Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Flight Time Approaches

So it's Flight time in 3 days. Am I feeling ready?? Good question. I suppose as ready as I could ever be. Since I last posted I have really cut down on distance and been going out on shorter runs maximum of 15kms. They have just been the usual Brevent to Flegere and back to Chamonix either on the Balcon Trails or over the back trail to Col Gliere. Again weather has been fantastic and pretty hot but all good training. Friday 9 miles , Saturday 9 miles , Sunday 7 miles , Tuesday 7 miles , Today(Wednesday) 8 miles. As I said , not too bothered about distance now as it is only 10 days to the race so at the moment it is just go out for shorter runs , don't get injured and just set a nice pace and not feel at all tired after these runs which fortunately I am not. After all of them I am feeling super fresh so that's a good sign , who knows how I will feel with another 90 ahead of me.

Probably my favourite run of the week was after work on Saturday. I went up the steep zigzag path to Planpraz up behind my house , it's a 1000m climb which I managed in a respectable 52 mins(my record is 43) after that I ran across to Flegere with the head torch on and descended to Chamonix centre all in 2 hours. I didn't go out looking for a fast time but just managed to keep a really good pace for the whole thing so was super happy with that.

Planpraz to Flegere after work
I have also managed to get up high to sleep a couple of nights which was great. The plan to was sleep up high Sun , Mon and head up Mont Blanc with Graham today but the weather turned and put Blanc out of the picture so I had to settle for sleeping up high Sun and Mon. I got the last midi lift on Sunday after an early work finish and sat on the terrace outside at 3800m and cooked up some noodles and chorizo did some reading then moved to my bed in the toilets! You are not really meant to sleep up in the station but the lifties didn't seem to bother when they told me the last lift was leaving and I said I was staying to sleep they didn't really mind. I have many friends who have been caught out on routes up high and had pretty uncomfortable nights in the toilets but I was well prepared with heaps of water , food and a comfy sleeping mat. I am renowned for not doing to great at altitude after around 8 hours of being up but this time I was fine. A little niggle of a headache at the start of the night but that soon passed and I got a decent nights sleep and then got the first lift down at 6am after watching an incredible sunrise. I was up there for a good 13 hours and felt really good.

Sleeping in Toilets - Not the training I had in mind
What a morning though
So to follow that up I headed up high again the following night. This time to the top of the Grand Montets at 3300m. Again I got the last lift up and unlike the midi where the lifties can be a bit funny about you staying it was complete opposite at Grand Montets where they even showed me the staff room was unlocked all night and that I could sleep in it if I wanted which was great. Again I felt great up there. The numerous steps outside to the different platforms provided a nice little workout by trying to run up and down them but it really is hard work at that kind of altitude to keep running up steps and not get totally out of breath.

Another Awesome Sunrise
Really glad I managed to get up high to sleep. Although I will never run at this altitude in Leadville for very long as I only pass over these kind of heights and then descend it really is no harm preparing my body this way.

So I land in Denver on Saturday night and then go to meet 2 of my pacers (Anna + Ben) on Sunday morning at the Red Rocks area to go for a run with them and have a chat about the race. I am meeting my third pacer Kimberley on the Thursday before the race to do a bit of hiking on some of the course. So all pacers are eager to go and really excited about it all. On the crew side of things though it ain't so good. One of them had to cancel and the other has kind of disappeared so I am currently on the hunt for more. Anna will be able to help at some stages and there is a chance the family I am staying with over there may be able to help out on some of the course. Worst case scenario is I just use drop bags on the outward 50 miles of the race to drop off kit and pick up new stuff. I don't really like doing this as you never know when and what you will need at certain stages but if I need to do that then so be it. The main thing is I have 3 awesome pacers to help me out on the second half of the race. They will be running with me on the following sections

Mile 1 – 50 – On my own

Mile 50 – 63 – Winfield to Twin Lakes(over Hope Pass 3800m) - ANNA

Mile 63 – 76.5 – Twin lakes to Fish Hatchery – KIMBERLEY

Mile 76.5 – 86.5 – Fish Hatchery to Mayqueen – BEN

Mile 86.5 – 99 – Mayqueen to Leadville - ANNA

The cut off times and race info still has not been released yet but I will put up another post on here probably on Wednesday or Thursday with better estimates on the course and how you can track me on the race. I have said to my pacers I am looking at roughly a 27 hour finish but this is by no means a goal , the goal is to finish and that's it. If I cross the line in 29hrs 59mins then that's fine with me. I have asked Anna to be ready at halfway at 3pm next Saturday(17th) meaning I was thinking of 50 miles in 11hrs(last years cut off here was 14hrs) meaning 16hrs for the return trip. As I keep saying this is all very very rough , I have no idea what the trails are like over there and how technical or non technical they are. For all I know I could get to halfway in sub 10 hours but then run the risk of going out too fast and having a hellish return and a DNF. I really just don't know yet but I will have a much better idea when I get over and see some of the course.
I am currently packing to go and you would think that a runner wouldn't have much kit to take but you would be wrong. I have so much stuff. I just do not want to get caught out if the race day weather is horrible(like last years CCC) so I have been packing for all weather conditions.
Flying the Scottish Flag
Thank you to everyone who has so far donated on my Just Giving page for Chest , Heart and Stroke Scotland. Blown away that I have so far raised over a thousand pounds for them so thank you all for the support.

Nervous , Excited , Worried , Confident.....the list could go on and on.....

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