By tdw on Sep 04, 2009
When I ran the first race in this series back in January as my first fell race, I got the bug and set myself this race as the target. I actually thought it would be reasonably easy to increase my mileage to 16+ on long runs to prepare for the event, but as it turns out, the mileage wasn't the problem - it was developing the strength and stamina to cope with the almost 4000' of ascent over that distance!
I first reccie'd a large part of the route back in the early spring, and bumped into a guy who'd run it before who thought I was starting preparation very early. He was so wrong! In that first run, I adopted the "if it looks like a hill, walk it" mentality - keeping my heart-rate under 160. This enabled me to get round most of the route without premature death - albeit somewhat slowly. A good tip well received from Clive when I read his report of the Highland Fling.
Since that first reccy, I've done all or large parts of the route (with slight variations to test the times) 4 times. Each time, it's been an extreme effort in lasting the distance. In part that's because I normally do my long runs on Sunday afternoons, and twice they were warm, sunny afternoons which resulted in me being impacted by dehydration. However, I did do one run on a cooler day with plenty of fluids on board, and that convinced me that not only was I nearly ready, but I should also be able to put in a reasonably respectable time.
The event is now less than 48 hours away and I'm in a good state of preparation. Began tapering last week, with a short race on Thursday evening followed by a 9.5 mile moorland run on Sunday. This week I had intended to run with the club on Wednesday evening for an easy leg-stretcher, but the weather was so foul and depressing that I decided that I could easily excuse myself as part of tapering So now, it's carb-loading for dinner from last night through to Saturday night - pasta with everything. Also plenty of fluids, although a little more alcohol than I should! The weather forecast is looking good for a reasonably mild (19C max), but cloudy Sunday. Perfect running weather!
I was hoping that I would be able to enter the Highland Fling next year, but I'm not sure that I can get in the preparation I need to extend to 50+ miles of running by April. I was also hoping to enter next year's Ben Nevis race, but I know I need much more strength to be able to cope with 4500' of ascent in 9 miles. Hopefully, this Autumn's training should help me make a decision on both, but even if I don't enter either of them, next year I'll be aiming to complete some 20 and 30-mile fell/trail races.