Quick post, kit is now sorted, drop bags are packed. A good meal tonight and as much sleep as I can muster. 6 am tomorrow I hopefully run further and longer than I ever have before, the weather looks ok so that’s one less thing to worry about.
Suffice to say I am nervous, this is quite simply going to be the toughest run of my life and is completely unknown territory. That said with the 7 P’s in mind (Proper Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance) I have been preparing my race plan, more on that a but further down.
Ankle still isn’t right and I have accepted that it won’t be 100% before the Ultra, so strapping it up with tape and being careful will be the order of the day. I have managed to get a long run in (well longish) a couple of weeks ago, running 30 miles on and around the North Downs. With the heat we are getting at the moment I set off nice and early leaving the house around 5am, already by 9 it had become uncomfortably warm. Given I would need to carry a lot of water I had a hydration bladder in my UD Scott Jurek pack as well as the 2 600ml bottles, even with that I set my house as a checkpoint and ran a 16 mile out and back east bound on the downs, re-filled my fluids and headed out again for a 9 mile out and back west bound on the downs, then back again, re-filled and a further 5 miles.
Another positive of this run was the fact that this was the first run in my new New Balance Minimus Amp (MT1010) trainers and they performed admirably, no sore points at all. To run this distance in a new shoe and come out unscathed is a big plus and these are the trainers I will be tackling the 100 in.
The day after was a rest day and then it was back on the bike to and from work with a run at lunch on the Monday. Despite not doing a huge amount of running my recovery times seem to be coming right down and I can only assume its the cycling which is helping with this. Normal cycle commute for the rest of the week with another lunchtime run on the Friday and a 6.6 mile run on Sunday 21st.
The Pacing Plan
I am approaching this one differently than the 50 last year, where as that I was looking for an average pace across the whole distance, with the 100 I have broken each aid station down into a stage and pace each as needed.
You can see that from the start to Aid 1 I am aiming for 13:14/mi average then Aid 1 to Aid 2 a 14:06/mi and so on. With my Garmin at each checkpoint I will stop, save and reset for the next stage breaking it all down while keeping overall track of time on my normal watch. This way it keeps the event more mentally bearable, thinking of the next checkpoint and when there just thinking “only 10 miles to the next one” and so on.
Also I have a minimum pace, what is needed to keep within the 30 hour cut off. This is to help if things don’t go to plan and ensure I won’t be left wondering what to do if plan A goes out the window.
I haven’t finalised this aspect yet although I have most of my gels, electrolytes. I will be using the checkpoints for food as well as replenishing fluids and having bottles instead of a bladder (as in the 50) will make things easier.
Got my shoes, got the clothing sorted, backpack and bottles all done. I have all the items for the minimum mandatory kit barring the Harveys East Map of the NDW (getting in a few days) and battery’s for my Headtorches.
In terms of planning, kit and nutrition I am pretty confident I have (and will) get it right, the unknown is if my body holds up and if I am mentally tough enough to push through the hurt and keep plodding forth.
Update 01/07/2013: It’s actually 40 days away not 20, I was reading the wrong countdown! 40 days still isn’t long though but a lot better than 20. Post now corrected.
That’s how long until the North Downs Way 100!!!
This week has actually resembled something akin to actual training, my first proper week since being injured. Obviously with the TMW on the previous Saturday it wasn’t going to be a massive week for mileage, I am having to build myself back up.
Monday was a rest day as I had taken the extra day off work so spent it with the family. Tuesday it was back at work so a 11.5 mile cycle in the morning and a 12 mile cycle in the evening. My legs were still pretty sore from the marathon but the cycling actually helped to loosen everything up.
Wednesday the usual cycle but I have now started to run on my lunch break. I don’t have the time to do anything too long but can just about squeeze in 3-4 miles. This was the first run without any strapping on and although still sore my ankle held ok, it was road running so the risk is lowered. This was a fairly pacey run for me with 3.43 miles in 26:02.
Thursday again cycling and a lunchtime run, same route but I managed to get the time down to 25:32 which potentially is a new PB for a 5km run, which given the lack of any real speedwork (or training for that matter!) I was very pleased with.
Saturday was a long run across the North Downs, I was aiming for anything between 15 – 20 miles and ended up with 16.78 miles. I stopped to take pictures and enjoy the views so it wasn’t a quick one, also I still can’t dash down the technical trails so I am having to just plod along.
Good news is that I felt ok throughout the run and had plenty of energy at the end, so I am getting there but the question is can I get there in 20 days.
It had been a fairly good month, with the NDW50 coming up I had run 10 miles on the 1st, cycled a total of 23 miles on the 2nd, a 2.25 mile running speed session on the 3rd and a reasonably paced trail run of 5.5 miles on the 5th. The plan had been to run a 10 miler on the 6th and continue to cycle for the rest of the week, tapering down for the 50.
I set out on my run on the Monday, with the weather perfect and feeling good. I had run out to a 5 mile point, taking in a section of the North Downs Way and was heading back to complete my run.
At about 6.5 miles I rolled my ankle, when I say rolled my ankle I mean ROLLED it. I was floored instantly, but I have rolled my ankles before and the pain subsided to allow me to jog slowly on. A few yards down the trail it rolled again and if the first time hurt, this was something else. I had to sit down, physically shaking with the pain and I knew that I had to call it a day and walk (the 3 miles) home.
Like buses these things come in three’s and about a mile into my trudge home it went for a third time and again I was floored. I eventually picked myself up again and grabbed a nearby stick and slowly got home.
Below is a sequence of photos showing the progression of the swelling and bruising on my ankle
I went to the hospital today and had an X-Ray and my ankle prodded and poked. The good (great) news is that it’s not broken, which is a huge plus. The nurse said there was a lot of tissue damage and was prodding to find any pain points but other than a little twinge it was pretty painless. She was moving the ankle through its range of motion and was pretty surprised that something which looked this bad didn’t cause more pain, hopefully indicating that the damage is not as severe as it could have been.
I have been given some crutches to keep the weight off it but I am actually able to walk on it, hold my foot flat on the ground and stand with weight on it. Despite these positives it’s not going to be a quick fix and will take 4-6 weeks before I can run again. Knowing this I had to withdraw from the NDW50 (hence being gutted).
It’s not all doom and gloom though, I have more desire than ever to get that 100 miles under my belt in August and am going to make sure I do everything to help me achieve that. So it’s now a full course of RICE then when able to some re-habilitation exercises and cycling and swimming.
The last post I wrote on my training I was a little down on the lack of running and worried about the ultra in May, as of today I am feeling much better in myself.
This week I have done something (either cycling or running) every day and despite feeling a little sore as I sit here and type, am feeling in good shape. Monday through to Thursday it was the usual cycle commute to and from work, with me covering a total of 94.66 miles for the week. The wind throughout the week added to the challenge of this, in the mornings it was behind me on an essentially down hill route but in the afternoon it would be blowing in my face the whole, uphill return journey (by Thursday evening my legs were battered)
Friday saw me try out running in my lunch break. As time is limited I opted to do a 2 mile speed session, running this in 14:41 with an average pace of 7:16/mi which for me is quick and given my lack of any speed training so far something I was pleased with, this set me up well for the long run on Saturday.
My long run started early with me getting up around 06:30 to get my kit ready and head out as soon as possible. My plan for the day was to run around 20 miles with the minimum kit required for the NDW100 in August. My reasoning for this was in part to get used to the weight of the stuff needed, but also to test out the Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Race Vest that I would be using for the event (and the NDW50)
I will go into more detail on the race vest in a separate review, but suffice to say after the unimpressive first run in it last week, I am sold on it now (why in my review)
Setting out at around 07:25 I headed out to join the North Downs Way following my usual route, picking up the NDW just before Gravelly Hill.
From Gravelly Hill I headed East along the North Downs Way, stopping as and when to grab some photos not worrying too much on the timing, just enjoying being outside in the sun.
I carried on east just past what would be Botley Hill checkpoint on the NDW50/100 until I reached just over 10 miles (around Tatsfield), turned around and reversed my route to bring me in a nice 20.
Pace wasn’t terrible
North Downs Way has dried out significantly
SJ pack with a full load in it is awesome
Hoka’s didn’t give me blisters on my insteps since taking out the insoles
I wasn’t completely shattered at the end
Hokas gave me blisters on my big toes instead
Could have done with more gels or some solid food
Wanting to finish the week on a high and get another run in, I went for an easy paced 7 mile run in the mid morning which although still a bit achy from the Saturday wasn’t too bad
Despite not doing a massive amount of running it seems that the cycling and shorter runs have allowed me to maintain the capacity to still do the longer runs, which is comforting. I am not going to rest on my laurels and realise that the 50 in 27 days is still going to be a challenge, but one I am going to give my all to.