Monday, 19 January 2009
I decided to rest the three weeks left in December after the Last Desert, drank a lot, got ill and started again at the beginning of January. I started winding it back up and ran the Thames Path 50 to London on the 17th Jan. Its a good training event for anything longer as its flat. This year I wanted to run slowly as there were only 3 weeks until the 100. The start of the race is in a disused field next to a car park in Reading. This year I got to the start 5 minutes before the 'gun' in freezing torrential rain and found all the runners huddled in a flock under a red bull hoarding which had seen better days. Someone came over and asked if I had a light and a space blanket so I said yes and he told me to go over to join the others. 50% of competitors hadn't bothered to show, exactly the same as last year when the Thames burst its banks and I had to actually swim a 20 yard section with my bag over my head because the water was so deep, so something like 150 of us went off together.I honestly tried to pace myself as until now I hadn't done much training at all but I couldn't do it and I finished the first 30 miles in a little over 4 hours. Go Hard or Go Home was clearly the choice and I was determined to run every step so i just grit my teeth, tried not to think about the recovery time before the 100 and stuck it. I finished in 7:49 stood at the finish line and turned around, thinking to myself could you now run back? The answer was NO WAY and it then dawned on me that actually I was going to have to FORCE myself to pace Rocky Raccoon otherwise I was going to really screw it up.
Thursday, 1 January 2009
The third chapter in the tale of the 4 deserts finished at the perfect time for me. When the 5th and final stage of the Last Desert got cancelled it was actually a relief. When Mary told us that there was just no way we could risk a landing in the horrendous conditions of the Drake Passage I don't mind admitting that Paul & I exhaled heavily, slapped each other on the back and sat at the bar for 3 days. Most were more than happy to pack away the gear, accept that mother nature (and the good grace of god) had at least granted the opportunity to race 4 stages in the white wilderness. A medal is a medal after all and not a soul on board would have doubt that each one of us fully deserved to wear them with pride. I think the thought in the back of both our minds come the end of stage 4 were 'oh no, dean and evgeniy are getting stronger' and whilst neither of us would shy away from a hard race I think 4 deserts in one year for him and 12 months of solid racing for me including 3 big international trips had taken its toll. So we got back to dry land and it took around 30 minutes to come up with the next idea, Rocky Raccoon 100 in Texas on the 7th Feb. I signed up the day I got & back booked some flights. Frank then e mailed us stating that whether we were in or not he would be going into the lottery for the UTMB in August a 100 miler through France, Switzerland and Italy, so stop messing about and get involved after all 46 hour cut off is easily do-able. Bocket and I duly signed up after all how can you turn down a race which has been classed alongside and has the same elevation gains and losses (30,000 feet) as Hardrock. We all got in. Looking forward to a great year.