Photo Credit: Esko Anttila
I’ve had a bit of a weird week trying to get my head around the prospect of racing again in just a couple of weeks time. The race seems to have snuck up on me from out of the post Christmas fog and its beginning to loom very large in my future. I don’t usually worry much about races until I’m actually at the start line. My normal form is to try to concentrate on the various elements of preparation that I know I can control and then leave the rest to fate. During the last week however, I’ve found myself drifting towards the end of serious training and now have to seriously consider how to put all of that training to the best possible use. Perhaps it’s also because of the travel involved in getting to the event that I’m a little more uncertain than usual. I feel like it’s a big deal for me to go all the way to Finland and so feel a little extra pressure to do reasonably well.
As a novice at this type of racing there are many practical issues that will present a challenge. When to eat? When to drink? When to walk? How should I pace my effort? I’ve given thought to all of these questions and have half-answers to each and every one of them. I suppose I won’t really know how well I’ve done my homework until well after midnight on the 29th of January. As I’ve trained for the race I’ve been able to push most of these practicalities to the back of my mind and concentrate on getting the ‘heavy lifting’ done. Now that I’m within a week of beginning the taper for the race, my mind has more time to wander and perhaps that’s the main reason why I’ve been so unsettled.
For the last couple of years I’ve only attempted a couple of races of this length in any twelve month period. In 2008 I ran two 100km races and in 2009 I raced a 100 miler and a 24 hour event within a few weeks of each other. Last year I restricted myself to a couple of shorter ultras and then another 100 miler later on in September. I found that each of the really long events left a psychological mark that has remained with me since. I’ve found that such a large investment of personal resources is required to push on through the final stages of these races that the experience is not easilly forgotten.
I’m genuinely very appreciative of the support I’ve had both here and elsewhere since I’ve posted about my plans to race in Finland. A lot of very knowledgeable people have been helping me to get my plans tegether and I’ve had more encouragement than I could have hoped for – certainly more than I deserve.
I need to settle now to the task ahead – to absorb all the good vibes and open up to what should be a great experience.