Time you faced reality, time you faced your fears....
With a few good weeks of training behind me, and with a renewed energy and much-improved state of mind, it really is time to 100% commit to getting this training right and making sure I'm succesful this June.
Not that I haven't committed. I clearly have (in my mind at least). Reps up and down Stoodley are committed, going out in any and all weathers is committed.
But I suspect it's about much more than that. Certainly in my case, and in the case of one or two others, if I am reading correctly between the lines in blogs.
If my experience last year taught me anything, it is that the physical side of the preparation and, indeed, the day is the easiest bit to get right. Train hard, put the climbs in, take enough rest to go with that....and, inshallah, you'll be there or thereabouts on the day. There are no short-cuts, no "secret" formula as such. Just hard work. Anyone can do that, including me.
The tough part to get right is the mental side. It's what let me down last time, and I'm sure it's behind the vast majority of "failures". Of course, we can blame weather, eating, niggles, navigation...anything we like. But those are all just excuses really. And I can say that with some certainty, having helped someone to a successful round a couple of years ago in appalling conditions. I watched that person shut out everything that was going "wrong" around him and just concentrate on one foot in front of the other, and keep going. And he did it astonishingly well, coming home sub-22 despite the conditions. And therein lies the key, I believe, to a successful round this June. I have to want it enough to shut out everything else that may happen (and rest assured,things will happen).
And a big part of that is a belief in being able to do it and not even contemplating failure. I have that initial belief now, having come relatively close last year and now knowing my body will stand up to that distance and ascent/descent. It's that mental side that needs the work now. And I'd say the same to others who are wondering and doubting....you CAN do it, absolutely no doubt. It's not about speed, it's about an ability to keep going at a very steady pace for nearly 24 hours. Get that inside your head, truly believe it and live it, and success will follow......must go and practice that myself!
So back to the week in question, and another decent week's training. Following the great day out on the Mynd, I coaxed Kirsten out for a very steady 3 miler along the canal on Monday, just to shake lethargy out of the legs...and I think it worked!
Tuesday...and time to re-start another of the training methods that did work for me last year...the "double day". I headed out to Stoodley in the morning and did 4 reps of the steep side, legs feeling a little weary but not too bad at all. Then, in the evening, I headed over to the club with Kirsten and an 8-mile road run with the medium group. A tough, hilly run following on from the morning, but I dug in and kept a good pace. These double days are good!
Wednesday saw the opposite though! A long-ish day at work and I couldn't be arsed to head out to Todmorden golf club for the run, so spent a night on the sofa!!
But Thursday saw us back out, and a chance to introduce Kirsten to the delights of Stoodley hill reps in the dark!! Only 3, but I think she really appreciated them....I could tell by the way she said not a thing and had a look of determination (was that determination? ;-) ) on her face!!
That single-mindedness kicked in again on Friday, and despite feeling tired, I headed back up to Stoodley and put in 6 climbs, 3,000ft of ascent on a day when I could easily have sat and drunk coffee and read a book!!! These days will prove so worthwhile in the end.
Saturday proved to be a corker of a day. I wanted to go somewhere different, but needed a relatively early start. A call was put out, and Matt from CV was up for a trip over to Pendle to recce the half tour. A fantastic run. The legs were really tired but I managed a decent pace, dragged along by having someone of a similar speed with me. Matt was excellent on the ascents, running every one of them...good stuff!! I kept up a fast walk a wee way behind, but was pretty much matching him.
The weather turned out lovely in the end, no problems with mist, a bit frozen underfoot, but not as bad in terms of snow as it was a few weeks ago. It was warm as we climbed up the final big climb, headed over the moor and approached Geronimo....and great fun going down it! :-) We pushed it a wee bit back across the fields to the "finish" then walked down into Barley and the end of a smashing run.
Which ended another good week of training. 37 miles & 10,000ft by my reckoning.
And then Sunday was a "rest" day as we drove up to God's Own Country with a tough week planned.....
39th Calderdale Hike 37mi. 01/04/2017.
5 months ago