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End of Comrades Training

One last curry and a couple of pints of the local Windsor and Eton Brewery's finest polished off.

I've had my pre-race massage and go-faster haircut which did it's usual trick. It looks great until precisely 3 minutes after leaving the barbers whereupon it forms into a ghastly widow's peak type of arrangement and needs several litres of wax to stop it looking like I'm about to protest about something.

So a quick post of the state of training so I can review the bugger later and tut about if only I'd done more, or indeed less, or with different shoes, or eaten less sweets. Or more.

If this race were a marathon there would be no planning issue; the shoes would be the Saucony Fastwitch, I'd cart a couple of gels along and aim at 10mph.  However it's not.  So despite thinking about this race for 9 months there is still no plan.

I'm taking 2 pairs of shoes; the Fastwitch (Carlos Fandango super fast racing pumps) and a pair of Ride 4s (your average boring economical fuel consumption family car) which are a good 100g heavier but more cushioned.  And were bought for a mere £40 from the Cape Cod marathon expo. Got to love the way the US prices everything Dollar for Pound and then offers proper discounts at the expo!

Pacing is another total shot in the dark.  I run all my long efforts at 6:20-6:30 mins per mile. I don't aim for any specific time its just the groove I end up in.  Shooting for a Silver means averaging 8 minutes per mile or so.  That's much slower so will feel strange and I wonder if it would actually waste energy.  Maybe a run-walk strategy is best?  6:20 for sure is too fast and in any case I just don't run hills anything like as severe ever.

Total mileage so far this year has been almost exactly 1,000.  If this were a marathon I'd have planned to have run that at least by April. On the other hand it has included 3 hilly off-road ultras and a lot of long runs over 20 miles.  I can't help feeling that's all you need but I'd be happier if the total were a couple of hundred higher.

Tapering - which has been going on for about 2.5 weeks now - is usually a time of some stress where you're convinced your speed, strength and endurance are all draining away and maybe you've miscounted and you've actually only got one leg.. However this time I've found I just don't care.  I just can't see any loss of speed by a few seconds a mile makes any difference for this race so that''s a plus!

Nutrition is just one more area of uncertainty. A couple of gels during a marathon and the odd sip of the Powerade/Lucozade/Gatorade/Lemonade (ok, not Lemonade) and you're good. I've spoken to some fellow Comrades runners and they are planning on taking up to 11 gels with them!  That weighs about a kilo and needs a heavy duty ammo belt to cart about so that's not happening.  Anyway the taste of the stuff in my experience changes dramatically.  If you polish one off in place of a cup of tea, say, during the day it's completely unpalatable. But start burning up the calories and suddenly the stuff becomes a close approximation to nectar.  But, and here's the rub, keep going and pretty soon after 30 miles the application of a mere drop  of the stuff on your upper lip and you'd cheerfully projectile vomit.  Only real food will do at that point.  I've yet to find any variety of sandwich I can't put away mid-race and it's been a revelation to me that ultras throw food at you like your mother does during one of your occasional visits.

The Comrades has a picnic smorgasbord running the length of the race with flat coke (which I've never tried) and salted potatoes (ditto) being the staples so I'm going to bring 3 gels and otherwise browse the local feast and see what happens.

So, what's left is a 10-miler tomorrow and then just the odd jog here and there over in RSA accompanied by armed security if you believe the locals' apocalyptic warnings. Maybe not in Joburg.

The rest of the plan will sort itself out the morning of the 2nd!

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