Best of intentions
I had plenty of time to prepare for UTA50 since entering September 2018. Among bouts of running I finished Fitz’s Classic 165 km with relative ease and l’etape 170 km (story to come).
Then this thing happened
l’etape took a lot out of me. I climbed col de Beloka without stopping for the second time and climbed col de Perisher stopping only for water, a rider in agony from cramp and my mate abandoning 3 km from the summit. I wasn’t in too much pain but I was fatigued for almost a month. I did some light rides and runs in December to get back into it.
I managed a 30:09 PB at Gungahlin ParkRun on 1 January, which was a surprise on the new course made slower by the new U-turn, but fell apart at the Tuggeranong ParkRun a few hours later, which was unsurprising.
The heat. Canberra’s weather was so hot for so long. It was even hot at night, which is unusual in Canberra, which compromised my sleep.
And my new and very important job was stressful and required some after hours work.
But I did train on Mt Stromlo and Black Mountain to be ready for the Kowen Trail New Year’s Resolution 12k on 20 January. On that day the heat was kept at bay by the overcast conditions. Lovely course and event. I’ll be back.
Then I was hit by a chest infection and asthma. The rule of thumb is that illness from the neck up need not affect training, and many’s the time I’ve started a long ride with a sore throat that disappeared after 10 minutes. But illnesses below the neck can become much worse through exertion and add weeks to recovery time.
And 4 weeks of recovery later I was left with just over 2 months to train.
Training as-planned vs. as-is
According to my coach’s plan, by March 2019 I should have been running 50-70 km each week with 150 km of cycling. And Bikram yoga. Instead my training which sparse to say the least. My Strava training calendar looks like a real training calendar with the week days removed. (It’s actually shocking to see how little I did!)
I did less sessions, slower, longer, almost all on dirt, climbing and descending steep things, walking up and down stairs, using my equipment including trekking poles, and running at night with a headlight. I figured that becoming familiar with the edge cases of trail running would save time and mental anguish in the field.
And then, after a 28 km hilly session my left calf was popping. Dr Google said that it was an Achilles tendon about to rupture. I have never had a problem with my Achilles tendon and I didn’t have time for one now. RICE and heel lifts would have to work a miracle.
My chances of completing UTA50 in 10 hours were now zero. Were my chances of finishing only 50/50?