This will probably be my penultimate post before my race on the 30th May in Italy (race is an ultra running term for a long picnic).

Since I had my special moment with the bats (check out the last post) I’ve had a reasonably decent run of things on the training front. I did go through a bit of a crisis that I’d peaked too early with my races in early April but as an american would say I got my shit together and got with the programme.

I’ve had a fat adapted long run every week in every type of weather possible from mickey shrinking freezing horizontal rain to sweaty arse crack summer weather which if it does nothing else it builds mental strength. For someone like me with varying levels of commitment to my cobbled together training plans the ability to haul my ass out of bed on the weekend and to head out the door for 20+ miles is an achievement in itself.

I’ve been able to knock out 7 – 15 mile runs with hills in between my LSRs  so my aerobic fittness is in decent shape as well.

If I think back to my post at the start of the training cycle about trying to develop areas of training that are not just running I think things have gone as well as I could have expected.

The whole idea of the training is to make sure that you can make it to the 60% stage of the race without feeling like a dog’s dinner (a dog’s dinner is where you have a full, sloshy stomach, no appetite, no energy, no sense of humour and heavy legs). If you can do this then you will do yourself justice and if not enjoy the experience then at least have good memories of it.

Barring some catastrophe in the next 9 days I should make it to the starting line without any injury – that’s more than I can say for last year. I’ve learned to run in the heat which, while it will make little or no difference in the early Tuscan summer, will at least stop me panicking over the first 40km of the race. I’ve lost a bit of weight – about 3kg – it’s not much but I lost it by reducing my carb intake and dropping the booze which have benefits of their own (don’t get too worried – I’ll be back on both of them about 10 minutes after the race is over).

This next bit is pure ultra running wankology:

I’ve up-regulated my fat metabolising mechanisms so that I’m able to go long on empty. Wanky, isn’t it?

Basically it means that I can run for a long distance without needing much food and the food I do need is mainly fatty and not carby – less gels and more fat. The best thing about this is that it gives a much more even energy release and there is less gastric anxiety. My plan is to keep to this ketogenic fuel source for as long as I can and to introduce carbs as I need them with some other energy from fats as well (as the old saying goes – men plan and God laughs).

The new shoes have also paid dividends and apart from their worrying lack of durability – worrying for my wallet – that they show they have done their job.

I was able to sneak in another marathon on the 9th of May. It was just down the road and at only €20 to enter it fitted the bill for a decent long run. There were only 32 runners lining up for it but we had a great send off from the World 50k walking champion (Rob Heffernan) who sent us on our way.

The run was fine – completely on empty with about 750ml of water over the full distance. I crossed the line in 3:50hrs and some seconds and collected a medal which my kids were delighted with.

What made the run really enjoyable was not having to run it on my own  – after the first two miles of resigning myself to living inside my own head for the best part of 4 hours the woman running in front of me stopped and shouted back at me: Are you going to hang back there or catch up?

I duly caught up and It took me a mile or so to work out who she was – if you click back to this post you’ll realise that she wasn’t new to the whole running scene.

I had one of the best runs of my life – sharing stories about running and life.  Think about two drunks wasting an afternoon in a pub solving the problems of the world – some wisdom but mainly bullshit. She was training for a 72 hour adventure race and if it wasn’t for the need to get back to my family after the run I’d have kept running for another few hours.

When I got home from the marathon my wife and kids gave me the look that said I was starting too many sentences with the words “Col said………”


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