07 April 2019


Being a coastal runner has many huge benefits. Two of the main ones are that there is plenty of oxygen to suck in, and the climate tends to be rather temperate (never too hot, and never too cold). So training well and often is relatively "easy".

The pic here is of myself and Dawn (our 2nd summit) and Chantal and Ronald (of Ultra Running SA fame) on their 1st summit of the Lady's Slipper "mountain" as we prepared for Addo. You can see its not that high and that is the sea in the background. If you do be fit  this mountain really be just a hill.

So what scares me most about Ultra Trail Drakensburg? Yip... you guessed it: Altitude!
From the race website: "The race will start at Sani Mountain Lodge (The Highest Pub in Africa), at 11h00 on Friday 26th April, and head into Lesotho on a circuitous route that is almost entirely above 3000m (9842ft) in altitude. A number of high points will be passed with the highlight of these being Thabana Ntlenyana at 3482m (11424ft)."
3482 meters above sea level is significant. It is the difference between 20.9% oxygen in the air and 13.6%. A full 1 third of my training oxygen will be gone when I tackle UTD. What does this mean?

Well, it hasn't changed my training... I'm still running easy most of the time with a few stronger sessions. There is the nutrition and hydration going in that ensures I stay healthy and ready to tackle mountains. And of course the focus of a mind on getting over these "hills". I will not be the first, and I won't be the last, and although I may not the strongest to do it, I won't be the weakest, either.

Having a life word of "PERSPECTIVE" means I have the luxury of stepping back and seeing the bigger picture. In this panoramic picture there are 3 things I've learned from others that have climbed the heights. Very few people can do it quickly! So number one will be:

  1. Take it S-L-O-W! I'm not Kilian Jornet and I'm not a Sherpa with a natural innate ability to adapt to height (at least I don't think I am yet...). Where I was hoping for 30 hours at Addo, I've adjusted that up to 37 hours at UTD (the respective cut off times are 37 and 44 hours).
  2. Clothing is key... on the mountain you are exposed and your life can depend on your equipment. There is a comprehensive mandatory kit. I may have an extra item or two depending on the weather predictions. Clothes are your first defense in maintaining your core temperature, and it is vital to spend your energy moving forward, not heating yourself up! Naturally, I'll have a sock based in natural fibres... read more here. #BalegaBestSocksEver
  3. Food is energy. I have successfully used GNLD bars and protein on Addo and other adventures... easy to digest, no GI issues, and maintained energy levels. Because it is going to be colder at UTD than it was at Addo, I'll obviously have an extra bar or 2 in the bag. And of course enjoying the wares presented at each aide station along with getting them to sing a Christmas Carol or two 👈
Most of the preparation for tackling height is in the head... especially when you're going far. You won't be able to go as fast. So you might expect a pic or two from me along the way! haha

UTD is 19 days away... Race 2 of #RunAMUK to #RazeABar
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  1. Loving these blogs crazyman. #OLLI

    1. So I'm not sure which of you is replying, the crazy one or one of the enablers... But happy days ahead ;) We must talk strategy, training, diet, camps, hills, running, wine, chocolate, and all the good things in life!


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