21 March 2021

You choose your hard

Completing a race can be fun. It can be. 

Completing a race can also be hard: if you choose to either race hard or a race that IS hard... like a 100 miler.

Remember, you CHOSE this. Remember your choice now. Don't wig out when it gets tough. This is not last time. This is now! 

Pick your strategies to get you through the hard now, a week out. Do you feel like crap? Maybe, but...

  • Can you make the next checkpoint? Sure. ~ Then do it.
  • Can you make the next hill? Sure. ~ Then do it. 
  • Can you walk a kay or two? Sure. ~ Then do it. 

Run slower than you think you need to. Sprinting is great for a 100m or even a 800m race, but not a marathon or a "miler". Take it easy. Run the last 21km hard if you want to... but take it easy to start at the beginning and in the middle (I started my happiest 100 mile race at a full 3 minutes per km slower than my marathon personal best. And then I slowed down some more 😉).

Eat and drink from 15 minutes after you start. You're going to be doing this for 20 to 37 hours... don't bonk! 

Aim to spend a maximum of 2 to 3 minutes at any given check point! Get in, get fueled, get out... you can walk and eat. 

For a 100 miler, pick 2 or 3 aide stations where you'll spend 10-15 minutes "chilling": stretch, rest, get a little more help. Then go. (Remember, you stink... the aide station helpers are too polite to say so 😝😝). For marathon and 50 milers pick one or two aide stations where you'll spend a little more time! Don't dilly dally even though you smell better than the 100 milers! 

Recognize that you're an individual. You will have ups and downs different to others. Unless you're prepared to stick with someone the whole way (and you WILL always go at the pace of the slowest in the group), rather go out by yourself when you feel good. The mood will change and you'll meet some awesome others on the way. 

Just don't stop. 

By now you should trust your gear. I use Balega socks... mostly the blister resist because:

  • they offer great support without being restrictive
  • they are cushioned in the right places so when the ball of my feet hits the ground it is a little softer
  • because they're thicker the dust and little stones that you collect in your shoes don't irritate the skin leading to problems... 
  • they breathe and get water away from the skin - comfy feet = happy runner
Don't skimp on the required gear. This is the mountains. I once went into mountains in the middle of the hottest summer in a decade. I had shorts. Spare clothes equaled a spare pair of shorts, t-shirt, socks, and cheap windbreaker. 1st day was 45 degrees C (113F). Third day was 40C (104F). The middle day in the mountain was what should have led to hypothermia or death... we were very lucky! It was -5C (23F). Don't skimp on the gear. When you're tired you feel the weather even more!

That's it from me... for those doing #AfricasWildestUltra (Addo Elephant Trail Run) next weekend: see you there! For those doing #UltraTrailDrakensburg next month... I'm jealous! 

14 March 2021

REST - the best 5 tips

"If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." ~ Dr Martin Luther King Jr. 

Rest is a positive action. 

Rest allows you to:

  • Recuperate: recover and replenish (this is not a time of peak or increasing training)
  • Educate: yourself from your past for your future
  • Stoke: passion into flame
  • Time: your entry back into the "game" at an opportune moment.

5 tips to REST with best interest:

  1. Find a place you can rest regularly, and make rest a routine
  2. Do things you love... make music with it
  3. Keep the main people in your life close during rest
  4. Allow people close to you to rest, too... and help with all aspects only when asked
  5. Have a coach, mentor, and other support staff that suit your "game" at this point in time
Don't forget... nothing happens without good sleep :)

#LancasterLight + #LancasterLovely
= Heart music :)

07 March 2021

A Change Will Do You Good.

Decades back I didn't run and listened to Cheryl Crow. I quite liked the song, "A change will do you good". It isn't why I started running again!

When I started running regularly some 2 decades back, I did it for health reasons. There was no plan or desire to win. I had high cholesterol and needed a lifestyle change to do me good. I also averaged 5 glasses of red wine a week. Those two things worked.

Sadly my wine habit led to me thinking of wine as "medicine", so that was curtailed... but the running kept going. I started running 2 and 3 times a week, then 3 and four days a week.

To pique my interest I began "planning" runs: races and paces and mileage and time were elements I looked at. It took me to Cape Town to run Two Oceans 56km twice (I got no where near my goals).

It took me nearly 15 years to consider listening to experts. 15 years. Wow. Rest, cross training, diet. And I still haven't won a race... but that is not the point of this post. I developed, and today's "running me" is a better person than last year's version.

Why is it important to be "better"? Who is looking, anyway?

My kid. Our kids. Our children... they're looking. I am NOT (only) talking about our flesh and blood kids. I am talking about those who post date our presence here. We all judge our history; and we should.

We don't change to forget who we are (pray we never forget), we change to improve who we are.

I have been thinking about basic economic & political principles with some judgement. Supply. Demand. Capitalism. Communism. Socialism. 

My thoughts have ranged over hills and around mountains to where "worth" lies (hidden or in plain sight). I am not in favor of captalism, where worth lies in comparisons between "have" and "have not" (and how much or little is that gap). I am not in favor of communism where worth lies only in collectiveness - it is similar to religious theories bordering on fatalism - and there is little personal account. So socialist then; with a twist of reward? I like that. Nobody should starve or sleep exposed or lack for healthcare and education. But if you want to eat a meal each day in a different location, then reward should be possible for harder work. Caring for others is not a weakness.

We need to call out actions that diminish worth and expose our Earth (people, animals, plants and inanimate "objects"). The worth in dust through to the worth in complex creatures is co-dependent. It has to be symbiotic, because if it is parasitic then we all perish in a big bang or a damp squib. But perish we do. If we survive, we prosper. 

So... hold your sibling to account... and again, your sibling is not just blood.

And run with me ;) 

#PlantATree #GrowTheFuture

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