On Saturday morning I will be setting off on my second ever stage race – the Gore Tex Transalpine. My first was the 60ish mile Pony Express Race earlier this year. The race covers 200 miles of the Alps in 8 days with 15,000 of ascent. Eeek. I will be tackling the race with my boyfriend Kris, as all runners must compete in teams of two.
This race represents a lot for me – until Kris entered us in December last year, I had never run an ultra or even a mountain marathon. When he entered me, it kick-started my interest in ultra’s and ultimately led me to setting up my 600 mile charity challenge. Stats for each day are as follows:
So how to get ready for a stage race? Well I’ve been focusing on training and racing in mountainous or at least hilly terrain as much as possible this year. I’ve also focused on upping my mileage but to be honest, I’ve hardly done any ‘stage race’ training. Actually I’ve only ever done two weekends of long runs back to back. I am starting to wonder if this was an oversight on my part but I guess I will have to wait and see. I have spent the last 2 weeks tapering, with just a few 6 mile runs and a 10 mile run this weekend to keep me ticking over. If you have read some of my other blog posts, you will know that I’ve had a couple of injuries over the last few months, mainly a stress fracture on my left shin. I am particularly worried about how this and how my unbelievably blister prone feet are going to hold up.
The other difficult part of preparing has been packing my kit. The mandatory kit is fairly basic – a backpack, 1.5 litres of water, waterproofs, hat and gloves, trail maps, basic first aid, a safety blanket and some basic food provisions. There are some checkpoints – between 1-4 on each day, but since I am vegan and wheat free I assume that I will need to carry everything I plan on eating. I’ve got plenty of Cliff bars and will be taking a box of 9 Bars with me as well. I plan on running in my Montrail Bajada’s, although I’ve only done one race in them. I will also be taking my Brooks Cascadia’s and my trusty Brook’s adrenaline road shoes if all else fails.
As always, I’m nervous but also really excited about this race. It’s going to be incredibly tough but a great adventure. There are lots of reasons why I am running this but the most important one is to raise money for the children’s ward at the National Spinal Injuries Centre. My charity page has more information about my 600 mile challenge. I’ve visited the ward and will be visiting again after the race – the children follow my blog and progress and will be really grateful for anything you can give. I will hopefully be able to update the blog at least in part during the race but I will definitely have a big post up once we have finished – at whatever stage that is!