurt. At no point, have I experienced suffering. An expression that is batted around the Ultra, weekend warrior, "extreme" fitness community, to name a few, with complete abandon and disregard for the self titled banner it has become. It's an opinion, and dare say there are many of the afore mentioned participants who can describe their experiences as ones of suffering and express that with validity.
However, when taking part in a race, that I have voluntarily entered, I now have absolute control over the destiny of my experience. When there is a hint of self pity or doubt, I coach myself to remember the training, put to practice the methods that get you through those difficult moments and most importantly, always remind myself there are people out there truly suffering. The position we find ourselves in a race can be stopped or managed down a level at anytime. Therefore, there is no longer an experience of suffering within the race. This is an experience of stupidity and irrational behaviour.
* Ultra running is a practice of patience under stress. Getting the stress point correct is relative to how well the brain stays tuned to demonstrating patience. The day when the two collide is a good day. Good planning. Great mindset.
These are my observations prior to the 50 miles ahead on Saturday. A sub 9 hour race and it will cap off a steady year of training and added more insight into the practical factors that increase success and happiness when completing these adventures. I'll be sure to give a word of encouragement to others along the way as I have recieved gladly from fellow competitors over the years.