My year to date has been fairly consistent, despite the UK weather, I have managed to get out 4-5 times a week, including a nice gentle long run on a Sunday.
However, up until a few weeks back, I did not really have any races booked in for 2014. Those of you that know me will realise this is quite an unusual situation for me, and was starting to become the source of heightened internal anxiety, due to the associated lack of focus and meandering training which it engenders.
Still, nothing is certain in life except change (and death and taxes, of course), so it was only a matter of time before I made some arrangements. The speed with which everything happened surprised even me though.
As a result of running many ultra marathons throughout 2013, I am now sloooooow. It is a perennial problem when you concentrate on increasing your endurance through running distance, your speed will suffer – for most of us mortals anyway; just look at the elite runner blogs to see how ‘real’ runners get on! In my defence, I wanted to take things relatively gingerly in my first full year back racing, but now my recuperation is now a distant memory, I though it was time to do some speed work and what better way to gauge progress on this than a spring marathon! So, having completely missed the registration for the London Marathon last year, I plumped for the Edinburgh marathon. The weekend at the end of May has a whole host of races for the whole family, so that should be a fun weekend.
Of course, my heart lies on the trails, and in the mountainous ultras, so of course a road marathon doesn’t really satiate my appetite for long, and since I had accumulated a great mass of ‘points’ to qualify for the UTMB, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, I thought I would try my chances in this respect. The race is very popular nowadays and of the 5 people I knew who registered and enters the lottery process for one of the 2500 or so places, I was one of only two who was successful. So that’s the end of August sorted out as well, and the kids are very excited to go back to stay on the chalet with the outside jacuzzi they last enjoyed back in 2009, while I was slogging around the 103 mile course around the base of Mont Blanc 😆
Similarly to last year though, I was keen to find an early season race to test my winter base training, and ensure I can iron out any problems before the season really starts, so a few weeks back I entered a local race along the North Downs; the Pilgrim Challenge starts practically at the west most point, in Farnham and then traces through many of my normal haunts, to end up 33 miles down the trail. This happens on the Saturday. Then on the Sunday, you turn round and do it all in reverse.
Should be fun 🙂
This weekend will be quite busy then, trailing from Farnham, to Puttenham, Compton, the Chantries, St Martha’s, Newland’s and Ramore Common and onto the finish at Merstham. I’m hoping it won’t be completely taken up with racing, but at least it’s a start and although the weather isn’t looking too good, at least the last 10 miles or so will be new ground to break.