January 2012

UTMB rematch is on!

I sat in front of my laptop at 8.55am on Friday constantly hitting refresh on the UTMB web-site. Eventually (at pretty much bang on the announced 9.00am) the ‘waiting’ next to my name changed to ‘to pay’. Which was the organisers slightly cryptic way of telling me I’d got a place for 2012.

By the time the confirmation e-mail arrived later in the day I’d paid the rest of the registration fee and sorted us out accommodation in Chamonix (an apartment which is cheaper, and hopefully more pleasant, than the hotels we’ve stayed in in the past). Still mulling over the flight dilemma: EasyJet from Gatwick or a non-direct flight from a more local airport with a ‘proper’ airline.

Today I did my first ‘long’ run of the year: Sheffield to Edale via Stanage Edge, Win Hill and Lose Hill. I’d originally been planning to carry on over Mam Tor and possibly round to Jacob’s ladder. However thanks to strong wind and deep mud that would’ve made me late for my rendezvous with the other half for tea in The Rambler Inn.  Repeatedly getting blown off the path on the Mam Tor ridge was the final straw and I decided to drop down into Edale, do a quick out and back through the village to squeak the mileage up to 20, and call it a long, slow day.

... and forwards to 2012

Goals for 2012:

I) finish either the Lakeland 100 or UTMB
2) run a sub 24 hour 100
3) run a sub 10 hour 50

I'm not sure whether goals 1 and 2 are compatible (certainly not in the same race!). Part of me thinks it would better to concentrate solely on hill training. But one of the hardest things for me with UTMB will be meeting the time cuts before Courmayer. Running all of the flattish sections between St. Gervais and Les Contamines will be crucial. And training for a fast 100 might be a good way of doing this. Similarly with the Lakeland 100 I'll need to be able to make the most of the rare runnable sections. Also I need to loose my fear of 100s (both of my first two were a struggle, but then so were my first two 50s).

A sub 24 hour 100 is probably an even more ambitious goal than UTMB/ Lakeland 100, especially since my current PB is nearly 10 hours outside that... But both of the 100s I've done have been hilly, off-road, unmarked courses, and I've got my eye on a 24 hour race on a flat trail loop. 100 miles in 24 hours is probably still over ambitious, but it's something to aim for. I'll have to play it safe and DNF if any Lakeland 100/UTMB threatening injuries appear though.

My 50 mile PB of 10.29 is on the not completely flat, partly off road Round Rotherham course. So sub 10 on the right course is plausible. And the Ladybower 50 sounds like it might be the course (if I've got gas left in the tank come Autumn).

So the plan for the year is:

Jan and Feb: get into shape (including hill repeats and long flattish runs as well as big fun days out in the hills).
March and April: the usual early season races (Wuthering hike, Hardmoors 55, Calderdale and Fellsman)
May onwards: concentrate on hill training, with lots of long back to back runs (maybe Hardmoors 110, but I'm not sure).

And now to wait and see if I'm lucky in the UTMB lottery. At the moment I'm convinced that not getting in, and running the Lakeland 100 instead, is a fine alternative. Whether I'll still feel that way after the draw I'm not so sure...