With all the hype surrounding Western States right now, I thought I’d be a little self-indulgent and give a quick update on my training, and what I’m working towards over the coming months.
After Northburn, there is a little bit of a gap in terms of trail ultras in the Aussie calendar. Admittedly, there was North Face, but for some reason I’ve never been overly excited about that race, which is unusual for someone who’s competed in it three years on the trot! I personally prefer the no-nonsense smaller races where you’re left to get on with it yourself. I’ve never been good at being told what to do, and I do resent the extreme amount of kit that you have to take with you. Yes, I know ‘dem’s da rules’ etc… but still, it annoys me, which is why I guess I’ve reverted to doing the pairs race for the last two years. Indeed, I only decided the day before again this year to actually go ahead with running in The North Face.
However, now there is a little bit of a gap, as most ultra trail runners I hang out with focus on the Great North Walk; there’s also the Glasshouse 100’s too, which I’m still a little undecided about. So to fill in this gap, I entered the Glasshouse 50kms at the end of July. The timing of the race is perfect for me, as I fly to the UK a few days after, so with GNW being the ‘A’ race for the second half of this year, I needed something that I could work towards and get a baseline fitness for, ready for the final 3 months of hardcore training leading up to GNW. I also have a bit of a soft spot for Glasshouse, as it’s where I finished my first ultra, the Glasshouse 100kms, so I guess there’s a lot of emotions about returning there and remembering the absolute hell I went through in September 2008 when I embarked on something longer than a marathon for the very first time.
Training has been going well these last three weeks. I set myself a goal of running every day right up to the Glasshouse 50kms. Unfortunately, I have missed one day, and that was because… well, I couldn’t be bothered to go and run. Sometimes I think we can let ego get in the way of actually training with purpose. My theory was that, if I went and ran, I’d do the minimum number of kms I’d set myself, (which was 5), and there would have been no purpose to the run, other than to jog it. Instead, I decided it was better to wait until the following day and run a longer session, and with some purpose. Every session has to have a purpose.
With that out of the way, it’s been 3 weeks of solid training thus far, knocking over at 110kms per week for the first two weeks, before cranking up to 130kms this week, which is where it will stay now for the weeks leading up to the Glasshouse 50kms. Darrel, Terry and I had a cracker of a run this Saturday just gone on the GNW where I really felt like I was back in the groove. I’d been in NZ a week earlier and done some monster climbs over there (I do love the terrain in NZ), and coming back to the GNW, the climbs were to put it mildly, little puppies.
Now before you hardened GNW lovers shout at me, I know and appreciate that in the middle of summer, these climbs turn into monsters with an oven temperature of over 40 degrees Celsius, but in the middle of winter, they’re pretty easy going. As such, I had a whale of a time as we ran from Cedar Brush track head (just past CP3) to Heaton Gap (halfway to CP1), and rather bizarrely, was running pretty much all of the hills on the firetrails too – I call this the ‘Vize mentality‘. Having trained with Andrew so much in the last 6 months, you get into a certain mindset I guess and this is starting to rub off. So much so, that the tone has been set now for pretty much all runs on the GNW – the hills have to be run, not walked. Except in cases where they are very steep, and I might be a bit tired 🙂
As for the Glasshouse 50kms, well the goal is to run this pretty hard. I know the course fairly well and there’s not a huge amount of climbing in it, so it should be pretty quick. With this in mind, I have been doing some ‘faster, flatter’ sessions around the Bay, here in Rozelle to build up some relative speed. Bear in mind though, when I say speed, I mean anything under 5min kms for us ultra runners. For marathon runners, just ignore that last sentence.