Just checked the calendar and it's a little over 11 weeks until Western States. Shit. That's coming around quickly. I'm not sure whether the over-riding feeling is of fear or excitement but for the time being I'm keeping my head down and sticking with the training plan that I've been implementing since after nailing that PB at the Barcelona marathon.
The fallout from that race swept aside, in the past month I've focussed on reducing my core mileage, trying to get as many hills in as possible (rather difficult close to home) and doing as much strength work as I can. The reality is that I can only do so much with the time I have so I'm having to take a cautious approach as I don't want to risk the chance of an injury so close to race day.
At the weekend just passed I took the opportunity of a clear diary and headed over to Snowdon to get some actual 'hill' training in. I decided to bolt up and down the mountain twice, back-to-back to get a decent volume of up and down in.
I went harder than I will come race day but I power-hiked the ups (with a couple of minutes of running where possible) and pushed relatively hard on the downs. Well, I pushed hard AFTER the initial downward slope which was on the slippery side with the ridiculous footwear I had on - more on that shortly. Come race day it'll be a slower trot up and as gentle a jog down as I can afford.
Anyway, whilst on my jaunt up and down I picked up a few things that I thought worthy of sharing:
1) People are stupid (i)
Only a fool wears really old road shoes whilst taking a trip up a mountain. More so when the top of the mountain is covered in snow and ice. It wasn't big or clever, it was frankly a little dangerous. I suppose I'm just fortunate that I wasn't tackling something a little tougher. All that said I did take my time where I didn't feel confident so I mitigated the risk somewhat.
2) I need to do more ups
Fact of the matter is I'm going to be doing close to 20,000ft of ascent over 100miles at WSER. My weekly mileage affords me between 4-5000ft. It's not good enough and is going to leave me in a world of trouble unless I can correct that. I'll carry on doing what I'm doing and adding in yet more strength work to help.
3) Saying that, the ups didn't actually bother me
Sounds a bit strange having just written that but actually the ups were quite nice. I took my time, enjoyed the views and focussed on keeping my heart rate down ready for the return journey.
4) I need to do more down
The downs kill, particularly now a couple of days after I've finished. It'll be the downs that could effect my chances of a finish at the race itself. I need to toughen up and get my legs ready for that. I have to find some giant hills nearby to blast down.
5) Jelly legs are quite hysterical!
First up and down, turned myself around and immediately started hiking back up to the top. Within a few seconds every muscle fibre in my arse, hamstrings and calfs started going into spasm. It eased off soon after but I was left with 1984 Bruce Grobbelaar jelly legs. I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked trying to speed up whilst chowing down on a packet of McCoys and weaving all over the place.
6) People are stupid (ii)
Ok, but what is it with dickheads going up a mountain in the most inappropriate clothing. No, not my footwear choice but the amount of knobbers that were walking up in sandals and actual jogging bottoms all whilst smoking weed was beyond idiotic. It's a mountain. I'm not over-exaggerating when I say that people die up there so treat it with respect.
7) No headphones is best
I always run with music or podcasts playing. Always. For whatever reason on Saturday I didn't and it was glorious. Sure, there were a couple of times on the way back up that i could've done with a bit of noise to help me through it but all in all it was good to be in my own thoughts and enjoy the natural settings. I'm not in rush to try this out in the suburbs of Horsham though.
8) The prospect of running in heat is worrying
I know I can't replicate the heat I'll experience during the race but i'm not sure how I'm going to cope with the overwhelming conditions I'm going to have. How will it effect my energy levels on race day? I fear it'll be draining and will knock me out akin to SDW100 last year.
9) Bum DOMS are the worst DOMS
Seriously.... when will this arse pain stop?!
10) Although my quads still feel like they're crying
Chuffing horrendous. STILL! Walking down stairs is horrendous.
11)People are stupid (iii)
Don't know why it bothered me but hearing someone moan about runners on the path seemed strange. We're all trying to achieve our own goals so for someone to dictate what should/shouldn't be going on. Live and let live fella :-)