Team Profile – Tuff Fitty

In the first of a series of team profiles for Breca SwimRun 2016 I’ve kept things close to home, starting with our own team. We took a few minutes to answer a few questions…

Team Tuff Fitty - working on our pre-race nutrition
Team Tuff Fitty – working on our pre-race nutrition – Tom (left) Marchy(right)

Team Name – Tuff Fitty 
Team Members – Tom Goddard & Dave March

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
TG:
This sounds a bit like blind date. ‘Hi I’m Tom from Worthing and I’m looking for a brummy with killer glutes and triceps’. I know Marchy from the local tri club (Tuff Fitty) as the member who has done the fewest triathlons (1 I think!).
DM: one and a half actually if you count the relays.
TG: He is also my running coach at the track and makes me run round in circles really fast.
DM: I’m Dave, better known as Marchy. I’m from Birmingham originally and moved to Worthing about 6 years ago after a short stint in France. It’s nice here but it means travelling huge distances to all the really interesting races.

What attracted you to this race? Why Swimrun, why not a normal race!?
TG
: I normally like to go fast and find endurance events a bit boring but I feel with the varying, challenging terrain, epic scenery and having a buddy along for the journey I might just about be able to tolerate this one. Plus I’m sick of racing triathlons where I come out of the water in the lead, everyone overtakes me on the bike and then I have to overtake them again on the run.
DM: I like to do 1 big daft race each year and it didn’t take much to persuade me to do this one. The scenery for Breca SwimRun looks stunning and if I’m honest, the bike part of triathlons is the bit I like least, so I’m more than happy to race a multiple aquathon.
I also like the fact its on a Saturday, which means chip shops should be open for glorious post-race nutrition.

What do you each bring to the team? Give us a SWAT analysis.
TG
: I’ll bring a tow rope for Marchy on the swim, the possibly delusional belief that I can win every race that I enter, and the ability to still crack bad jokes in a race when most people are struggling to breathe. Marchy brings an amusing accent, even more amusing hair/ facial hair and some pretty tidy running skills.
DM: Cheers Tom, I’ll get yow for that. Strengths: Tom, Weaknesses: Me. Threats: Toms air of supreme confidence? Our ability to not take it very seriously? Our potential to get a bit carried away the night before?

Are you happy with your teammate? Or is it more a case of being the only other idiot you could find?
TG
: Yeah we’ll definitely win.
DM: He’s definitely an idiot.

Have you looked at the course map yet? Is there anything causing you to wake up in the night in a cold sweat? 
TG:
It is a fairly hefty distance to run but hopefully the interesting terrain will occupy my mind rather than how far it is until the next swim. I also hate the cold so it would be nice if the next one we did could be in the Med or somewhere nice and warm like that.
DM:
The hill at the end is worrying me, there’s escalators right?

Elevation Profile
Elevation Profile

I’m also terrified of getting lost. Roaming the peaks in half a wetsuit. Whats that film now? Sightseers….have you seen that? There’s nutters out there in the wilderness.

Its still early days, but have you thought about race tactics yet?
TG
: I’m sure we can devise some sort of tethering system which could also prove useful for tripping up our opposition when exiting the water. I think we are fairly evenly matched on the run and I see this as the key area of the race as we’ll spend more time running.
DM: My plan is simply to try and keep up with Tom, If I can do that then the race might look after itself.

What have you done in the past?
TG
: I used to race mountain bikes and be a swimmer and water polo player. I now race triathlon and have represented the GBR age group team. I have done a marathon and swam the channel before so I have a history of agreeing to stupid challenges.
DM: I used to smoke and drink and play records to others who were smoking and drinking until 5 years ago. Since then I’ve done Brighton & London Marathons, the Red Bull Steeplechase and the Downslink Ultra – some of it anyway.  Our team looks a bit mis-matched here doesn’t it?
TG: You must have some sporting acheivements?
DM: I won a set of tyre levers at Southwater Tri Relays for having the Best Moustache. I’m hoping to better that to be honest. If we come away with a trophy, the tyre levers will definitely be relegated from the mantlepiece, but maybe we should grow tache’s just in case. Other than that, I recently beat Tom in a cross country race, he must have been having an off day. Maybe he wanted to give me a confidence boost, either way after that result I’m confident we can win this.

Are you planning on any particular races in the build up?
DM:
I’m going to do the 3 Forts marathon as its on my doorstep and takes in the toughest terrain we’ve got on the South Downs. What about you Tom?
TG
: Nothing specifically to prepare for this. I am doing the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp ½ marathon (DM: tagline, “A run for idiots” – I rest my case) in Wales and the olympic distance ETU champs in Lisbon before but most of the prep will be long hilly trail runs over the south downs, a lot of sea swimming and some specific swim-run-repeat session with the wetsuit and soggy trainers. When did you last swim Dave?
DM: About 18 months ago. unless you count standing in a cold pool with my 4 year old boy as his lips turn blue.
TG (starting to look worried): Are you going to do any swim training?
DM: Nah. I’ll just rock up on the day. Although building up to that I’ll probably keep promising to do some. At the moment, I don’t even own a wetsuit.

Would you like a crack at oTillo if this goes well?
TG
: Yes. How do we qualify?
DM: I anticipate this might be our first and last race together. I’ll be amazed if we return in the same car.

Assuming you’re going to travel up together, have you got any must-haves for the soundtrack?
TG
: I am loving Benjamin Booker, Alabama Shakes and Teleman at the moment but I know Marchy is a boy of the 90s so we’ll need to chuck some Stone Roses and Massive Attack in there too!
DM: You can take the boy out of the 90’s…. I’d like a bit of Chemical Brothers, LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip too. In my world, new music stopped being made when my son was born, it got replaced with things like The Gruffalo, and The Hungry Caterpillar, I could bring those?

Have you got any SwimRun equipment on your Xmas list?
TG
: If Santa’s reading this a Zone3 Evolution wetsuit would be ace! Other than that I have a pull buoy and hand paddles and can drill some drainage holes in my trail shoes.
DM: I’m going to have to get handy with a pair of scissors to create a budget swimrun wetsuit, will have to do without pockets though. Must remember to take feet out of shoes when drilling holes too.

 

Now you’ve got to know our team a little bit more, maybe you’d like to have your team featured. Or maybe you’ve done a SwimRun event before and want to share valuable experience with others. Get in touch and we can fire some questions at you.

I want to know who we’re racing, lets make this personal!

Advertisements

2016 Challenge Race

This year my big race was London Marathon, I trained hard for it over the winter, set a new PB and even managed to get my face on the TV highlights.

The year before it was The Red Bull Steeplechase which was absolutely brilliant, a knockout fell race up in the Peak District.

Both these races took a lot of logistical preparation to even get to the start line, a very understanding supportive wife and a fantastic little boy who always goes to bed early enough to enable me to train whilst he’s asleep.

Next year I had my eye on loads of big races but I needed to whittle it down to 1. Thats the agreement I’ve come to with my wife. More than that takes away too much from our time as a family and just isn’t fair in terms of cost. Local races are OK every now and then, usually pretty cheap, done and dusted by mid-morning, family can come to cheer and High-5, and the little one gets to see his Dad & other people doing physical exercise as a normal thing.

So what are my options for 2016. And which one have I chosen?

Well, I was one of those lucky buggers who had a London Marathon YES Magazine drop through my letterbox for the 24th of April! So I’m off to London again right? Well…..erm No. I can’t do it. Since I entered the ballot I signed up on a Sports Massage course, and raceday clashes with the final weekend of the course. At least the decision was made for me with that one.

What about Ironman? Somehow, I had it in my head that I could do an Ironman next year. And after looking at options, I decided on Ironman Wales. Its in September so that would give me the nicest part of the year to do the long bikes and long runs required without having to go out in howling wind and rain on dark evenings. And the bike course looks really challenging too, with a climb that would look at home in the mountain stages of the TdF. Except I don’t really like riding my bike, I mean….I ride to work and back 15 minutes each way every day which is fine apart from the normal struggle with traffic, and I occasionally do 15-17 mile lunchbreak rides, ending up back in the office sweating and hungry. But the thought of sitting in the saddle for 5-6 hours whilst thinking about the marathon run still to come is something I’m still not ready for.
I’m going to have to become much better friends with my bike before that happens.

So what else is there, Man vs Horse? Yep, thats on my bucket list but not quite the challenge I’m looking for. A 50, or a 100 mile Ultra? No chance, not after my recent experience. I’ve learnt that I like to have other people around me, not necessarily to talk to, but just to take my mind of the hard work, and my first experience of Ultra running was quite lonely. I’m not ready for the psychological challenge of that.

A half Ironman then? A natural progression up through the endurance events. Maybe, but not as my main event, maybe I could fit a local non-branded long distance Tri in later in the year, I think the distance would suit me but I want something a bit different.

This year I spotted a handful of SwimRun races making their debuts in the UK, I would have loved to have done one of those but the logistical nightmare of getting up to Loch Ness from the South Coast made it a no go. So imagine my delight when Breca SwimRun was announced in the Lake District.

38 kilometres of running, 6 kilometres of swimming. split between 9 runs and 8 swims. Run in your wetsuit, swim in your shoes. Oh, and 1900m elevation.

SWIMRUNSCENE

The only problem was that you need to enter in teams of two, which meant finding some other loony who was up for a challenge. Some other loony who would be a similar pace to me would be ideal as the rules say you need to stay within 10 metres of each other. Some other loony who didn’t mind trekking however many hundred miles it is to Lake Buttermere (Its 380) to go and do this daft race.

That other loony…..is Tom. I didn’t even need to try and persuade him, he posted a link to the race on facebook asking if anyone was up for it! This was meant to be. I run at the track regularly with Tom and he’s a good target man for me, I know he’s a bit quicker than I am, especially when peaking for a race but I’m getting closer to him all the time. This is the same Tom i just managed to edge out in the Cross-country race last weekend actually so we’re pretty well matched on the run.
In the water he’s like a bloody fish though. I have no idea how I’m going to hang on to him in the swim sections. I should be able to get a big benefit from drafting him through the water but we’ll have to train together a lot to get the pace right on the swim otherwise he’ll leave me for dead in the shallows!

SWIM

So there’s going to be a lot of running over the South Downs over the winter and I’m probably going to do the 3 Forts Marathon as a training run with Tom. That should be good prep for the terrain as well as giving us chance to race long together.

I’ve got loads to work out between now and then. Fundamentals like which wetsuit am I going to get? Do I just cut a wetsuit at the knees and elbows and hope it doesn’t chafe too much. Or do I go specific and get something like the HUUB Amphibia or personal preference, the Zone3 Evolution.

Zone3 Evolution SwimRun Wetsuit
Zone3 Evolution SwimRun Wetsuit

And then there’s the question of shoes. Do I remove them for the swim and tow them along in a drybag? Or stuff them inside the suit? Or drill holes in the bottom for drainage and just swim in them?
And then there’s paddles and pull buoys, from what I’ve heard, if you’re not wearing paddles, you’ve got no chance of being competitive. My shoulders aren’t ready for that at the moment so there’e a lot of swimming to do over the winter. Expect to see me at club sessions with my shoes on as I experiment!

Despite the worries and apprehensions I currently have about this event, I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited when booking a race. The Steeplechase was good, but I think this is going to be even better. I hope the SwimRun genre takes off in the UK, the number of races has doubled between 2015 and 2016 and there’s at least one that’s a bit more accessible to newcomers, a short-course distance at Loch Ness.
I’ll try and keep my blog updated with my journey to the start line so people can learn from my mistakes in future.

If anyone’s got any SwimRun tips for a first-timer, I’d love to read them.

Goodwood 2015

I’d been looking forward to Goodwood this year, especially as my last race (an attempt at the Downslink Ultra) resulted in a DNF when I pulled out at 21 miles.

Goodwood is the first Sussex XC League race of the winter and is a 2 lap undulating course through the woods of the Goodwood estate. Its billed as 5 miles but I think it comes out at just over 4 and a half – leading to some rather flattering times. I came into this race feeling well trained but unable to shake a hamstring problem in my left leg – the same problem which caused my DNF 3 weeks prior.

After meeting my teammates in Tuff City I had a gentle jog of the top field followed by a thorough warm-up whilst the girls races were on. The ground seemed pretty firm, no mud to be seen but soft enough to warrant my Inov-8 X-Talons.

teamtuff

The clock ticked over to 2:30 and we made our way to the start line, as we got into position I spotted a chap from Worthing Striders who ALWAYS beats me by a couple of places, “you’re my target” I told him. He looked at me, totally bemused, he has no idea of the mental torment he’s caused me over the past year or so, this time, I was determined to beat him if nothing else. I found out his name (Andy), and lined up directly in front of him to hamper his start. It was either that or trip him from behind.

The gun went off, the watches went beep, and the thunder of feet across the turf sounded like The Grand National on TV. I did my best to relax and not get caught up in the mad rush to the first corner like I usually do. I heard my team-mate James chuckling away as I passed him just before the corner, he’d realised at this point that he’d been less in control of his start than he’d planned and something was definitely awry if he was ahead of me & Tom!

lap1

Andy from Striders eased past me as we dropped into the woods but I stuck to my race plan, of taking the first lap steady and trying to do even or even negative splits. Teammate Tom had moved about 50m ahead and I knew he had a similar plan to me, I was also concious that Tom is much quicker than me so if I was reeling him in, I was probably doing it wrong. So I reigned it in a bit on the flat sections, kept my cadence up and my breathing easy, said thank you to the fellow Tuffs cheering us on from the sidelines. I’d noticed that I was catching Tom on the uphill sections and as I went through the halfway point I drew level with him, we had a quick chat, he was feeling good on the downhills so we ran together for a while at a good pace. As the course dropped into the woods again we overtook people for fun, flanking them on both sides and reducing them to tears (I imagine). I started to gain a few meters as I’d seen my nemesis Andy further ahead and I felt now was a good time to make my move. I tried my best to make it seem like i was barely breathing hard as I went past him and if I’m honest, I felt really good. This was going to plan.

I approached a sharp right which then goes into a steep drop, the fastest point of the course, quite technical and requires quick feet. A Phoenix runner in front of me came to what felt like a complete standstill, I nearly flattened him! I danced round, almost into the trees and managed to squeeze past without shoving him to the ground – downhill running is a real skill, and he either didn’t have it or he was using that section to catch his breath.

lap2

I pushed on and had a strong 4th mile, this was mostly uphill and I opened up 30-40m on Tom at this point, the Phoenix runner I’d gone past a few minutes earlier was clearly better going up as he came back past me with half a mile to go. I hung onto his tail, knowing I’d catch him on the quicker parts of the run-in, I heard some words of encouragement from Phil B on the sidelines and gritted my teeth for the finish. Phoenix and I battled over the last few hundred meters, surging past each other until I finally nailed it on the sprint finish. Turned out this guy was at least 15 years older than me so I can’t call it my proudest moment but I’m pleased to have gone quicker again in my 3rd outing at Goodwood.

My finish time was 31:13 and i finished in 77th place. Almost 30 places higher and 2 minutes quicker than last time. The winner was Chris Zablocki, a 2:18 marathoner who completed the course in 24:00 exactly. This was a new course record and is truly mindblowing speed for a middle of the pack racer like myself.

Finally, Andy from Worthing Striders – if you ever read this, I apologise, its nothing personal, lets race it out again sometime!

2thumbs

VLM 2015

I’m a lucky sod – I got the Tuff Fitty Triathlon club spot for VLM 2015!

I found out just before Christmas so I’ve been keeping the mileage ticking over since then, lots of 5-6 mile runs and a couple of 10-13 mile long runs in there too. I set a new training PB over 10 miles which I’m happy about, a good base to start my training from. And I had an ECG at the doctors today which showed a resting heart rate of 45bpm. Happy with that too.

So today (5th Jan 2015) is the first day of my training plan. The next 16 weeks will be super focussed and dedicated to nailing every single training mile in the plan. Talking of which, the plan is something I’ve put together using different parts of Pfitzinger & Douglas, Jack Daniels Running Formula and Runners World.

Here’s the daft bit….

My previous marathon PB is somewhere up around 3:48. It was my first marathon. My 2nd ever race. and it was about 3 years ago. I’ve only ran one since then, the following year when I ran a few minutes slower.

This year. I’m training for a marathon time that begins with a 2. I’ll be blogging every week about my journey towards that goal and we’ll see if I can make it.

At the moment, I feel like it could be done, and that I just need to trust the training plan. I know its a huge step up, but I’m sure others have done it before. I know that my running has improved massively over the last few years, and that hard work often brings desired results. I’ll be happy never to run another one if I can just get a sub 3 hour one under my belt!

So here it is, Day One. 5 miles. Easy.

day1

I also kicked off the year with the first race in the West Sussex Fun Run League – The Hangover 5. It goes along one of my familiar training routes up Cissbury Ring and back down. I was going well until the last mile when the previous nights indulgences caught up with me and hit me with a stitch. I must have dropped about 10 places but still came home in 33rd  in 37:43 which aint too shabby.

http://www.strava.com/activities/235805106

 

 

Brooks Sussex XC League – Race 1: Goodwood

Back to Sussex and its time for the Brooks Sussex Cross Country League. The first fixture was on Sunday at Goodwood racecourse. This is my favourite of the four races as it takes in some nice woodland tracks rather than just skirting around fields.

As always, when the gun went, everyone flew off the line in the manner of Usain Bolt. Myself included. This meant that I had a cracking first mile and then faded badly. However, I did manage to achieve the honour of first Tuff home which was cool. And I also set a new PB, smashing almost 2 minutes off my time from 2 years ago, finishing in 32:58.

The quality of the field in these races is impressive; I averaged 7:13 per mile and only finished in 104th place. I’ve got work to do to keep up with some of these guys.

The X-Talons were brilliant for this race, definitely better than my New Balance would have been, and just as good as a spike.

Red Bull Steeplechase 2014

WOW!

Without a doubt – the best (and hardest) race I have ever been a part of.

It’s taken 2 weeks for my legs to forgive me, and I only managed 12 miles of it.

I arrived in Castleton just before 8am, there was frost in the fields and a thick fog in the Hope Valley. I was starting to think I’d brought the wrong kit with me as I only had shorts & a vest. I could see huge green/brown mounds obstructing the horizon ahead of me, and I burst out laughing, on my own. These were real hills. Not like the ones we have in the south. These were the kind of hills you climb, not walk. The realization of what today was going to involve hit me and I knew I was out of my depth here.

I went and signed in and took a walk up the first hill towards Mam Tor – a sign here told me the name Mam Tor means The Problem. (The Problem being its too bloody steep!)

I went through a few warm up drills to loosen my legs up a bit and went and joined the rest of the runners at the start line.

start

The lovely chap with the moustache and the pistol got us underway and off we went. After about 400m of a gradual incline we headed off road and up Mam Tor. This was the part I’d been dreading – half a mile of bear-crawling up a mountain. It didn’t disappoint either. Every time I looked up it looked like we were still to come to the steepest bit. My Inov-8 Xtalon 212’s were brilliant here, not a single slip, they bit into the ground which was a mix of wet grass, loose earth and deep bracken. Worth every penny.

image_proxy_large

The air was filled with panting, swearing and heavy breathing and somewhere in the distance I heard the gun go off again which meant the womens race had started.

I arrived at the top and immediately got into a stride, choosing the grass over the wet stone path along the ridge. I was pleased with myself, I thought I’d conquered the hardest part of the course and that from here on in it was going to be easy…..how wrong could I have been.

It was up here somewhere that there was a Brass Band playing, I think they were at the top of another climb that it was impossible to run up, it had stone stairs carved into it that sapped the energy from your legs as you pushed yourself up each giant step.

Somewhere else on the course a lone bugler played the theme from Rocky to help get you across the difficult terrain.

After 4 miles, the first scoreboard appeared. I felt like I’d covered at least twice that distance already but I was happy  to see I was in 126th position. This meant that barring disaster I should make it through the 1st checkpoint in Bamford easily.

Shortly after this the course dropped into the woods and we ran along some of the most beautiful single track trails I’ve ever come across. Concentration was absolutely key, as some of the footing was pretty technical. Loose rocks and uneven ground on fast descents meant that I was pleased to get to the bottom in one piece sometimes.

Red Bull Steeplechase 2014.
That’s me on the left – the scenery was stunning

As we approached Bamford we came alongside Ladybower reservoir which was spectacular, and it made for some particularly interesting running as we crossed narrow bridges and hopped over huge stepping stones.

A mile or so later and I was sailing through the first checkpoint, my eyes tend to water a bit when running so I’m not sure what position I went through in. I saw a drinks station and grabbed a water and a 50/50 redbull/water. This may have been a mistake as I got quite a nasty stitch about 10 minutes after and had to ease right off for a few minutes.

I’d heard that the first stage was by far the hardest and was looking forward to some relief in stage 2. However, the first half was all uphill (and we’re talking between 10 & 30% here) and my lack of training in the last few weeks was beginning to show.

The scoreboard came up and I was in 136th position, with only 125 to get through at the next cutoff in Hope. As I rounded a corner I could see about 20 runners within catching distance going up the next hill and I started to count back thinking I could pick them off.

As we got to the top of the hill I could see the next 2 miles down into Hope, descending down a rocky single track pathway, along a field and a short road but all downhill.

I got through the technical bit just fine, even picked a couple of runners off here, but the downhill got steeper and steeper and my quads got more and more upset with me. At this point I knew I was going no further. My legs were screaming at me to stop and as we hit the road, a marshall told us to keep off the verges and stay on the road. All I wanted to do was run on soft grass, the studs on my shoes were hurting my feet, my quads were on fire and the verge was just sitting there looking all soft and inviting.

definitely not me! eventual race winner Andy Greenleaf here in 2nd place.
definitely not me! eventual race winner Andy Greenleaf here in 2nd place.

I walked a few steps and someone came past me with words of encouragement which was enough to pick me back up. A few minutes later there were spectators cheering us on so I knew we were closing in on the checkpoint. We ran down a couple of streets I nthe village of Hope before bounding up a couple of steps behind a café and under the Red Bull inflatable. The counter was stuck on 126 and there were a few people sat down looking exhausted. I was directed over to the goody bags where I threw on my Hoody and downed some Red Bull.

I was absolutely spent, I could not have run another step. No other race has ever left me feeling like this physically. But boy had I enjoyed it.

We boarded the coach that was waiting for us and made the short drive back to Castleton where a Hero’s lunch was waiting for us at The Castle pub. All the Hog Roast you could eat, all the burgers you could eat, and all the beer/lager/cider you could drink. (Unfortunately I was driving)

But before I made it there I was joined by the man I’d raised money to say thank you to. Ray and part of his family (Caroline, Lucy & Sean) had made the trip up from Birmingham with bottles of fizz, they’d just missed me at the start, but had seen us going up Mam Tor. Then they’d hung around the finish waiting for me to get back. We shared a drink and a chat until I felt human again.

So all in all, I made it through 12 hideously enjoyable miles and raised £1150.01 for cancer research. Not bad.

I hear its not coming back for 2015 but I’ll definitely be back for it in 2016, better trained and aiming for Edale.

DaveRunning_Pic

RED BULL STEEPLECHASE: What have I done?

I don’t race very often. In fact, I haven’t raced once this year. I convince myself I’m too busy, whether that be with family life, work or studying for exams, I’m not sure. Maybe I am too busy, or maybe it’s something else. Maybe I’m scared of actually entering races, scared that everyone there is going to be better than me, scared that I’ll let myself down.

I don’t know, but I definitely should enter more events as I really enjoy them, I should make time so I can no longer use that as my excuse.

So, with that in mind, I’m not quite sure what lead me to enter what looks like one of the hardest races in England, the Red Bull Steeplechase. Aside from the fact I rarely race, this one is 226 miles away, and is essentially a fell race, and is potentially 21 miles long.

steeplechase 1

But for some reason, once I’d read that entries were open, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

500 runners start the race and a third of the field gets eliminated In a knockout format at various checkpoints  along the route. These are actual steeples in villages across the Peak District. This goes on until only 40 runners remain to battle out the final 3 miles.

Along the way, there’s 1400m (yep, that’s meters) of climbing to take care of and I’ve no idea how much descent. The first hill is apparently a 49% incline and goes for almost half a mile.

It all sounded fine until the hills didn’t it?

The scenery promises to be breathtaking (if the hills don’t get there first) and the hospitality is meant to be even better.

So the idea of this race buzzed around my mind all day. I floated the idea of actually doing it with my wife who jokingly (I think) replied with, “don’t get injured.” This sounded like an invitation I couldn’t turn down, I could worry about logistics of getting there at a later date.

5 minutes later and my screen was thanking me for entering and suddenly, the nerves and doubts started creeping in.

i started searching for reviews of the past 2 races. I came up with some superb, insightful write ups that clearly detailed the pain and exhaustion I could expect to go through on October 5th.

steeplechase2

As I read more and more about this race, the fear I was experiencing was gradually turning to abject terror. However, the one over-riding factor in all these reviews was the sheer joy felt by each and every athlete involved. Even if they only made it as far as the first checkpoint, they had taken away an unforgettable experience and promised to be back again.

So here I am, 105 days away from the start line, about to draft a training plan. Where the hell do I begin?

I’ve managed to talk a friend into it which helps, we always said we’d race together one day. I kind of envisaged it would be a parkrun. Unfortunately, he lives about a hundred miles away, so we can’t train together. He’s quicker than me over 5k too so I’ve got a lot to do to get the better of him.

He’s talking about being happy with reaching checkpoint 2 – that’s 12 miles.

My stupidity/blind optimism dictates I won’t be satisfied unless I make the top 30!

Without doubt, I have never been as excited for a race as I am about this one. Bring on the Steeplechase!