Pembrokeshire Coastal Challenge – The Plan
So, 3 marathons in 3 days…. I must be nuts! Especially after my run training of late, which has been severely hampered by a foot injury. First things first, I am going to finish. I don’t have any goals other than that, no time goals and certainly no plans of breaking any records.
I am feeling very underprepared at the moment, partly due to training, partly due to the fact I have just been running around the house looking for bits of kit, hours before I need to leave, I partly because I don’t have any experience of this kind of thing, what so ever! I am going to be the 22 year old triathlete, rocking up to an ultra event, standing out from a mile away, with the shaved legs, looking completely lost, and silly shoes (see below). As crazy as it sounds, I am looking forward to it, I want to see how far my body and mind can go, and how I survive. I know I am young and recover quickly, so hopefully I should be able to put together 3 solid runs. I also know however, that I have not run more than 2 hours since July, and if I am out for 6 hours, I may well fall apart… only one way to find out.
I have had lots of discussions about kit with people. I will be running in a base layer with a thermal vest on top and gillet, and normal running shorts. If the weather is worse, I have plenty of tights, knee warmers, jerseys and fleeces to keep me warm, or even a running vest if it gets really nice (ha!). After a little experiment earlier in the week, I found that my IM Switzerland rucksack makes a great running sack, so will use that to carry my kit. I am going to wear my fuel belt, with 2 bottles in, and carry a normal sized water bottle in my back. (Did plan on using an old camelback I had lying around, but just discovered I would probably be arrested by the Environment Agency for the new species of mould growing in it!). As per the rules, I will have waterproof tops, warm kit and spare food/emergency supplies and a compass and whistle dangling off a strap to whack me round the chest every time I stop running smoothly.
My shoes have caused the biggest amount of contention! After listening to a lot of advice, I am listening to it carefully, then ignoring it! I plan to run in my Vibram FiveFingers, and reactions have ranged, from complete horror and outrage, to intrigue. From the running I have done in them off-road, I love it! They are a lot more comfortable then my other option, my Newtons. Unfortunately I am not in a position to be able to get some proper off-road shoes, due to time and money, but although I may be slipping around in the mud a bit, they perform a lot better in than normal shoes, and aggravate my injury a lot less than my Newtons, something that will be important after 120k! The only problem I am going to have is if it gets extremely rocky, and lots of little sharp rocks, which hurt due to the lack of protection. So I will be carrying my Newtons with me for that reason, and in case my feet pack in! I would be interested to hear if anyone has any experience of running extremely long in minimalist shoes or Vibrams. I do anticapate that if my form goes out of the window, then I could run into problems. Hopefully, running in Vibrams will stop this, but if I run into trouble then it will be Newton time. I have been told it is impossible, and there is no way I will be able to do it in the silly shoes, but there’s only one way to find out!
Hopefully if I can find some internet (or signal, it is the middle of Wales after all…) I will get a daily blog up after each stage. For now, it is time for the long drive down to Pembrokeshire. It should be a nice drive, lovely scenery etc, better than driving back in the dark on Sunday night after 3 marathons!