The start of March really felt like kick off time for training. The Matterhorn attempt is only a short four months away, and I wanted to be of sound mind and body. The best form of training and the greatest source of motivation I find, is to have smaller goals. Entering races has always been great for this, as they themselves are something to train up to.
Starting off the month was the Reading Half Marathon. I hadn’t done many half’s compared to the traditional marathon, but the 13.1 mile distance still felt long enough to provide a challenge, but short enough to really push myself. From the off I stepped out at 8 minute mile pace and planned to hold that speed until either finishing or worse, my legs gave way. I was fortunate, the course was packed with supporters and music played almost everywhere. For such a huge race, which pulled in almost 18000 runners, it provided a great event. On shaky legs I crossed the finish at 1 Hour 43 Mins.
Next up just a week later was a marathon in Telford called the ‘Groundhog Marathon’. An unusual race, being that it was all ran on a 400 metre sporting track. With around 50 people taking part, you’d think it was quite crowded, but as the race started we soon stretched out. To even more discomfort of the mind, it turned out 400 metres didn’t pass by quicker than one first thought! It made the 105 laps seem like an eternity. Luckily, I find it easy to switch off, not so luckily I ended up doing more laps than needed, bringing the finish in at just over four and a half hours.
The final and most training relevant race of the month was a 40 mile ultra marathon around the Brecon Beacons. The course profile boasted a total elevation gain of almost 3000 metres, roughly around the same amount when we tackle our Matterhorn accent. All I saw was a good days training ahead of me, with a chance to be out on my feet all day experiencing some of the UK’s finest scenery.
Turned out the weather wasn’t that great, as we started and almost instantly raced upwards, we hit a blanket of cloud, rendering the views no existent. The temperature drops so quickly as you gain altitude, but from past experiences and proper preparation, I was ready for whatever the weather had to offer, and it did offer a lot!
From sunny and balmy valleys to the hail blown peaks of the Black Mountains, I raced forwards. My stomach turned in the latter stages of the course, but this I find always happens with any race over 30 miles, it just means I have to stay away from the jelly babies at the check points, no one wants to have to divert to find an emergency toilet!! Instead I find one of the best snacks for long distance to be ‘Rusks’, yep the baby food! The saw me through to the finish line, a cold, wet and dark finish line.
I always find that no matter the type of race or activity, I always at some point struggle. But it’s the moments that you pursue through that yield the greatest experiences.
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