Escape from Meriden Kit Check

It’s been a month since my last post and that’s because I haven’t really done much.  Sure I’ve put in the miles but I’ve also been listening carefully to my body and my body kept on saying rest.  So, for probably the first time, I listened and I feel great because of it.

I’ve also been planning for my next big race.  The Escape from Meriden in a couple of weeks time.  It’s just too far and crazy a distance for my mind to understand which is perfect as it hopefully will mean no pre race nerves.  I’ve planned my route from the start to my finish point and apart from a few small sections it looks good for running on.  I’m a road runner so the route was always going to be a tarmac one, less chance of mud as I really hate mud.  People keep asking me how far I think I will get and the answer is always the same.  I will run 105 miles to get home.  How much of that I manage in the 24 hours of the race is a different matter, I’m hoping for 90 miles, as the race finishes at midnight Saturday night and I still have to get home.  Of course after midnight I do have the option of public transport or a taxi or any friend who is foolish enough to have their phone on, doesn’t drink and has a car.

Laid all my kit out on Sunday just so I can see it all and so I could take photos for Addey.  It looks so much when you lay it out but in reality it all squishes down in size.

ultra-kit

ultra-kit-guide

I’ve decided to do away with the bladder for this run and go with a water bottle belt instead.  It allows me to pack more equipment in the back pack but without increasing the weight that I’m used to carrying.  Whether that decision is a wise one only time will tell.  I’ve also doubled the front and back safety lights I wear: Be seen. Be safe.

The Charity vest is not a vital piece of my kit but I’ve always run with it from my very first race and it’s like a comfort blanket.  I’ve also found that people are more willing to help you if they know what you are doing is helping others, and that includes use of toilets, filling up water bottles and cake.

I normally don’t taper well at all but this time it’s different.  This time there’s no back up, no aid stations, no 1st aid help on the race.  I have to get to the start line in the best possible physical shape, I’m even having my first sports massage next week.  Mentally I’m already there waiting to set off, hoping there is a toilet near to the start.

Do Runners Inspire runners?

I’m a member of a few Facebook running communities, most have a mixture of very good runners and more beginner runners and the combination works.  Most Sundays are full of race results, pictures, medals and self congratulatory posts seeking approval from their peers.  I’m not knocking it as I have done exactly the same thing. They are in a safe place, a runners place and runners do understand runners and they know they will get a nice response because their real friends don’t care or understand about running.  I still post every run on my Facebook page as it’s an easy way of recording them if I ever want to look back again.  I even have a few runner friends who like my posts.  🙂

I have to admit that I tend to gloss over the very large majority of these posts as I only fleetingly “know” these people and even then it’s only on the Internet.  The posts I do look for are those of people I know and have met or members of my online running team as we actually communicate more than just race times and results.  There are also the posts from runners who have struggled or are struggling, the ones carrying a few extra pounds and the runners who just find it hard work.  I like them because I can relate, I was them, I still am them, I’ll probably always be them.

I can feel the pride of a first time 10k finisher, or a half or a full as I’ve been there and I remember the pride and relief of finally reaching a magical target.  For them time is immaterial, the finish line means more than anything else.  I celebrate with these people and congratulate them, it’s a mighty achievement.

Where I have issues are the runners who go online to tell everyone how they failed in achieving a certain time when that time “they failed at” is faster than 99% of the time all the runners could ever achieve.  The “failure” runner knows this and posts and waits for all the posts telling him/her how awesome and amazing they are.  STOP IT!!  We know you’re faster than us, belittle yourself somewhere else.

Do runners inspire runners?  Everyone is inspired by different criteria and no one is the same in thinking what is good or bad or inspiring.  Elite runners don’t inspire me, what they do, they do easily, it’s hardly an effort or so they make it seem.  Fast club runners and their 1:30 halfs don’t inspire me.  I can’t run that fast and never will be able to.  The runners that inspire me are the ones that push themselves but at a level I can relate to.  I know what a 6 hour marathon feels like, I’ve felt that pain that goes on for hours.  I can relate to someone who runs 50 miles and it takes half a day.  These are the runners who have to push themselves, they go to the start and know it’s going to hurt and hurt for a long time.  These are the runners who don’t realise they inspire other runners, they do it because they feel that they have to, they usually do it to raise money for great causes and sometimes they do it just to show other people that they can do it.

Who inspires you and why?