This will likely be my last pre-race blog post. Hopefully, with a bit of luck and a whole lot of determination, the next post will contain photos of a cherished goblet and some photos of various stages of the West Highland Way Race.
We are heading down to Glasgow straight after work on Thursday, giving us a whole day in Glasgow to prepare and chill in the build up to the race registration on the Friday evening and the eventual race start at 01:00 am on the Saturday morning.
As such, it’s decision time where kit is concerned. There are compulsory and recommended items of kit and, where possible, I aim to have all of them available to me during the race.
Given the uncertainty of the weather and the likelihood of at least some rain throughout the day, I am taking a number of changes in clothing and, this evening, will get these packed away in some order of preference. There are even a couple of Salomon vest tops in there but, given the forecast, it’s unlikely that they will see the light of day.
I will run with my favoured The North Face Triumph waterproof, either on or in the pack, dependent on the weather. Given that I may be moving ‘slightly’ slower by the end of proceedings, I am also packing a more substantial Arcteryx waterproof which will also provide a little more warmth – perhaps something that will be required come the second evening of running.
Trainer wise, I will start in the Hoka Stinson Evo Bs and will have the Hoka Mafates, Brooks Pure Grit, Inov8 Roclite 315s and Merrell Trail Gloves in case my feet need a change of shoe.
A huge pile of food, clothing and equipment in my hallway is testament to the needs of this race. A final shop on Thursday evening/Friday morning will serve to top up the food with the last few essentials and, after that, I think I will be good to go.
On the basis of discussions, forums and general advice the support strategy has been refined and I am hoping that my support team also has a great weekend. Without them all, this would simply not be possible.
Having completed 3 ultras already this year, from 33 miles up to 55 miles, and each with a new PB, I am confident that I have it in me to keep going for at least a bit longer. It will then be down to grit and determination to see me through to the end in Fort William.
So, as the day nears closer, my only real concern is the effect of sleep deprivation. I ‘like’ to get my 8 hours and, as I realised at the weekend, even a couple of hours later to bed than usual has a knock on effect on the rest of my day. As such, how I will cope with the sleep deprivation is anyone’s guess. That, I think (barring injury) is the main challenge to me completing the 95 miles.
At this point in time, the nerves still haven’t kicked in and I am still looking forward to the race. Hopefully this will continue to be the case right up until the off and, from then on, it will just be a case of getting on with it!
How will I feel after running 80 miles? How will I cope with the lack of sleep? Will my nutrition strategy see me through the distance? How long will it take to recover? I could go on. This is a massive step into the unknown but one that I have been looking forward to for some time now. There will no doubt be a lot of pain and suffering along the way but the objectives are clear and it was my own choice to up the ante and enter ‘the big one’. By the end of this coming weekend, I will likely know the answer to all of the above questions and more.
You can follow my progress on Twitter as I hope to be tweeting along the way (reception permitting!).
You can follow the race using the #whwrace hashtag on Twitter.
The race website will also be updated periodically
I found ‘How to Run the WHW Race Very Slowly‘ on the WHW Blog Updates website this week, well worth a read. The WHW Blog Updates site is an excellent resource listing many WHW Race blogs. I look forward to pouring over the various race reports in the weeks to come.
Best of luck to all those running the race (currently 182 starters) – See you all in ‘Fort Bill’