Saturday, 9 July 2011

Looming Large - Lakeland 100

So, dear reader, the end is nigh.  Just three weeks to the Lakeland 100.  Am I ready? Well I've not quite finished my preparations but more of that in a mo.  First a reminder of what I've got in store.  The route:

My original plan was to get my weight below 12 stones (76 kg) and increase my power-to-weight ratio.  My battle with the weight has been intersting.  I noticed that if I lost weight after a few decent training sessions then I'd put it back on even faster.  It was as if my body was a sponge which would over compensate for the enforced weight loss by sucking up everything it could.  I started out at the beginning of the year at almost 13 stones.  I've managed a gradual downward trend with a very fluctuating weight between 12 st 2 lb and 12 st 9 lb, with a norm of around 12st 5lb.  However, this is not as bad as it first appears as I've definitely lost the excess fat around my waist.  I think this weight loss has been countered by a weight gain in muscle mass on my legs.  I'm definitely stronger on the hills than I used to be.  My leg muscle definition is much more pronounced than it used to be. So, overall I feel and look to be in much better shape than I've ever been.  This is backed up by my recent performance on the Lakeland recces and recent local runs.  No complaints there.

Other changes I've made to help improve things is to get fitted with contact lenses.  The glasses were a major hindrance in wet or humid weather (classic Lakeland conditions) with steaming up and being covered in droplets. I did consider getting laser treatment but that seemed a step too far.  The run will take so long that daily lenses are good enough. I've had to resort to monthly lenses.  I've also had a couple of wobbly moles removed from my back.  They were getting sore from wearing a rucksac for several hours so my GP kindly whipped them off.  They've just healed nicely.

I've also invested in some lightweight poles.  They are amazing.  As soon as I start using them it's as if the hill flattens out.  I drop my friends and zoom off up the hill reaching the top feeling much fresher than without them.  I'm going to be very grateful for them in the second half of the event.  I'd recommend them to anyone, but if you do get some make sure you can store in an easily accessible place.  My rucksac is brillant for this.  I can reach back into the side pocket to store or retrieve the poles without stopping.

I've also noticed some interesting phsycological changes.  A 'short run' now is around 15 miles.  A longer training session is of ultramarathon distance.  I've probably done well over a dozen runs between 25 - 30 miles or more and thought nothing of it.  I noticed this last year when I did the Bullock Smithy run.  With 13 miles still to go I felt that it was all but over.  It's amazing how the mind works. 
So, with three weeks to go maybe I should start tapering.  Or maybe I should support my mate Dave on his Bob Graham Round attempt next weekend.  Sound like a good idea to me.  I can't resist the chance of a last minute trial (and trail) run so I've going to start with supporting him on Leg 2, (they're going clockwise so that's Threlkeld to Dunmail) at around 11:00 pm and then seeing how far I can get.  I intend to go all the way to Keswick (target time of 17:30 p.m. the next day) but will happily drop out if I feel it's taking too much out of me.  That will give me a good idea of how I cope with an overnight run and will allow me two weeks to taper/recover (and, if I'm honest, it gives me another excuse to get up into the lakes).  My only real concern is getting some sort of injury but that's a risk I'll have to take. 

Physically and mentally I feel that I'm in the best place I could hope to be. The recces have been invaluable.  I reckon that I can get round without having to refer to the map or route guide.  So, wish me luck, and I'll be reporting back on how I got on. 

Watch this space. 

P.S. If you haven't sponsored me yet, now's your chance.

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