In a whirl of banana milk and beetroot juice the resting was done and training resumed. The next target race being UTMB meant the emphasis was going to be on hills and more hills.
My plan was to have two weeks of rest after WHW race and then a 5 week block of hard training and a 3 week taper. I seemed to recover really quickly from WHW this time though, so after a week I was right back into it with a good run from Kingshouse up the Buachaille along the WHW to Fort Bill and up and down the Ben, 35 miles and about 11 000 feet of climb, and a fantastic day out too!
A good solid weeks running and then I decided to do a run which I thought was very similar to UTMB in character, with lots of accumulated climb, even though it obviously lacked the long climbs of the Alps, two loops of the Pentland Skyline race route. I ran with Lucy and John, who is training for TDS again, and they dragged me round the first loop before leaving me to run the 2nd on my own, lightweights!
The Clyde Stride race was up the next weekend and my plan was to run a good weeks mileage and try and have a solid race at the end of it. I racked up about 65 miles by race day and not surprisingly had to really tough it out towards the end, the flat route was a bit of a shock to the system too! On Sunday I rounded off the week with another round of the Pentland Skyline with Oscar, who ran the entire route in his Vibram 6 fingers (...he's from Dundee).
Next up was a support run on Peter's Ramsay Round. What a brilliant adventure this was, I can see why it has the reputation it has as being one of the toughest hill running challenges out there, I also realised how rusty I am at the hill running with all of this easy trail stuff i've been doing!
My 5th week of UTMB training and again I was back for a double Pentland Skyline, running the first one with John and then managing negative splits on the 2nd after the weather got nasty and I got a good soaking as I pushed the pace to get back to the shelter of the car.
I had planned to put in another good week but I started to develop a niggle in my calf, which isn't surprising I suppose after 400+ miles and 105 000 feet of climb in 5 weeks! Unfortunately the niggle progressed to the point where I have had to reduce the running to virtually nil over the last fortnight and have been cycling like a madman, and having Tommy work his magic to try and get me going again, meaning all that training seems such a long time ago.
Will I be the most finely tapered man on the start-line of UTMB or will I be just too well rested for this monster challenge??
Who cares, it's going to be great fun!!