So what does the remainder of the year hold and more importantly what are my plans for 2015?
Well the year has not ended well if I am honest, with one race being rescheduled and my A race being cancelled altogether. To cap it all I then suffered issues with both my ITB and TFL in my right leg limiting my race choices and threatening the remainder of my season.
One thing is clear, my stated aim of running UTMB at some point in the future. No strict timelines on this as there are a number of hurdles I’ll need to clear first:
- I have only run one official ultra marathon to date and there is a world of difference between 40 miles around Lincolnshire and 100 miles around the tallest mountain in Western Europe!
- You need to gain qualification points from other races before you can even apply for a place through a lottery system.
- The lottery for gaining a place is extremely competitive and therefore it may take years to win a place!
I see UTMB as a long term project, spanning many years. I have to balance the needs of family and work commitments alongside training and racing. Plus there are so many races I’d love to do, so why rush? While I’m sure I could dive into it, go hell for leather at trying to gain a place, I want to enjoy the process and also arrive on the start line feeling ready to undertake what will be a mammoth challenge.
So if it takes 5 years or more then I am more than comfortable with that. There are so many races I’d like to do first, all of which would act as great stepping stones towards UTMB, not least the smaller races that are run on parts of the UTMB course.
So my outline plan for the coming years is as follows:
Run a number of UK ultra marathon’s of increasing distance, aiming to gain 4 UTMB points for a possible application for the CCC race in 2016 or 2017. At the moment I am booked to run the Peddars Way Ultra (47 miles) and The North Downs 50 (miles), the later of which will give me 2 UTMB points if I cross the finish line. Ideally I’d like to also add the Stour Valley Way 100km to this in August 2015 for an additional 2 UTMB points but first we need to plan family holidays and, more importantly, my lovely Wife’s 40th birthday celebrations!
Regardless of outcome of UTMB CCC application, would like to aim to do one or more UK mountain based ultra’s such as The Lakeland 50 and maybe also finally dip my toe into a Mountain Marathon as well.
If not successful in 2016 then I’m hoping I’ll gain a place in CCC this year and continue to enjoy a few other races off my bucket list in the meantime.
But what about triathlon?
Another itch that needs to be scratched is my wish to pick triathlon back up. I believe that half ironman should be my distance of choice, with the length of both the bike and the run proportionally long to the swim when compared to the other distances, playing to my particular strengths. Again conscious of family and work commitments, so will play this by ear for now, using swimming mainly for recovery during 2015 while looking to build it back up to the level it was a few years ago.
Something has to give!
Finally one major decision I have to make in the coming weeks is whether to continue with my entry in The Coast to Coast Sportive (C2C) in 2015. This is a race that I have wanted to do for a number of years and when a number of club mates signed up earlier this year, I quickly paid my entry fee as well. On reflection however I think this may have been a little rash!
While I am still keen to do the sportive, I am also not oblivious to the amount of training riding 150 miles with 4500m of ascent will require. This will mean many hours on the bike and turbo during the first 6 months of 2015, time which will significantly disrupt family life.
On its own this wouldn’t necessarily be an insurmountable problem but when combined with my stated priority for 2015 of gaining 4 UTMB points, then the training and racing volume grows significantly and something has to give.
So I am left with a difficult choice. Do I stick with C2C, withdraw from North Downs 50 and delay my attempt to gain UTMB points for another year? Or do I withdraw from C2C and stick with the plan outlined above?
At the moment I am leaning towards the later but am not 100% sure. I have until Christmas to withdraw from the C2C and still get the majority of my money back, so have a while to think it through. To help with the decision I’m going to sit down and map out my ideal training plan and build into both the C2C and the three Ultras. This should then allow me to fully asssess the impact these will both have on family life, hopefully making the route ahead for me a little clearer.
Watch this space!