The days and weeks keep slipping by and all of a sudden it would appear to be March 2013. Not even the start of March – it’s now the 13th of March which means the 2013 D33 Ultramarathon is only 3 days away!
This time last year I was in full race-preparation mode and absolutely raring to go. This year it’s been a little bit different obviously as it’s not my first ultra, but also training does not stop at this race for me this year. I’m taking a far more relaxed approach which has allowed me to enjoy race week so far and just look forward to racing. I have a few ideas about what I’m going to aim to achieve on race day, what I’m going to eat and what I might be wearing, but in comparison to last year I’m so laid back I’m practically horizontal.
The five day weather forecast came online yesterday and I’ve been obsessively refreshing BBC weather to track any changes. I’m not normally this fussed about weather, but right now it has been snowing heavily for the last 24 hours and that does not bode well for a good race. It seems to be melting quickly though, and the forecast actually looks reasonable for Saturday, if a little on the chilly side.
I’ve been lucky enough to never yet raced in truly awful weather. I know this will change at some point, but I’d quite like it not to be this weekend. Last year’s weather was perfect and I even got a head start on my dodgy running tan with some excellent stripes from my running sleeves – let’s keep everything crossed for a repeat of that.
Stonehaven Running Club is doing a couple of mini-buses to transport runners up from the South, as parking is limited and we have over 20 runners taking part. This will be a great and fun way to start the day, but I really hope I don’t get carsick! I’m really looking forward to wearing my club vest again and running my first club championship race – there are 10 ladies running so even if I’m last there are a reasonable amount of championship points to be had.
I know this is the first time I’ve mentioned Club Championship races here, so here’s a quick note from the SRC website on what this means: Nine races have been chosen as the basis for the club championship. An individual can enter all 9 races but only their best 5 scores are added up and the highest scoring male and female will win the cup at the end of the year. Points are scored as follows: the SRC runners are ranked on their finishing places within the overall field, with the ‘winner’ scoring an extra point. So 1st finisher scores 21, 2nd finisher 19 and so on down to the 20th finisher scoring 1 point.)
I’m pleased to report that my training has been going very well; I’m steadily churning out mileage weeks in the mid-40s and am suffering no ill-effects. I took a look at what I’ve done this year so far compared with last year, and I was quite encouraged. At times in the last fortnight or so, it’s felt like I haven’t been working as hard as last year…but it’s obviously because it’s getting easier, not that I’m doing less…
2013 weekly miles so far – you can see in week 6 where I crashed and burned a bit and skipped 30 miles of back-to-back that weekend…
In comparison, 2013 is much heavier on the miles, far more consistent and includes at least two hours of cross training a week on top of the running. I am also about a stone lighter and much, much stronger. All good things.
In terms of my goals for Saturday…I’m still undecided. I will probably call it on the morning, or a few miles into the race. Last year my time was 5hr56m which is 10:47 pace, but I think I could easily shave 10 minutes or so off that without pushing too hard. I know if I decided I wanted to really crush this race I could probably get under 5hr30 but I think that effort might have training consequences which might set me back in my last weeks of preparation for the Highland Fling. I’ve got to keep my eyes on the prize! My Long Slow Runs in training have been at around 10 minute miles, so I reckon I will stick with that kind of pace and see where I am at half way. A steady 10 minute mile pace for the entire race would see me in at 5hr30 but I will be incorporating walking/fueling breaks as usual, although probably every 45 minutes rather than every 30 like last year. It is likely that I will also negative split as well, due to the slight downhill nature of the last section.
So let’s say my goals are as follows:
Bronze – finish strong and uninjured around the same time as 2012
Silver – 5hr 45 or less
Gold – 5hr 30 or less
Platinum – as above, but with a win at the rugby later on that night against France 🙂
I am so excited to do this race for the second time and to see my ultra friends again. The last miles of that race last year are still my favourite running memories ever, and I dearly hope I am luck enough to get a second day of happy times. Kynon is marshaling at the half way point so I will get a nice hug and a kiss to set me off on my way back home, and my Mum is planning on popping up on a couple of occasions too. Hopefully one of them will make it back to the finish in time for me but if not it’s no big deal as all my favourite running people will be out and about, either running or helping.
If this is your first ultra – best of luck to you and I hope you don’t have bad taperitus like I did! It is a wonderfully friendly race and if you don’t already know what the big deal about ultras is, by the end of Saturday you surely will. Just relax and think of it as a nice day out running with friends. Chat to everyone who passes you and be sure to try the flapjacks at half way! Stick around at the end and grab a beer and some cake, then get the train to Stonehaven for the after-party at the Station Hotel.
See you at the start, and remember; fear no distance!