Saturday, January 23, 2016

An Expanding Sense of Aversion - 10 Weeks to Go

I am developing a recurrent craving to do almost anything other than run.
I love my gym sessions - twice a week at Craiglockhart Sports Centre with the irrepressible Michael. There's double-edged adjective if ever I saw one, but he's great, leading small bunches of us through quick high-intensity intervals and circuits. I have learned that one of the best ways to guarantee failure and injury while running is to only run. You need to be strong all over. And I love my yoga as well. And just walking. Or cycling. And I'm even starting to feel like swimming again despite the fact that sharing a swimming pool is a social and sensory nightmare for me.
Running isn't delivering me as much euphoria and satisfaction as it usually does. There's a lot of it to get through each week and while I'm feeling relieved to have got through eight weeks of this regime (forty runs now - oh my) without any injury more acute than aching joints and twinges in the tendons, and pleased that I've shifted to a softer running style that doesn't bring these on, I don't feel like a sportswear model when I'm out doing it.
The present is uncomfortable to inhabit so my mind is taking refuge in the future. In ten weeks' time I'm actually going to be doing this. What will it be like? There are some clues in these blogs from first-timers who've done it before: Pursued By Angry Bees, and Lee Shearer. While I'm glad that both these correspondents actually finished (and by no means all the runners do) I'd been hoping to do a bit better and get to the finish about ten hours after setting off. I'm encouraged that the stewarding and support sounds excellent. I am going to experience extreme mood swings during this event.
So, no change there.
One thing that's constant in accounts of this and all other ultras is that you need to eat a lot, and keep your blood glucose topped up. Just as my training for this has involved a U-turn, from little and fast to lots and slow, so my nutrition will have to change. I eat an Atkins or Paleo style diet with far more fat and protein than I used to. I don't eat simple carbs, so bread, pasta, grains, and potatoes are all off. And sugar's a complete no. I've lost the best part of 20kg as a result. But on the day of this race, that's all going to have to change. I'll have to eat food that's portable and energy dense. And I'll have to practice eating it as well. So some time in the next two months, I'll be heading out for a 26-mile training run carrying forbidden food - muesli bars, dates, dried apricots - just to verify whether it works.
I'll be carrying it in my new toy, once it's arrived. It's a proper running hydration vest. I have justified the expense by remembering that I can use it to take a clean shirt, towel and my lunch on my run to work on weekday mornings. That's the second big expenditure for this event, following my head torch, also a mandatory item. Since I'm so busy that I have to do three to four of my runs in darkness at this time of year, the torch getting quite a lot of use. It can also be worn indoors if you want to be completely insufferable to your spouse or partner. My final splurge will be a new GPS running watch. My current one works, and my excuse for replacing it is that it won't stay charged for the duration of the race. So it's a 16-hour model next. This will have five years of other design improvements which I'll enjoy.
You can see where my mind is. I'm distracting myself with gear and gadgets (oh yes - I'll need another two pairs of shoes before this is over) and trying to scry the future from others' experiences because the present is a bit of a grind.
This week was what my schedule calls a Cycle Down week. I've been allowed to ease of the mileage a bit, and I needed to because I was badly hammered by last weekend's back-to-back. Next week it's back to increasing the load. And, for the sake of my confidence, getting donations over £3,000.

Money Raised: £2,838.77
Money to Raise: £2,161.23
Miles run: 300
Miles to run: 654
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