The last month or so has been intense. Life has centred mainly around training with my week involving some variation on the theme of running, yoga or strength work interspersed with organising all the finer details to arrive at the start line prepared. My training plan has looked something like this:
Mon - Bikram Yoga
Tues - Run with weight (avg 10 miles with 5-6KG pack)
Wed - Run at Lunch Time (8 miles) Run at Night Time (8 miles)
Thur - Running Club Hill Session (avg 8 miles
Fri - Strength/ Core Session
Sat - Long Run - (avg 20 miles)
Sun - Long Run (avg 14 miles)
This has changed slightly depending on what has been going on, 2 weeks or so ago a few of us did a 45 mile training run around the island of Jersey which was a great day out and fell just on one of the sunniest days so far this winter, which was a great morale booster, and was a great confidence booster for running the long day on the MDS which ranges between 50 and 60 miles.
One of the biggest factors I have found difficult with training has been getting motivated to get out there in the cold. I think I am not alone in this as it seems to be a recurring conversation with other runners at the moment, I am almost looking forward to the 40 deg heat of the Sahara at this point, although I am sure a day under the searing sun will have me begging for snowy cliff paths and boggy trails with windy beach runs that make me want to cry!! I think it is natural to lose motivation as the pure mileage has been high over the last few weeks, with every session being key whether the goal be to acclimatise to the heat (Bikram) build endurance, run with weight or hill work. This weekend sees me hitting my peak in terms of training with a 3 day odyssey planned: 26 miles on Sat, 26 miles on Sun and 26 miles on Monday afternoon. I think once this is done whilst I will still be logging miles I will gradually take the intensity and mileage down as the goal is now to get to the start line healthy and injury free.
Equipment wise the last few weeks have been active: I received my shoes back from the cobbler with the velcro attached yesterday which means I am able to attach the sand gaiters to them and so form a seal which will prevent sand from getting in to them and prevent chafing and blisters. I also took delivery of my evening meals yesterday: the finest that Expedition Foods has to offer in dehydrated foods... Once you add water and let them stand they do look actually begin to look like food and taste ok (based on the Chicken Tikka one I tried a few weeks ago) if a little bland, but a bit of salt and pepper will solve that I am sure.. My rucksack weight is currently looking like just under 7KG on paper although a real life pack hasnt happened yet and I am sure other items will sneak in and bump the weight up. I have tried to be ruthless using lightweight items where I can, only taking essentials and it looks like I will be wearing the same clothes for the whole week! I just hope my tent mates have decided to do the same otherwise I might be quarantined!
I have decided on most of my clothing with the following T Shirt which is Under Armour Heat Gear and I had printed up to thank the local companies that have supported me in my buildup in some way or another: www.mymemory.co.uk, Sportsbug Jersey, BNP Paribas Jersey, Fit 2 Function Jersey, Tonic Body & Skin Therapy, Bean Around the World Coffee Shop and Leanne Rive Personal Training.
Fundraising has seen me break the £6000 barrier, which is awesome. I have a goal of reaching £8000 raised for Jersey Hospice Care before I leave in 5 weeks with some events planned to hopefully get me there. I have been canvassing most people I know for donations so am sure people will be glad to see the back of me by the time I get on that plane!! :-) If you are in any doubt as to how to donate please visit: www.justgiving.com/Paulsdesertrun all donations no matter how small are welcome, and to just know that people are supporting me gives me amazing motivation during those long, hard, cold training runs!
This was quite an interesting picture that I came across on the net which gives you an idea of some of the things we have to carry as well as some of the decisions us MDS runners have been faced with over the last few weeks:
We were given our race numbers a few weeks ago, I am number 624.. Once we are out there the MDS website http://www.darbaroud.com/en/ provides real time updates of how we are doing, photos of the days racing and vitally you are able to send messages to the competitors through the website. It goes without saying how important that will be for morale so if you have a few spare minutes between the 5th and 15th April please drop me a line..
More to follow over the next few weeks..