2 Weeks ‘Till My First 100km
2 weeks until my first 100km!
I’m sipping on my coffee as I write this, preparing for my final long run before the SurfCoast Century which is in two weeks time.
Today is a shorter long run – just 20km, mostly along the Roller Coaster Run Course, so not quite an “easy” 20km, but a short long run nonetheless.
Then it’s two weeks of taper tantrums, phantom pains and a good old dose of anxiety as I tear apart my training diary and panic over all the workouts that could have been.
For those who aren’t into ultra running, I know you’re thinking “but you ran 250km across the Simpson Desert, surely 100km is a piece of cake.”
Those who are ultra runners know this is not the case.
The 250km was across 6 days (mostly 5). Yes, the long day was 85km but that is still 15km short of 100km and when you’ve run 85km you know how impossible the thought of running another 15km seems.
The other difference is that because the Big Red Run was a staged race, most of us were running slower than usual because we had to keep something in the tank for tomorrow.
Now with the SurfCoast Century, there is no tomorrow! So while 100km seems like a long run and yes, it is very important to pace myself, I need to be going a lot faster than I did on any of the days of the Big Red Run. I don’t want to leave anything in the tank.
I trained for six months for the Big Red Run. I only had five days off of running after the Big Red Run before I started training for this. I didn’t actually intend on resuming training immediately. It had been my plan to take the rest of July off of running all together and focus on swimming and cycling whilst entertaining the thought of perhaps entering a triathlon later in the year.
Well, my feet were in such a mess after the Big Red Run that I feared putting them in germ ridden pool water. Also, I live on a very steep hill and the thought of getting my bike up and down that hill all seemed too much for my exhausted little brain. Running up and down that hill though didn’t seem problematic at all. On day 5 of rest, my feet had finally shrunk enough that I could put shoes on. Well, if the shoe fits, then one might as well go for a run!
Anyway, that is how my training began. I started training thinking I would enter Yurebilla 56km in SA. I’m originally from SA but have never run an ultra marathon or even marathon there. 56km seemed like a nice distance too. Not too taxing on the body or the mind so soon after the Big Red Run.
The Gods of Metal didn’t think this plan should go ahead though. Meshuggah and Lamb of God set to play on the same day in Melbourne. For days I thought about devising a plan that would ensure I could do both, but it was not to be.
Let it be known that when I first started running, I would measure my progress in metal songs (days before Garmins). When I started out I could run 3 Arch Enemy songs without stopping. Then it was 4 Arch Enemy Songs and so on.
When I started training for my first half marathon, I’d run to entire Lamb of God Albums – one album = one long run.
When I started training for my first marathon, the goal was to run to four Machine Head Albums. That would mean I was ready for the marathon.
So, you can understand my hesitation at disappointing the Gods of Metal, after all they have done for me and my running. So when the Gods of Metal proposed an alternative, I felt I had to take it. SurfCoast Century Saturday, Lamb of God and Meshuggah Sunday. Yes please!
I was hesitant though and I still am. It’s 100 fucking kilometres!
This will be my first 100km event and I am not as well prepared as I would have liked, but I entered this event last year and had to pull out due to a stress fracture so I’ll be damned if I pull out twice.
I’ll do my best. The fact that we are running for beer stines appeals to the old alcoholic buried deep inside me and hopefully that will push me on (those who finish within 12 hours get a 1ltr beer stine, those under 16 hours a 700ml beer stine, after 16 hours you get some crappy certificate – not even a finishers medal! That rubs me up the wrong way but is a topic for another day).
I have had six weeks of good training leading up to this where I have ran around 70km a week (substituting quality sessions over quantity). I have incorporated speed work, my weekends have included back to back long runs, I have included at least two runs a week with similar elevation profiles to the most challenging part of the SurfCoast course). I have kept up my yoga and my weight training and some half arsed attempt at swimming (I find the swimming really helps with the carrying a pack aspect of ultrarunning). I even ran a marathon in there somewhere as a training run and I know that given I only had 5 days rest after the Simpson Desert run, that those six months of training leading up to that event will also benefit me here.
BUT, other than the marathon, my long runs have not exceeded 30km. Mentally I just haven’t been able to psych myself up to run any further than this. My weekly mileage is only 70km (I feel it should be more even though I’m doing tougher sessions) AND whilst I usually taper for three weeks for big runs, I’ll only be tapering for two weeks.
I have also managed to put on about 3 or 4 kg since the Simpson Desert making up for those God awful freeze dried meals. It might not sound like a lot but carrying an extra 4kg 100km is less than ideal.
Okay, so there is all my nervous analysis out on the table.
All that aside, something Pat Farmer had said to all of us during the Big Red Run and that he repeated at a recent fundraising dinner I went to keeps ringing in my ears –
If you really truly want something, you will find a way. If you don’t really want it, then you will simply find an excuse.
My training might not have been up to scratch for a 100km race but what do I really want here? I’m not aiming to break any record, what I want to do is finish this thing.
Back in 2012, I hadn’t even run a marathon but I had decided I wanted to run an ultramarathon. I signed up to the SurfCoast Century and so many people told me I couldn’t do it. I posted something on CoolRunning asking for advice and all these old belligerent men told me I couldn’t run it – I was too slow, too inexperienced, too heavy to be an ultrarunner. Well fuck them. Fuck them then and fuck them now.
I CAN and I WILL run this bloody thing.
Now, off for a run! 😀