Running to Utopia, well maybe not quite yet…
“Another running blog?!” I hear you all groan. Well yes, but no one makes us read these do they!
I thoroughly enjoy reading all of these fantastic, informative and insightful blogs, race reports and general discussions from people: some I know well, others I hope to meet one day. No matter the level of these runners, I find it fascinating to read about these personal experiences. That fact that they choose to share these with the depth of detail a weblog allows is great, providing me with constant motivation and admiration for such a fantastic community.
I guess I want to join in with this community and to share a little more than a brief FB status update or tweet accompanied by a random picture of a hill every time I feel like I have done something remotely interesting. Not to dilute all that is on FB, I enjoy these in their own right, and not everyone has the time to do anything more I will continue doing this – I just felt that sometimes I wanted to provide some more depth and details to certain adventures, in the hope that others get some enjoyment reading about my suffering!! Hopefully if you are reading this, then you are at least slightly interested, and of course feedback from anyone is always great!
Though I have had some success in my very short time of running adventures, I still consider myself very much a novice, particularly in ultra distances, I love the constant challenge and opportunities to learn which come with this sport, I am having an absolute blast trying to figure it all out! I am also fortunate enough to be surrounded by some very interesting people which lead to some great experiences! These people are a constant inspiration, source of motivation and support to me, the most important of which is my wonderful girlfriend Kim, without whom I would probably still be throwing myself down mountains on a bike, and not be the happy healthy chap who still throws himself down hills, but now without the bike! (if you don’t know check out: Glencoe Down hill or Yorkshire Moto X) Please bear with me though; this is a new venture/adventure, and considering the quality and standards of other excellent blogs out there, a little intimidating.
So what is there to come? My main focus this year has been the CCC in the Alps at the end of August. The whole event appealed to me since first hearing it being described by various influential people last year (Jon and Shirley) – a chance to run through 3 different countries around the Mont Blanc mountains in a huge festival like atmosphere! Also, having the opportunity to then witness some of the world’s best runners including some of whom we are lucky enough to know, in the UTMB afterwards. The CCC`s distance of 60 miles, with 20k ft of climbing sounded challenging enough for me to be out of my comfort zone, but not enough to completely phase me. By entering this I felt it would help me to focus my attention and emphasize the need to learn more about running further with long climbs.
Along with me being lucky enough to get through the CCC ballot, Kim also managed to get in the new OCC race, which is the last 30 miles of the UTMB route including a considerable amount of climbing at 10k ft, starting the day before my race, this would allow us to support each other and see us start/finish our respective events – brilliant, so we are now heading out 2 weeks before hand to make a proper holiday of it!
Before heading of on our holiday, this coming weekend Kim and I are travelling down to Buxton in Derby for the 2nd UK Sky race, the PeakSky race, the route being 30 miles long with over 7k ft of climbing After coming second in the first of the series, the V3K in Snowdon, a longer, higher and incredibly technical race, I thought this might be less of a challenge! We recced this last weekend and were a little surprised to find how tough and varied the route is, with a variety of terrain, from cow fields to technical rocky descents, plus some cheeky climbs (including the Man of Steele`s Shining Tor Hill) This is a fairly key preparation race for me, with an opportunity to test out the legs after a few months of focused training in what looks like a strong field.
I wanted to have a back up race to the CCC, as I felt under a lot of pressure putting everything this year into one race; knowing anything could happen leading up to this, I would feel more relaxed and able to enjoy myself if the CCC was not the only thing in the diary. So the 3rd UK Sky race the 3 x3000 Ultra in the Lakes fitted into that perfectly, sitting a month after the CCC (plus the day after my birthday) on 4th October I felt this was enough time to recover but retain the strength and experience gained from being in the Alps. It already looks like a really competitive field and in an area I am still finding my way around; this should present lots of new challenges in itself!
This year finishes off with Kim and I doing last UK Skyrace in the series, the Mourne Skyline MTR over in Northern Ireland. This is only a couple of weeks after the 3×3000 but with some seriously tough climbs, I will either be pretty worn out or on good form for this one, so will be treating this as a fun event, using the opportunity to gain experience in travelling then racing in an unfamiliar environment.
Training wise; I guess is a whole other blog in itself, though another huge learning curve, from some great support and help from someone I would consider a very understanding and quite advanced physio, to some slightly strange ideas involving squeezing a treadmill into our front hall and raising the front onto blocks to get the extra hill training! I may post something on this separately, I just need to see if any of it has paid off yet!
Then that should be everything in 2014, I plan to take a month off training in November, but already have ideas on how to approach my training next year, with a few weak areas to work on in the winter. I will of course be doing some of the winter Hardmoors races, I always love the routes Jon creates and the raw toughness of the moors, these just epitomize everything I enjoy about running and the community around them; they always leave me buzzing and feeling ready for more.
So I will try to update and share the worthwhile stuff when I can, I will be amazed if these plans don’t change along the way, or some extra stuff does not get squeezed in, but such is life! looking forward to sharing…