This should be a short post as I can comfortably say, without a hint of dishonesty, that I have practically no plans for this year.
I’ve spent most of the Nov/Dec/Jan period producing more snot that is required to keep my insides looking smooth and this has had an impact on my running.
Impact is a running term than means I did very little running.
Now that my bouts of man-‘flu and snotty nose seem to be coming to an end I had better cobble together something that gives me a reason to run for more than 10 miles at any one time.
There’s a 100km race in Italy in late May that goes past the village we holiday in. I have been dreaming about it for the past 6 years so I think this is the year I commit to it and make a fool of myself.
the race is 42 years old and gets over 4,000 entries (most for the relay) but it gets as many as 1,000 for the full event so it’s well supported.
It’s kind of like the Highland Fling with pizza, a suntan and less sheep.
It starts in Florence and goes over two “big hills” to the 30 mile (50km) mark with a quad-shredding 50km of downhill running after that to steal your will to live. The 50km of downhill running has about 20km of steep down hills (switchbacks) followed by that very gradual hill that feels like running on the flat until you arrive in the town of Faenza. The lack of quads at that stage makes it feel like you’re running through a muddy field – you end up in a slow death shuffle as your quads decide that lifting your knees is not in their job description.
I have no fear of the distance but the heat makes me very worried. I do not perform well with the warm hair dryer air of the Mediterranean filling my lungs. The sun beating down on your back isn’t the real worry I have but the reflected heat off the road and the lack of shade in the first 30km.
The race starts at 15:00hrs so by 21:00 – 22:00 you should be well up into the hills which are cooler and forested and I expect that this will be a problem for everyone. My real issue is that I won’t be able to train for the heat as I’m stuck up here at 51 degrees north.
What will I do before or after this race on the racing front?
I suspect something cheap and local and, unlike last year, I will listen to my body and ease off it I feel like I’m getting injured.
The two races that fit the bill for cheap and local are the Wicklow Way Ultra in late March and the Ballyhoura Mountain Marathon in early May.
The Wicklow Way can be tough if the weather isn’t with you but I’m started to get addicted to the coffee mugs you get as a finisher’s prize.
The Ballyhoura race is one of the most beautiful I’ve done to date but the course is like an extreme set of hill repeats with over 2,500m of ascent in the course and as it’s 3 weeks from the Italian job it might not work out.
I’ll see how the year goes before I offer up any other hostages to fortune on the racing front.
Now, where did I put those shoes?!