This is it. The lead up to my first ultra-marathon can now be calculated in hours (56.5 at the time of writing in case you were wondering). I’m not going to ramble on here, only to say that the past few months have been a total rollercoaster of nervous energy vs failure fears vs bipolar confidence. Recently however I have actually started to feel a bit more in control as gear issues were settled and plans went from head to paper. Even something as simple as breaking the whole race down was helpful….I mean if someone came up to me a year ago and told me to complete 100 reps of a 1km run, I may have winced but probably wouldn’t have freaked out too much over the idea.
It is probably safe to say the biggest weight most athletes feel is the pressure of expectation….family, friends, sponsors….they’ve all invested something based on their belief in your capacity to do well. The key is to make sure this pressure remains motivating, not debilitating.
Me?….I’m feeling it. I’ve received amazing support from sponsors, was appointed as a Race Ambassador by race organisers, Rapid Ascent and still see a steady stream of high fives and silent nods of acknowledgement from friends and family. A couple of nights ago, I was served an extra double scoop of ice cold pressure in the form of a magazine article. It seems that Trail Run Magazine saw it fit to actually SEED ME for the race…..at NUMBER f^ing TEN! Tenth?? ….out of 200 individual runners?? Those seeded from #1 to #9 read like a who’s who of the purist running machine fraternity….then there’s me….with my 2012 World’s Toughest Mudder creds. Hit their cool pic below to check out their pre-race review and browse down the seeded runners list….
The simple fact is that finishing is now – more than ever – mandatory. No matter what. I was pretty much unable to walk at the end of WTM12, so at least that feeling isn’t too foreign. Not forgetting that the average pace indicators below all include checkpoint transitions that will involve resupplying from drop bags and general fluffing about, my benchmarks go something like this:
- Finish inside 12 hours.
Average pace required: 7:12/km
Incentive: a glass 1 litre engraved beer stein
State of mind: Ecstatic
- Finish inside 16 hours.
Average pace required: 9:36/km
Incentive: a glass 700ml engraved beer stein
State of mind: Happy
Average pace required: Forward motion
Incentive: Maintain ownership of testicles
State of mind: Satisfied
Here’s a couple of preview videos for you if you feel like a pain-free tour of the course 🙂
As mentioned earlier, my various sponsors have been truly spectacular. Suunto (Sam), Asics (Claire), Protein Supplies Australia (Mat & Michael), Salomon (Naima) and FootPro (Simon & Sarah). All kind contributors towards my survival…the kit that will help me and the pressure that will make me. Every one of these iconic brands have a very strong role to play in the performance of elite athletes and weekend warriors alike.
For anyone interested in taking a look at what my gear list looks like at the moment, give the image below a click and check it out. Nowhere nearly as all encompassing as that required for World’s Toughest Mudder, but still riddled with risk as you try to predict what you’ll be needing at each bag drop check point versus what you can comfortably carry.
If you’re after some specialty running gear but need a human touch and some expertise to drop you in the kit best suited to your assorted quirks, then I highly recommend local wizards, FootPro.
Footpro is much than just a specialty running shoe shop. Their in-store services include in-depth video analysis using the latest motion analysis software and a while-you-wait Custom Moulded Insoles making process. This provides punters with the ideal one-stop-shop for running related analysis services, a handpicked footwear range for all type of running styles and terrains, and the ability to have your running shoes custom fitted with your own custom moulded insole. Not something you can get just anywhere, people.
They are strong supporters of the Surf Coast Century and Salomon Trail Series….events I’m obviously heavily involved with this year. For trail runners and obstacle racers alike, these guys stock a massive range of aggressive running shoes from brands such as Salomon, Inov-8, New Balance, Hoka One One and Altra. As part of their commitment to the dirty sports we all love, Footpro is one of few select Melbourne retailers who stock the ever-sweet Salomon S-Lab range.
When Chuck Norris volunteers at ultra marathon events, he still wins.