Taper-time and other tantrums

It’s SVP-4 days and I have to admit that I’ve been putting off writing my pre-race blog post for nearly a week now, because even just thinking about race day sends my heart rate through the roof and makes me feel ever-so-slightly sick.

I’ve no idea why I’m so anxious about it; training since North Downs Way has gone well, very well in fact – I’m not sure I’ve had such a consistent block in the 2 1/2 years I’ve been running. I’m feeling organised with my usual lists of Race kit, Crew kit, and Recovery kit. The former encompassing everything I’ll need on me on race day, from the mandatory kit in my bag, right down to my underwear, as though I’m worried that in the pre-race excitement I might actually forget to put my pants on, despite this NEVER having happened before. Maybe it’s something about ensuring I’ve got all the bases covered. Ahem. I’ve recce’d the course (and made tonnes of mistakes in the process in the hope that I won’t actually make the same ones on Saturday), and I’ve got a super-duper crew lined up. So what could possibly go wrong? I expect I’m about to find out.

Yes, so I’m anxious. I think it started with the first recce, which was one of my least enjoyable runs ever. The other two were better, but not by much, and I guess I’m worried about it not being enjoyable. I’m not worried that I can’t cover the distance, despite it being my longest event to date, so (as I keep asking myself) what’s the problem? I think I just need to chill out.

As well as obsessing about SVP100, I’ve also been on a gorgeous recce of the Ladybower50 route in preparation for September. This was absolutely the perfect antidote to the SVP recce runs, where nettles, brambles, ankle-turning ploughed fields, and rubbish waymarking were the order of the day. The route round the Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs up in the Peaks was stunning and peaceful. I don’t mind telling you that I cannot wait for that race! The campsite where we stayed for a couple of days after was pretty special too…


I’m not a big fan of this pre-race period. It’s very much like hanging around on the runway before take-off; mulling over the things you’ve forgotten to pack, and all the irrational thoughts about what might lie ahead, without being able to disembark and sort any of it out. There’s still plenty of time for me to oscillate from anxious, to wildly excited to be racing, and back again, before I can really get my teeth stuck into it. I’ve got another couple of runs planned this week, to keep the legs ticking over, and an appointment with Magic Megan at the brilliant Fit Again Sports Therapy this evening, but mainly I’m trying to focus on getting as much sleep as possible, feeding both myself and my list-writing compulsion, and checking the weather forecast every 30 mins to see if it is still favourable!

Despite all the above, I really am looking forward to it, and come Saturday at 9am I will be ready to go. I have only the vaguest of ideas of long it’s going to take me, and no idea how I might do, but I’ll be giving my absolute best shot on the day. For those of you that know me, I’m sure my crew will give updates on facebook along the way (if they can get signal, that is), and I’ll see you back here next week for the blow-by-blow account!


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