Seems a bit strange to be doing this post now. Last night I managed a 3 mile session, walking 2 minutes, jogging 2 minutes, repeat, along the old railway. My legs feel a bit heavy today, but this has to be expected as I have not done any running for SEVEN MONTHS. I did feel that I could have run longer, however, I don't want to overcook things yet.
In order to celebrate running for 2 minutes, I thought I'd commit to my racing plan for 2012. All this is obviously dependent on my tendon, but I'm being positive and looking forward to next year.
Those that follow John Kynaston's blog, will already have a heads-up on my number one target for next year. Even before my injury problems, I had decided that in 2012 I would do the Lakeland 100, rather than attempt a quicker time on The West Highland Way Race. I know I will return to the WHW race at some time as the race and everyone involved make it such a special occasion. Getting under 20 hours for the WHW race is still an aim I have tucked away after running 20 hours and 21 minutes in 2010. I want, however, to have a good crack at my "local" race so this will be my focus for next year, having the added bonus of being in my summer holidays so I can rest up properly beforehand.
John is also doing this race and we intend to do some significant training/recces together over the first half of the year. I might be able to run with him but I certainly can not keep up with his blog reports!
By missing the WHW race, it frees me up to have a "proper" go at running the Highland Fling at the end of April. If you have read my thoughts on training for the WHW Race you will know that I consider the Fling too close to the big race to give it my all as I know I do not have enough time to recover and train again between the two races. My two times for the Fling are around 10 hours, so an obvious target is to get that time lowered down to something like 9:30.
At some point in May or June I would like to go off the grid and spend a weekend doing the Bob Graham Round mountain marathon style over two days with a wild camp overnight. I completed the round proper in 2007 but have a hankering to do a more "pure" round without support, whether that be solo unsupported, unsupported but with a friend or two, mountain marathon style or even a winter attempt. The start is about 500 yards from my house so I can just wait for a nice weekend and go for it. Lucky git!!
Three weeks before the Lakeland 100 is Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon which is a great two day event. The elite class (called Klets) is a solo category and offers a great deal of route choice as the controls can be taken in any order. I think a personal best may be just out of reach as I hit my zenith in 2009 when coming 2nd in the event based at Coniston. I think that weekend will lead me straight into my taper for the Lakeland 100 so, although I'll give it a good shot, I will keep those following three weeks in mind. The Lakeland 100 is the priority.
I'll give myself lots of recovery time after the Lakeland 100; I think it took me two months to recover from the WHW Race! The latter part of the year will be the build up to the Original Mountain Marathon which is the biggest and most prestigious of them all. My racing partner (Simon) and I came 9th on the Elite class in 2010 on Dartmoor, so another top 10 finish is the aim.
The dress rehearsal race for the OMM will be the RAB Mountain Marathon at the start of October which is a superb event with a lovely laid back feel to it. If you are wanting to have a go at your first mountain marathon I can fully recommend it and it has that extra navigational twist, in that all classes are done as a score event (collect as many points as possible in a time limit, rather that the traditional fastest round a set course). Again, Simon and I have been the bridesmaids at this event in 2008, finishing 2nd when it was held on the Back o'Skiddaw area to the north of Keswick.
Depending on how I feel after that year, I may have a run out at the Tour de Helvellyn which takes place in the middle of December; if so, it would be as a means of kick starting the winters training for 2013. I will leave that decision to much later in the year.
As I type this, I'm smiling to myself. Last night I ran for two minutes at a time and here I sit detailing racing plans for seven events with a total running time of about 105 hours, or 15 hours per event! You've got to love the capacity of the human brain to ignore the reality and focus on the fantasy!!