Friday, 5 June 2015

Well, that was stressful…

That was the most horrendously stressful race preparation I've ever botched!

Let's look quickly at the different types of race preparations I do:

Short runs I barely bother with. I generally throw a gel in my pocket and away I go.

Track ultras are the best. I throw all the clothes and shoes into one tub, and all the food and gear into another tub, and I'm ready to go.

Road ultras are slightly more difficult because I need to distribute my gear. However, there are usually not too many checkpoints and they are generally regular, so it becomes a simple problem to solve.

Trail ultras are a little more difficult again, just because they tend to be slower and require more gear, and checkpoints may be irregularly spaced. Of course, there are some exceptions. The Alpine Challenge is one of them, but the checkpoints are far enough apart that I just figure I need to carry everything everywhere, and go with that.

Rogaining is usually over a set time window, making it easy to plan nutrition, even if I don't know where the hell I'll be. And, seeing as I have no option but to carry all my gear anyway, it's a no-brainer.

The thing all these races have in common is that there's only one element you lack full information about, and that's weather.

And then there are adventure races

In these races, you have some idea about what legs you're doing, but not how far each leg will be. You don't know whether you'll be kayaking once or ten times. You don't know how many times you'll want to change gear. You don't know how many pairs of shoes you'll need. You don't know whether you'll be cycling, kayaking or running through the middle of the night, so you don't know which lights to pack. Before you even leave home, you have no idea if you've got the right gear. But then you have to wait until 3.00pm the day before the race to know what gear to pack into what tubs. Then you might find out you don't have all the gear you need, and some of your gear hasn't dried from the competency checks in the afternoon.

And I found out that I worry WAY too much.

Fortunately I had Clive on hand to help me sort out my gear, though I won't know until tomorrow if I've got all the right stuff in the right places.

That said, I'm realy looking forward to the actual adventure race itself tomorrow. Enough of this prep nonsense — let's get down to business!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

I'm so excited!

This weekend marks my return to racing. I'm not running, but it's an endurance event anyway: the Half GeoQuest. It's my first long adventure race and I don't really know what to expect except for a healthy dose of sleep deprivation and way too much freezing!

I'm also not sure how my ankle is going to hold up. It's feeling a lot stronger, but with Sweden just seven weeks away I don't want to take any chances, so I'll be wearing my ankle brace. I've been doing some longer runs recently so maybe it will be ok. 

With Carol making a return as my crew, and her cousin and frequent adventure leader Clive on the team, I know I'm in good hands. Yep, even though I only met Dan last week and Howard tonight. We'll be fine! I won't be able to take my phone out on the course, so the photos won't be forthcoming (sadly), but I'll try to snap a few more before and after the race.

Tomorrow we've got gear checks and some competency tests. If they'd seen Susannah, Carol and my performance last weekend at the rogaine they wouldn't let us anywhere near the map and compass! I'm not looking forward to the cold weather and especially the cold water, but I'll make it.