A week of goals achieved, not achieved and curve balls thrown, all in the name of preparation. In my last blog I wrote about a 7km target distance for the week, on Monday I ran 7.7km in just under 55 minutes, it may not be considered by most to be fast but for me it was the farthest distance and longest time I’d ran non stop. I still cannot believe how good this run felt. Like many people I us an app to record my runs, I use Strava, it lets me not only monitor that run but compare to previous efforts and other local runners. I find that all this data means that there’s always something I can aim for, helping me stay motivated.
This week also brought with it the news that Spartan Race UK were cancelling their Spartan Sprint event in Manchester, Bang goes my first preparation event! So now I have a weekend set aside for fun and mud but no event. Looking around the suffering race (www.thesufferingrace.co.uk ) appears to be the best around at that time. It has a choice of distances, seems reasonably priced and the highlights video looks amazing. The 5Km and 10Km are currently the same price leaving the choice to just do the 5Km or double the value by doing 10km. Oh the choices!
Diet wise, Paleo did not work for me, or rather I didn’t put the time in that is needed to succeed at this rather extreme diet. I’d say around 60% of my diet was “Paleo”, not quite achieving my target but a step in the right direction to cleaning up my diet. Do I see this as failure? Well strictly speaking I didn’t achieve success but I did learn from the experience and as long as you are learning can you count anything as failure? As I move forward I’ve got more to do in terms of cleaning my diet up but right now I’m enjoying experimenting with food, mixing the training up and living an active life.
A further week has passed and the dust has settled, I now have a sense of excitement as I look to plan the journey ahead. I am aware that a goal set for a year away can creep up and smack you in the unprepared face, leaving you shell shocked and re-evaluating your goals. Realising this I set myself the goal this week to identify a couple of “preparation runs” in the next few months – the problem with this is you begin to realise just how expensive a hobby this Obstacle Racing can be. Luckily I came across an article in Obstacle Race Magazine that alerted me to the idea of volunteering at events in order to get a free (or discounted run). As a result my first “preparation” event will be June 25th Spartan sprint in Manchester (www.spartanrace.uk for more details), although looking at the Videos I am confident this will be a challenge in itself. I have also dragged a colleague of mine along for the fun, she is a much more experienced runner and one of those strange people that actually find just running relaxing; apparently this happens when you run often. I am yet to reach that point.
“The person you are now and the person you want to be are only separated by your actions.”
So far I haven’t changed my diet, although I’m looking at losing about 8kg to make some of the obstacle I know I will face just slightly easier. I have been looking at some nutrition theories, Paleo, Dolce Diet, IIFYM, Zone diet and calorie counting are just some of the “theories” that come up on this subject. Why is it so complicated? Is it actually that complicated? I’m liking the idea of Paleo diet but really the limited carbohydrates is something I think will be difficult for my body to adapt to; I am a showcase for the emotion “Hangry” when on low carbohydrates. So that’s where I am going to start this week I am aiming for 75% of my diet to be based on the paleo principles, I do this knowing it won’t be easy and that preparation will be key to success but it’s only 7 days.
Training wise I have never been more motivated to get out and train, to the point that I am having to reign myself in so that I increase the workload slowly, minimise injury and overtraining. In terms of actual training I have long been an advocate doing what you enjoy; sounds simple I know but I see so many people spending hours on CV machines or resistance machines purely because they think they have to. So that’s what I’m sticking by I have done intervals work on the treadmill, bodyweight circuits, some kettlebell and barbell work and even one long (for me) run. A 6.2km run primarily along the Leeds-Liverpool canal. From the first step it felt like someone had placed concrete blocks in my shoes so to actually run farther than I ever had before was a huge positive. The next week will be more of the same, I am aiming to hit 7km on my “long” run, other than that my training will be largely more of the same.
So that’s this weeks targets set 7 days Paleo, 7Km run small targets but these small steps are forming the foundation on which I can build the characteristics necessary for successfully completing my Rat Race challenge.
It was a moment of madness, as I closed the confirmation page one thing was going through my mind; “What have I done?” The video clip lasted just over 3 minutes and is full of people smiling, having fun and sharing high fives all whilst conquering obstacles, not easy obstacles but doable obstacles (or are they?). The chimp in my brain (if you’ve read “The Chimp Paradox” you will understand, if you’ve not, well you should) couldn’t hide it’s excitement and clicked “sign me up”, the computer in me (another Chimp Paradox reference) rebooted just as confirmation arrived. I had signed up for Rat Race Dirty Weekend 200 obstacles spread over 20 miles ( http://ratrace.com/dirtyweekend/ ). A hard task for most but when you consider that at 4’11”, having never ran more than 6km and my OCR experience is 3 5km events over the last 2 years, you get an insight into the journey ahead.
me taking a dive during the major series in Leeds 2016
There’s one more thing, my ex-squaddie dad turns 50 in January, what would any self-respecting first-born do for their father? You guessed it, he’s signed up too. So here marks the countdown (356 days as I’m writing) to one of the toughest physical challenges I have ever attempted. What better way to stay accountable than to blog about this journey to Burghley, my successes, my mistakes and my failures.