I bought my 20 of my favorite powerade bottles, labelled them 1-24,pre filled the odd numbered ones with tailwind and the even with sisgo.
for all their branches
The race was going well.
Food...including my first trial of Tailwind worked. Even at 2:00am I was successfully moving up the field and felt great mentally.
But ultimately lack of preparation for the weather failed me.
The weather forecast for the race said it would rain. It did, a lot. My rain jacket was not water proof. Even switching to another method ...basically a large rain poncho didn't help. I got colder and colder but I focused on the time left and to keep moving to stay warm. I was on for a massive pb. I was going to reach 210km, a bit tight admittedly but it was doable.
I withdrew, however, as I became so cold that matter how much boullion and cheese I consumed they didn't make a difference.
Take loads of clothes. You can never be prepared enough.
Make sure that they are the right clothes for the weather.
I know I have to start slow and stay slow.
I know I can maintain 6 minutes per km for at least 120km.
I know I can extend that by using the run 3/4 fast walk 1/4 when I am slowing down.
I know the course has four sides so it is easy to implement the above.
I know I have to eat.
I know what I will eat.
I know that I am running on 1km track and can pick stuff up when I want.
I know I will pick up according to my eating plan.
I know I won't fuck about selecting food.
I know I can run through the night.
I know I need motivation.
I know I will split into into 40km chunks.
I know each chunk represents a station on Sparta.
I know each chunk will be done in four hours.
I know I will write M on one knee and C on the other.
I know I will write Dwarf on my heart.
I know I will write Ugly on my foot.
I know I will stay focused.
I know how to change the negatives to positives.
After The Hill I have had a bit of crisis of confidence. In order to race at the level I want to I have to stay permanently fit and that is hard. So I have considered dropping out of racing altogether. I would instead just stay fit and be happy with that.
The trouble is that is not enough. Why do I think like that?
It is difficult to summarise, but here goes.
1) I want to be fit..for me and my family...I hate being fat and unfit.
2) To be fit I need a goal...a goal on the edge of my abilities to stretch me.
3) Racing hard ultras is one of those goals. It keeps me focused otherwise I flap about aimlessly.
4) Once I complete one I not only have my own validation... But other people validate it.
5) I like that validation because it proves I am not as shit as I think I am. The amazing feeling of achievement when I have completed the big ultras is something to look forward to
The trouble is why did that not happen on The Hill? I suffer from overconfidence. I do one thing well after training hard and then expect to coast into the next. It really does not work like that for a person of my capabilities.
It was undoubtedly a challenge and kudos for finishing that would be significant. I lacked the commitment, however, from the end of Spartathlon to the Hill.
It is fucking hard...avoiding all the crap. The shit food, the drink the ciggies and keeping up the training.
This makes me somewhat of a fitness freak. My best friend said 'Why not just do marathons?' I replied that I thought they were too easy. He shocked response was 'Don't you realise how ridiculous that sounds to a normal person?'
In reality no I don't. So I am a freak I have to accept it.
I focused on the Spartathlon finish and then thought that was enough to get me through the Hill. I suppose it would have been if I had maintained the fitness. I know how much effort it takes to prepare for a race physically and mentally beforehand. I concentrated on one race and forgot about the other. Mentally I was done after Spartathlon and the Hill came too soon. There was not enough recovery or preparation time. I didn't build a proper plan. I was too lackadaisical.
My conclusions are
1) The focus has to be permanent with no slacking. This does not mean I can't rest and enjoy myself. I just need to build the longer rest periods into the plan.
2)I need to schedule the training mentally and physically for each individual race well in advance. This plan should include significant downtime on a regular basis as well as time for race appropriate plans.
My complete failure to start The Hill has got me thinking. I can do races in the heat. I am, however, totally unprepared physically and mentally for the wind. Andrei Nana writes that people don't complete races because they fail to prepare.I had a plan but that meant getting lap eight for the first treat to boost me. I panicked and failed to use any of mental tricks that helped on previous races. Physically I was fine, I just fell apart mentally. I am WEAK!
Training for the heat is easy. Bin bags. But how do you train for being battered from side to side and thrown off your feet and not being able to breath?The wind knocked me over so much that I really did not want to continue after two hours. This shocked many people around me at the race, but not as much as it shocked me. It was not that I was wet or cold. Richard Fish lent me loads of gear that kept me protected from the elements. Cold and rain I don't mind. But the wind not only knocks me over but also makes it difficult to breath. I don't understand how anyone else lasted so long. Even Lindley did more laps than me!)
I admit that I have lost a some of the fitness since Spartathlon and gain quite a bit of weight. Maybe more than I care to admit. I kidded myself I needed that as ballast, but seriously if an extra seven kilos wasn't enough to keep on my feet I doubt more would useful...
I wonder if it was merely that? Or do I need to get stronger? For instance tyre dragging or using the weighted jacket more. Or training with a mask on to simulate the lack of breath.
I can either spend time working out how to cope with these conditions or just not do races that involve them. That would me not doing The Hill again. This conclusion is very bad as I hate admitting defeat. Perhaps I have a new obsession to replace Spartathlon? Or should I just forget about the Hill and any other race?
Some serious thinking is needed. Maybe not only about the types of races I enter or whether I should be doing them in the first place. What purpose do the serve in the greater scheme of things? Can I justify doing them?
Still the weekend was not a complete waste of time as I got to assist on the race...collecting up and laying out glow sticks with Dave Fawkner and Drew Sheffield. I was helping Mark Cockbain, Richard Weremiuk and Richard Fish in the camper van, making teas and preparing food.
I also got todo a bit of baby sitting with the adorable Max Cockbain.
Catching up Claire Shelly and meeting some of the Mud Crew guys and the others on the race. I do recall getting spectacularly drunk on the Saturday, but most of that was a blur. I am sure I offended a few people, coz I usually do and please take this as an apology from my sober self for my drunken self.