Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe how I’ve been feeling during July. As I outlined in my previous post, a bout of flu totally knocked me for six at the end of June and brought my training to a grinding halt.

Okay, let’s start by getting all the negativity off my chest!

Lakeland 100 Logo

Lakeland 100 Logo

We’re all doomed!

At the end of June everything had been going to plan, I was in the form of my life and confident about hitting my sub 30 hour target for The Lakeland 100. Three weeks later as I shuffled along on my first post flu run, I was a shadow of my former self and questioning if I could even start Lakeland.

Two and a half weeks later I’ve managed to get some decent mileage in my legs – two 45 mile weeks – and while they still feel leaden I do feel able to run with a rhythm which is encouraging.

Since coming off the second set of antibiotics I’ve had quite a dicky tummy, which is not really confidence building before running a hundred miles. I’ve consulted with my doctors who are running some tests but the good news is that they’re not overly concerned and still supportive of me running at the weekend. I’m now on a diet of plain stodgy food to try and calm my stomach down as much as possible and put me back on an even keel.

Aerobically I’m still ok but my speed has definitely disappeared. I decided to attempt a reverse taper into the race, taking a bit of a risk as it’s an approach I’ve never used before. That said I’ve never run one hundred miles before, so I guess that just means everything will be new!

So everything considered I feel able to toe the start line this Friday in Coniston, something that was still in doubt as recently as a week ago.

Deep breath and relax. That’s enough of the complaining, now for a bit of positivity 🙂

On the plus side

The good news is I’ve been in a similar situation before, facing a race with disrupted training in the run up to it. This does give me some confidence that my legs will kick into gear and muscle memory will get me around the course.

I’ve already acknowledged that my 30 hour goal is off the table and my new goal is to simply to finish within the 40 hour cut off!

This is an iconic race, one that I’ve wanted to do for years and have focussed the last six months of training and racing around, therefore making the thought of not doing it is almost unthinkable. I need to have confidence in the good training I’ve managed to get in during the last few months and start the race slowly and let my legs come to me. It normally takes around 40km for me to get into a rhythm in any ultra, so patience and perseverance will be key to success this weekend.

Kit choices

For the first time ever I will be carrying poles in the race. I used to use these all the time in my mountaineering and outdoor instructor days, and they’re great for reducing the load on your legs, something which I’ll hopefully be grateful of over the 105 mile course.

I’ll also be using Mountain Fuel to sustain me between checkpoints and keep a steady trickle of calories going into me. This seemed to work very well for me at The Fellsman earlier in the year. My slightly dicky tummy is still a big concern nutrition wise but I’m hoping that liquid nutrition will be kinder on my digestive system.

As usual I’ll also be carrying a ziplock bag to carry food out of be checkpoints and try to minimise my time at them. Better to be walking and eating than standing still. Some of the Lakeland checkpoints have an almost legendary status and are supposed to be sights to behold, so it may be trickier to leave than normal!

The one hundred mile competitors also get the option of a drop bag at Dalemain, which is just past the half way point and also marks the start for The Lakeland 50 competitors. I’ll be sending a complete change of clothes, a spare pair of trainers half a size larger than usual, plus some rice pudding, custard and satsumas – my favourite ultra treat. Hopefully I will still be feeling strong at this point and ready to crack into the final 46 miles!

My race objectives

So that just leaves us with my pre-race goals/objectives, which are as follows in order of priority:

  1. Have fun!
  2. Finish before the 40 hour cut off – 10:00 Sunday.
  3. Leave Dalemain (CP8) before the 50 mile runners start – 12:00 on Saturday
  4. Reach Ambleside (CP13) before dark – approx 21:30 Saturday
  5. Finish within 35 hours

I’ve included the last one simply because if I manage 3 and 4 then that would put me on a 35 hour schedule and therefore gives me something to focus on for the final 25km of the race.

Follow my progress

Well there we have it, nothing left to do now but finish my taper and race. Due to the nature of the terrain we’ll be running through I won’t be carrying a tracker with me this time around. If you want to follow my progress though all is not lost. A tracking website will have live updates of all competitors, showing which checkpoints we’ve passed through and when, along with our overall race position.

The tracking website is now live, ahead of the the race start at 18:00 this Friday. I’m race number 327 – the same number I had at The Fellsman! – so feel free to follow my progress there.

Alternatively the tracking system will also be automatically posting updates to my twitter feed as I arrive at each check point.  If Twitter is your thing, feel free to follow me and use that as a way to keep up to date on my progress.

Further details on the route and checkpoints – so you can work out how far I have left to run! – can be found on the route page of The Lakeland 100 website.

I am both daunted but excited about the race before me. Yes my preparation has not gone entirely as I’d hoped but this is a race I have wanted to do for years and I’m really look forward to embracing it and giving it everything I have.

Bring it on!