Cradle Mountain - The Final Countdown 

Posted by Nick Thursday, February 03, 2011 5:54:00 PM

With Cradle Mountain less than 48 hours away, I’m finalising the packing and getting ready for the 8am flight down to Launceston, and from there it’s a bus down to Cradle Mountain for a race start early Saturday morning.  Its been a quiet week of training, with a brisk 23km run on Sunday, 10km on the sand on Monday, 30 minutes cross-trainer on Tuesday, 10km on Thursday and a final 8km tune-up today.  Sydney has been baking with 30+ degree temperatures every day, so a taper week has suited the weather perfectly.

Based on some great feedback on CoolRunning, I’ve switch the hydration strategy to go with handhelds, and have prepared 12 zip-lock satchels of GuBrew (mixed with a teaspoon of BCAA mix), with the goal of downing one of these an hour over the race.

The weather for Saturday’s run looks great, with a very mild day looming and the possibility of rainfall is pretty low.  I’m planning on doing the race in shorts and a t-shirt, with plenty of warmer clothing in the Camelbak as part of the mandatory gear if the weather gets cold. 

I’m going into the event with three simple goals:

  1. Stick to the hydration and nutrition plan as outlined previously.  My biggest failure in the last two ultra is letting my energy run down way too much around the 6+ hour mark and failing to revitalise much from there.  I want to get in the habit early on Saturday of getting through the carb bar, energy gel and hand-held drink every hour, even when I don’t feel like it.  It’s funny how when you get in a low energy state, you lose the correlation between getting calories into you and how lousy your feeling.  It’s a hard cycle to break when you start feeling low and when there isn’t a lot of support points in a race.
  2. Correctly spread the effort level over the entire race.  It’s hard to not push hard in the early part of a race when you’re feeling great, and equally hard to run well in the latter parts when you’re totally spent from pushing too hard too early.  The Glenbrook marathon is a race where I really got it right in terms of having a great reserve of energy to power home at the end, and I’d love to achieve a similar outcome at an ultra.
  3. Really enjoy the experience, the environment and the event.  It’s easy to get carried with an arbitrary time goal and end up having a crappy day chasing the clock.  I think if everything goes well, 11 hours is possible for the race, but the strategy is to concentrate on sticking to the plan and letting the outcome take care of itself.

As well as doing the race, I've got a video interview with one of Australia's top ultra-runners lined up, so watch out for that in the coming weeks!

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