I don’t often write about big races before the event. Although I wouldn’t say I was superstitious, I suppose it can feel like I’m tempting fate a little by committing thoughts to words.
On Friday, I’ll be embarking on my first ever multi-day ultra race. I’ll be spending the day on my feet, fuelled by carbs and sugary drinks, before bedding down in a sleeping bag, then repeating it all again the next day. And then again the next day. Covering on average thirty miles each day for three consecutive days, it’ll be the longest (and toughest) race I’ve done to date.
The race is rather charmingly named ‘The Toad’ and starts in Oxford, taking in the length of the Thames path before arriving back in London, pretty much. It’s funny, because last year I paid similar amount of money for a ticket to Reading festival (which coincidentally was on the race route), where I also survived on food and beer carbs for three days and snuggled up in a sleeping bag with foam plugs in my ears for good measures each night.
At least this time there will be showers, flushing toilets and a roof over my head. In the past month leading up to the race I’ve been feeling fairly relaxed and even a bit excited at the prospect of taking on big, new challenge. Coming away from a couple of successful marathons with a few hundred miles of training under my belt, tonnes of yoga and having trialled out new fuelling methods (hello, baby food and jaffa cakes) on long runs, I suppose I should feel reassured and as ready as I’ll ever be.
But in the past week, reality has started to hit home and I must confess I’ve been feeling a bit daunted by the prospect of running 90 miles. Although I guess I’ve come a long way, it still feels like I have a massive mountain to climb.
I suppose that’s not really the case; the race follows the Thames downstream so technically it’s downhill all the way to the finish line (focus on the positives and all that). But as the pre-race prep starts: the packing, the tapering and just generally getting organised, I think the excitement is starting to return.
Laying out all my race kit, ready to be packed (premature, I know). Digging out that sleeping bag and cleaning my water bladder. I suppose it’s only human to be anxious about a big race. All I know is that it feels like I’m about to dip my toe in a new, exciting world and I can’t wait for Friday to come.