First segment of “Hard as Nails” training completed!! It was a tough 3 weeks taking in around 210 miles on road and scenic Jersey coastal and cliff paths culminating in a 3 day back to back session averaging 20 miles per day for the 3 days. Happily I completed the 3 days well, and felt good after each day, and managed to run each day at a decent pace, so all on track and looking good at the moment.
I took the opportunity over the week after the tough training to take it easy and to let my body recover and repair, scaling down the mileage to a still respectable 48 miles for the week but maintaining a lower intensity and less frequency. I visited a local masseur Samantha Wade at Tonic Body and Skincare (Click here) who massaged my legs back to normal and I even had a lie in at the weekend just gone which was much appreciated. It wasn’t all self pampering though and I was out for a nice Sunday 15 mile run the weekend just gone with my friend Simon McKenzie where the sun came out and it almost felt like spring! (Apart from the woolly hats, gloves, puddles and wet feet!)
|Good Game! Good Game! 🙂
So everything feels like it has now settled down, little niggles that were starting to appear have been tended to and I am now tapering for the XNRG Pilgrims Challenge Ultra Race. This takes place on Sat 3rd and Sun 4th Feb and is 33 miles on each day over the North Downs in England. This is a very popular race amongst people training for the MDS and I expect to meet quite a few people from the UK who are travelling to Morocco in April over the weekend. I think I am looking forward to this as much as the race. The forecast for the race is sunny on the Saturday with rain on the Sunday which I will take as last year it snowed on the Sunday and apparently the going was pretty tough. This will be the last race I do before the MDS so will be nice to gauge where I am and to identify any tweaks to my training regime.
Next weekend also sees us moving into single figures with the amount of time left before I go to Morocco. 9 weeks! Basically right now everything is about the MDS: Training, equipment choice, mental preparation, massages, nutrition, fund raising, thinking about MDS, writing about MDS and talking about it 🙂 I can imagine people who know me & who don’t run might be a little MDS’ed out to be honest. I am not particularly nervous at this point, more excited, although there have been a few reports of people getting injuries who were due to take part in 2013 which is a little unsettling. It’s the delicate balance of training and putting stress on the body to improve vs. not putting too much on the body so that it cant cope.
I got a great quote off Canadian ultra runner Jason Loutitt when I contacted him a few weeks ago which kind of sums up the balancing act of rest vs. training and also testifies to his abilities as a runner: “The more you cross that ‘too tough’ barrier in training, the easier the race will be and the better the result guaranteed… But to do that and not get injured is everything so you have to really know your body. If you don’t have good body awareness take subtle training like Pilates. If all good and you can kill yourself in training, stay on top of recovery in all aspects – nutrition, massage etc. Give ‘em sh1t out there!” I didn’t realise this at the time but he had about 10 hours or so previously come second in a 100 mile race called the H.U.R.T. 100 miler in Hawaii so was pretty awesome of him to come back with advice at all, let alone so quickly after a race!
As I have previously covered in this blog one of the big factors of prep for the MDS is equipment, particularly the clothes you wear, the shoes you wear and the rucksack you carry. I have pretty much decided on the clothing and recently took order of some shiny new Salomon gear courtesy of Craig Meredith at Fit 2 Function here in Jersey (click here) who is a specialist local supplier of Salomon and Inov-8 trail running shoes, accessories, clothing and hydration packs amongst other things.
I have decided on my footwear (99% anyway..!!) and have opted for the Salomon Crossmax Guidance Trail shoe which is a road to trail shoe. It has great support; great grip and is very cushioned so on the surface appears to fit the requirements I have for MDS. I tried them over the weekend on the cliff paths in very boggy, sludgy wet conditions and the grip was second to none. I found them to be very comfortable and I really felt the medial support post in them and as someone who pronates i feel that the support will come in to play quite heavily in the latter stages of a stage or a race. I will test them further this weekend at the Pilgrims and then decide more fully after this. Once I have decided on the vital shoe choice, I need to get them off to a cobbler where I need Velcro sewn around the whole shoe in order to be able to attach the sand gaiters that will keep the sand out of my shoes/socks and protect my feet from blisters (hopefully!)
Other equipment I have been testing includes the Power Traveller Explorer Solar Power Charger, which was kindly provided to me by the guys at www.mymemory.co.uk. An amazing bit of kit which is a battery that can be charged by a solar panel, which is handy as I hear there is a lot of sun in the Sahara! I am in the process of testing this to see how many charges I can get out of the battery, how quickly the solar panel charges the battery and general reliability of the item.
Once the Pilgrims is done, it looks like another 3 weeks of intensive training is on the cards within which I hope to introduce some weight to replicate running with a more heavily laden rucksack, a bit of running on sand and also a bit of Bikram yoga to get used to heat and also maintain flexibility. On Feb 16th a few of us are going to run round the island of Jersey (48 miles) as there are a number of us taking part in long distance events over the coming months (Simon McKenzie – Thames Path 100 and South Downs 100, Phil Taylor – Endurancelife CTS Ultra Sussex, Leanne Rive – Connemara Road Ultra, Matt Cuthbert South Downs 100) So alot of races for Jersey runners coming up in the next few months with alot more on the horizon in 2013 for those of us hoping for UTMB qualification for next year. But that is another story…. Happy training!
I will be running in aid of Jersey Hospice care and in memory of my friend Natalie Moss – if you would like to donate please visit my just giving page here