“Like a snail without your house” is what my boyfriend said to me about running without my pack! Rather than take offence at the insult of being so slow at the moment this really made me laugh! The pack and its contents are such a big part of the MDS journey. Yesterday I ran the Trollers trot – 25mile off road run with 8kg weight on my back. No prizes for time but a great run in the bank and another confidence boost.
Yesterday was an exciting day in my MDS world. I met the local MDS celebrity Mark Roe – author of the book ‘Running from the shadows’ which was the first of many books I read when I entered MDS. It gave me such insight into the race and the race preparation. Even more exciting he recognised me from this blog! It’s not just my mum reading this (which is also exciting to learn!). By chance we met one of our future tent mates too. It is getting so real now!
This last week so much seems to have happened. The race organisers have ‘leaked’ some information about the route. This year the long stage will be the longest in MDS history. This means it will be over 92km! The guestimates are that it will be 100km. Wow! 62 miles in one stage. How long will that take me? Will I be able to finish it in a day and still get a rest day? Or will I need to sleep out on the course and take the rest day as a second running day? Who knows? I think I will have to see how it goes?
Rather than this news instilling panic or terror it has made me so so excited. It will soon be here and it is going to be seriously tough! My training is going great and some of the confidence building runs are working a treat. Last weekend I ran the Mary Townley Loop with is a 47 mile bridleway circuit in Yorkshire and Lancashire. It is beautiful scenic and hilly route – although underfoot it is pretty rough. Not sure I’d like to take a horse around some parts of it, nor a mountain bike! http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/mary_towneley_loop_leaflet.pdf
On the day garmin said it was only 45 miles but with over 7000ft of climbing on all kinds of terrain it was tough. The guidance from the national trail booklet says 3-4 days on foot! Yeah right! Not when you are training for the toughest footrace on Earth…..
I ran with MDS taining buddy John. My boyfriend James supported us and two other mates came along on their bikes riding part of the route in reverse which meant we had some good targets knowing we’d meet them along the way. The weather was changeable with some sunshine interspersed with sideways rain. The outcome of the day was we did it and felt great. Walking up the hills and running the rest works well, with 4kg in the pack we returned to where we started, guided by the head torch exactly 12 hours after we started. Moving time of around 10hr20. The biggest achievement of running the Mary Townley loop was perhaps the fact that we were still running at the end. We still felt good and in fact a little disappointed that it wasn’t the 47 mile we expected! Sunday I trotted round at the back as sweeper in the West Yorkshire Winter League cross country series. Aside from being very tired this week there have been no ill effects and on learning that the long MDS stage will be 62 miles – at least I know now I can do 3/4 of that and feel ok. Looking forward with childish giddiness now!
In more practical terms all my race food has been tested and purchased!
My race shoes are bought and have been sent off for the velcro so be sewn on. That was a mini drama in itself! Wearing a UK size 8 usually and being prone to swollen feet I opted for a size 9 race shoe. My shoe of choice is the salomon womens speedcross 3. When I went to order some size 9’s online no one stocked them! Not even salomon’s own website had any in stock! Argh! With a list as long as my arm of things to sort out, all of it being squeezed around a full time job and training this was the last thing I needed! To the rescue though, my local running shop was able to order some in for me. Better still this meant I could use my Christmas present voucher from my father in law towards paying for them. This feels pretty special too.
All my acclimatisation sessions in the heat chamber are booked. Eeek! So that will be a taper in the heat. The ECG and medical form sign off is booked for this week. My main aim now is to stay in one piece and get to the start line feeling fit. Yesterday was my last long run. I managed to trip over a tiny tree root and superman dive onto the riverbank but wasn’t hurt! It is all coming together well – my aim was to be 65kg starting the race and at 66kg I am nearly there,
4 weeks today I will be completing my first marathon in the Sahara! Woo!