Saturday, February 10, 2018

Getting Ready to Rumble

Oh boy oh boy.   Right now as you read this posting Marcus and Agata are in the last stages of race preparation, for one of the toughest challenges we have ever undertaken.

How anybody can run 165Km without stopping?

Here is our cheat sheet, follow it and you too can Ultra Marathon with ease

- Fitness

You need a base level of fitness.  At a minimum I'd say you need to be at a level where you can, any day, rain or shine, get out of bed and run a Marathon

- As a further level of fitness confirmation it would be good to know that you can also get out of bed 2 days in a row and do a marathon (I mean 2 marathons total then)
- Weather

The least you can do is study the weather and turn up with the appropriate clothing.  In our case the difficulty is that we have never done the course and don't know how wet it could or will be.   Our run is on the UK coast, and forecasts predict 35Km/h+ winds.  We just don't know what this actually translates to in practise.  A little worrying.

- Mandatory Kit

There is a long list and without it you will be disqualified and / or prevented from starting.

- Suitable KitDecide on your shoes, rucksack, jacket, running trousers, gaters etc, and really test them.  You need to have muscle memory, so that when you are running on automatic you know in which pocket your glucose is kept, and where the music player is.    You tested all your kit in the rain, so you know the waterproofing is right.   You tested the water consumption, so you know that you are carrying enough water between max checkpoints which is 43Km.  You tested taking off clothes when too hot and putting waterproofs on when rain starts.   You did all of this because to repeat, after many hours of running, you need all of these actions programmed into you in advance.

- Unassisted?

Yes, Marcus and Agata will be unassisted competitors.  This means there is no little team of Sherpas popping up along the course shouting encouragement and/or giving us new food or clothing items.   We have to get from start to finish all by ourselves.

- HelpersYep, we have none!   There were a couple of possibilities but having somebody take a day off work, hire a car, and follow us around for 30+ hours seemed like a lot of work.

- Getting There and Back
Actually in the rules is the fact that after the race you should not drive anywhere.  The organisers actually ask you to deposit your car keys with them in the case of unassisted competitors like ourselves!  They return them to you the day after you finish.

You need a more or less foolproof method of not getting lost. For Marcus and Agata this means taking an existing Race GPS track log, and modding it, then loading it to our watches.

We found however that we have to put the Garmin watches into Ultratrack to make them last the 30 hours+ it will take us to complete.

So we will just have to see on race day(s) whether the battery holds up or not. Should the watch die then we would need to rely soley on course markers. An in the dark, not so easy, and maybe washed away or blown away. So yes, GPS Watch, working well is pretty essential.

- Music

It might sound trivial, but Marcus boredom factor sets in after 2 hours of so.   I need my music and this means selecting a way so that I can get 30+ hours of music, from a player, possibly in torrential rain conditions, and down to zero degrees C, the latter is an issue as some phone/players battery life exponentially decreases in the cold.


Agata and Marcus  are not phased about the distance that we need to run, which is 165Km.   

Instead we feel that the principle challenge will be the weather. Our destination will have temperatures between 0 and 5 degrees, winds of around 40 Km/h, and the weather forecast is for Rain to start (90% prob) about 18 hours in.

As usual, we will try our hardest! TBC.

We hope to come to no harm.  And see you all again