While out running on Tuesday I met a lovely lady called Trish. We bump into each other every so often and always stop for a wee chat. Trish is 71 years young (I know she won’t mind me mentioning her age) and runs her 5 mile route at least 3 times a week. She is a true inspiration, not only is Trish loving her running but she looks good and has a real zest for life.
At the age of 11 I remember thinking how grown-up the girls in the 6th form were, 20 was the age I wanted to be, 30 was old, at 40 you were just past it and 50 you had one foot in the grave!
As we all know this is completely not true, age is just a number, however old I get (now 53) inside I still feel as though I’m 25. Yes the face has a few more laughter lines and the hair is a slightly different shade of blonde and perhaps my joints are a bit more creaky and my running speed is even slower than it was a few years ago, BUT I don’t feel old. Trish is a good example to us all showing the benefits of keeping active.
Training for the past few months has gone well (that’s a first!). I had one week where I didn’t quite manage to get all my runs in as I had the Out-laws to stay so had the good daughter-in-law hat on!
Although my training programme is geared towards my big run in September I have done a couple of my runs each week with my pack on. Caroline and I went to Dover in January to run the Endurance Life Marathon with our full packs. Although windy the sun was shining so it was great to be out and about. Our pace was very slow but we were happy plodding along taking photos and enjoying ourselves. Unfortunately Caroline slipped on the mud landing awkwardly on her ankle. We walked for a bit until she was able to run but I noticed that she still had a limp while running so we made the decision to stop at the 14 mile point (near the car). As it turned out it was the right decision as she had a tear in her foot muscle which would have been made worse had we continued and not good with the Ice Ultra coming up.
HWMBO and I were very lucky to spend 4 amazing day in the Aosta Valley with Caroline and her marvellous husband. The boys went skiing while Caroline & I put our backpacks on and went snowshoeing for anything between 3-5 hours. We mostly hiked as we were either going up mountains or steep decent. It was wonderful being in the mountains, a very special place.
On day 2 we climbed to the highest point over 2,500m but decided to take a different route back down, not one taken by the skiers, although the first section was only probably 600-800m it was incredibly steep and terrified me taking me right out of my comfort zone, I felt totally out of control (pathetic I know but everyone has their own “scary moments” and this was one of mine) However, once at the bottom I gave myself a big slap on the back for being so brave!!
This picture below was taken just before the steep drop.
A perfect way to train and prepare for my next race The Ice Ultra in Sweden.
The Ice Ultra kicks off on the 12th February offering an incredible adventure over 230km of some of the most pristine snow covered landscapes in the world. With snow fields, mountains and frozen lakes, the Ice Ultra offers a demanding route in challenging conditions with temperatures dipping up to – 30°C. Starting amongst the Kungsleden trail, you will enter a UNESCO World Heritage area so remote that snow mobiles are not even permitted to enter. With the freezing temperatures and various terrains testing your physical and mental endurance, the Ice Ultra offers an amazing adventure and one of the biggest ultra-marathon challenges!
You can see why I’m so excited, I love an adventure. We have to carry all the kit required for the race in a backpack, mine seems to weigh a huge amount but thankfully our sleeping bags and camp clothes can go in a drop bag (otherwise I think we would all be pulling a sled!) One item of compulsory kit are snowshoes (hence the training in Aosta). Although not difficult to use they take a bit of getting used to as it changes your running gait is different, you have to run with feet slightly wider apart so the snowshoes don’t bash together. The first time we practised running in them was on Camber Sands near Rye; as you can imagine we got some very weird looks.
The last time I was in the Arctic was in 2007 when I took part in the 6633 Extreme Ultra Marathon a completely different type of race. The 6633 is a 352 mile self sufficiency non-stop race over 8 days pulling a sled where as the Ice Ultra is 230km (143 miles) staged race over 5 days running with a heavy pack.
When racing in the cold you need to have a good layering system with your clothes so that you can regulate your body temperature as the last ting you want to do is sweat. This could result in the end of your race as your body temperature begins to fall resulting in hypothermia. My kit choice for this race is slightly different compared to the 6633 as I will be going at a faster pace so will produce more body heat (I hope!) but I still need to make sure that I have enough clothes with me in case my pace slows down too much. It needs to be good kit but lightweight.
When you race in a hot climate runners are usually only required to carry 2,000 calories of food per day but in cold environments our bodies use more calories just trying to keep warm, plus the calories expended while running, this means that realistically we should carry approx 3,000 calories adding more additional weight to our packs.
I think I have done what I can to get to the start line as prepared as possible, although I do know my speed isn’t up to where it should be but happy with where I am.
Very excited about heading off to Sweden. Really hoping we will get to see the Northern Lights and a few wild animals, that really would make it even more amazing.
Happy training and remember age is just a number!