The journey to a 100 miles has begun and what a start it's been. Following a period of rest and recovery, the last couple of weeks have seen a steady increase in the miles. Most of the miles have been at a fairly easy pace. The purpose has been two fold, firstly, the Taubertal 100 - knight run is through a valley which follows the river Tauber following a cycle path. The largest part of training will attempt to emulate, as close as possible, the terrain that I'll be running on. This not only means increasing the mileage at a sensible rate but also to get out on the roads and paths whilst making it as interesting as possible in order that I retain focus and don't get bored.
It is for that reason that I decided to run in the Peakskyline race at the weekend. I wanted a long run, however at the same time, I wanted it to be fun and adventurous as there are plenty of days in the week where as runners, we simply tick over getting the miles in. Additionally, through being in a race, naturally I'm going to run with more quality in terms pacing and practising fuelling and self sufficiency which is going to be necessary during the Taubertal 100.
Whilst you can have support during the Taubertal, I'll be there alone so I need to ensure that I am not reliant on anyone's support in terms of making decisions for me, handing me this and taking from me that. The fact that there are checkpoints (20 in total) I'll be viewing these as a 'bonus' as opposed to being reliant on them. So the more races I can keep practising my routine the better so that when I'm tired on race day in Germany, it all becomes second nature and requires less logical thinking at the time.
Peakskyline is a race I've visited previously. I completed it last year and therefore am familiar with the route and the toughness of the challenge. Given that I've not been near a hill or mountain for the best part of 8-12 months, I had no expectations for the race and was simply excited to mix up the training and enjoy my running.
It took me a good hour to warm up and get into the swing of the race and find my running feet. However, it came as a pleasant surprise, that I actually was running better than I ever could have imagined under the circumstances. I felt relatively strong and whilst hills were challenging aerobically, the rest of the running, the flats, descents and undulation felt effortless in comparison. Where I was reduced on the climbs, I was more than making up for otherwise. I allowed myself to feel quite exhilarated and was having a fabulous experience. There was an period when I was confused about the route and wasted time trying to find out which way to go (marking wasn't obvious) and I ended up losing about 3-4 minutes getting back on course. I managed to get refocused and surprisingly was holding my position and getting stronger and faster as the race progressed.
Then I messed up the navigation big time, through the schoolboy error of following others, knowing that it's 'not right' but not having the confidence to question it initially as I was a little rusty on the course route. This cock up cost me about 7-8 mins maybe and I realised that any thoughts of equaling my time from last year on the course had now been blown. I was on track for bettering my time considerably, however with the 3rd Nav error, (yes there was another one) a total of about 15mins had been lost. I was gutted, as I knew my time would not then reflect how I was running during the race. In my annoyance i lost concentration on the terrain and paid the price with a pretty spectacular fall, tearing the skin from my arms, and left leg. I did that crazy thing of assessing the damage, (superficial skin injuries) and carried on in pain! There is some learning though. Pirmarily, that although my anger was fleeting, I have a choice as to how to respond to any situation, and choosing anger was not helpful in any way out on those trails on this day. I also learnt that after a nasty fall, and in considerable pain, that I can put it all aside and carry on running and deal with the aftermath when I'm making up the story later through telling others. Another example of ego at it's finest!
Nonetheless, the point of the run was to get some quality distance miles to get me kick started for Germany. So, on that level, mission accomplished and I look forward to next weekend when I'll be running the Bradwell half Tour (16 miles with 3000ft ascent).
|1st Lady - Beth Pascall, 2nd Lady - Tracy Dean, 3rd Lady- Fiona Lynch|