Photo Credit: Esko Anttila
I’ve really enjoyed the annual break from work over the Christmas holidays, but have at the same time been training hard for my next ultra which is less than four weeks away now. The event takes place in a town called Espoo which is 20km outside Helsinki in Finland. This race will be a big step into the unknown for me as it’s a 24 hour indoor event. Although I’ve taken part in one 24 hour race before, it was only a few weeks after my first 100 miler in Connemara, and I really wasn’t ready for it either mentally or physically. Although I recorded a decent 100 mile split at that race in France (15:26:02) my eventual distance was a relatively modest 176 kms. My main aim in Finland will be to improve on that total.
Training has gone really well so far and, without ever wanting to tempt fate, I’ve managed to stay injury-free long enough to get some solid weeks of work done. For the first time ever, I trained twice on Christmas Day – an easy run over snow early in the morning (in minus fourteen degrees) and a weights session later on that evening. Keeping to my schedule over the holidays has given me hope that I can complete my preparations over the next couple of weeks and then recover well enough to enjoy myself in Finland.
As the race gets closer my anticipation grows of what should be a great adventure. I’m thrilled at the prospect of seeing a new country, meeting new people and giving it my best shot in the race. While I know well that the best laid plans can so easily go awry, I can’t help but look forward to the challenge. With less than two weeks of real training left and a taper to enjoy/endure there’s a lot to look forward to this month.
Wish me luck!