Next Saturday I will be running out in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park in the MountainSports Kanangra 50km Trail Ultra. This will be my second attempt at this race, having competed in 2012 coming in 8th with a time of 5hr 15min in what was my first ultra. I remember the race with both positive and negative memories and I am looking forward to tackling the trails once again.
It was on the drive home from Kanangra in 2012 that I began to question my suitability to ultra running. I had ran the first 30km very well, moving up into the top few and I felt that if I had finished the way I started I'd be up on the podium. It wasn't to be however, I really started to struggle in the 10km stretch between 30-40km and the last 10km (which actually measured out to 14km) was just plain unenjoyable. I was in a sea on negative thoughts and most definitely was neither prepared both mentally or physically to manage the stress that running an ultra produces. I did however struggle on to finish and managed to get some enjoyment out of the last couple of km's - the relief of crossing the finish line was indescribable, I think I said to Kel that I would never do a race like this again at that point. I still plan not to.
Since that moment a lot has changed in my life, both personally and physically.
|2012 - 74kg starting to struggle|
- I have become a fairly relentless trainer, only missing one planned training session in 12 months and this has given me a greater base of fitness and the discipline required in ultras, it also helps when the bad times start as I can back that the work has been done and I'll pull through.
- I have dropped down to around 67kg, roughly 5kg lighter than this time last year, my aim is to be around 66kg come race day.
- I have a coach, Brendan Davies, and we have been able to work together to develop me as an athlete and I have gained so much valuable advice from Brendan since starting with him in November.
- I have become more controlled on the usual vices in life, I drink rarely and when I do it is in moderation and I eat very well managing a diet aimed at fuelling and repairing my body from the rigours of training.
- I have raced, a heap. This year I have competed in around 15 races of which 3 have been ultras. This has given me many learning experiences that will come in handy when the competition begins.
- I have done well and also fell down at times, each time I have looked at why and tried to build my body to ensure it doesn't happen again. Whether it was going out too hard or not training specifically enough I have learnt from each race or major training run and have been flexible enough to incorporate necessary adjustments it into my plan.
I'm confident with my plan for Kanangra and know I have done the work for the plan to come off. The past few weeks I have been knocking out 100km plus weeks with big elevation, with my energy levels high and fatigue low. I have recovered well from Canberra and have really been focusing on the task at hand from a few days after I got home. I know the distance is within my race zone and I believe the course will suit my style of running, it has a few climbs, but nothing major and a fair amount of downhill. The course is all firetrail and my plan is to run sub 4hrs aiming for 45 minute splits each 10km for the first 40km, allowing for a fade in the last 10km. I am going into this one ready both physically and mentally and have a thoughtfully planned taper program underway to ensure I'm busting at the start line.
It is also a major milestone for my wife Kellie. It will be her first ultra and she has been working so hard at preparing herself for this one all year. She recently ran strongly in the Mudgee Marathon and Glenbrook 35km and from these performances should be in line to do quite well at Kanangra. I'm lucky enough to have a partner that shares the same interests as I do and I will be super proud when she crosses the line achieving her goal.
Big thanks to Sean and Mel at MountainSports for their ongoing support of me as an ambassador and good luck to all involved, safe tapering and I'll see you at Jensons Farm on the Friday evening.