Dear Coach #5

18 August, 2019

Snoopy from Peanuts says find your superpower

I know exactly what my Super Power is - it’s forgetting pain super-quickly. How else would I have had four children? How else would I have entered a 50-miler not once but twice? Such a pity I didn’t get a normal super power like dashing into a phone booth, putting on red underpants and saving people from a tsunami.

Well Coach, I did my 25 km followed by 20 km the next day, all preceded by a 30 km cycle on Friday. It was a bit of a toughie but I managed.

I’m following a 4:1 run/walk ratio when I train because there will be plenty of walking at Karkloof. My run/walk strategy normally comes out at just below 9 minutes per kilometre, which in theory can be held all day. That would give us a 12-hour 50-miler - only one hour with the headlamp!

BUT - and it is a huge BUT - several things need to be factored in. We need to add an hour for stopping at aid stations. At the first one or two, we’re pretty slick getting in and out but then things fall apart fast. It is extremely difficult trying to get a tight fitting thermal top onto a wet body. Plenty of time is wasted hopping around with my head stuck and not knowing where my arms are.

Then we need to add another hour, maybe even two, for the general fade - both in strength and in good humour. This additional time can also account for episodes of total hysteria, falling off stiles and getting lost in the dark. I hope the Old Goat is wide awake this year, navigation-wise - I always run behind him, for purposes of snake avoidance obviously.

This brings us to a 15-hour race - that would be first prize. But then there is the weather. A dry day would be very welcome but heaps of rain could well add another hour or two. There was very little running and masses of floundering in the mud for the last 32 km of last year’s race. Fingers crossed for this year.

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