My whole year of running has been leading towards one thing – the UTMB – and now it’s here. Tomorrow morning I fly off to Chamonix and at 5.30pm on Friday I head off on the biggest race I’ve ever done.
During the last 8 months I’ve trained harder and more consistently than I’ve ever done before and I’ve certainly bored people about this race harder and more consistently than I thought was possible. I got myself a coach (Mimi Anderson), I successfully applied to be part of the Trail Team, I did some very long races, I ran in the Lakes, I spent 3 days on the UTMB course in July (with the Trail Team), I did a lot of hills, I tried sessions I’ve never tried before, I met a ton of inspirational runners and tried to learn as much as I could from them, and I didn’t have any injuries. In short, I’ll be standing on the start line, probably for the first time ever, feeling like I’ve done all I can to put myself in the best position possible to complete the race.
I still feel terrified, but it’s the good kind of terror, and I think that if you’re not pretty scared about races where you spend 2 nights in the mountains and where the weather can take a sudden turn, then you’re probably not taking them seriously enough. And I think that if you’re pretty terrified of doing something, then the feeling of completing it is so much sweeter.
I met the awesome and fascinating performance coach Midgie Thompson once and she told me to take a mental snapshot of a moment you’re incredibly proud of and tap into it when times get difficult. So here’s my (literal) snapshot: me at the Mer du Glace, having just completed the CCC for the first time (which I was utterly underprepared for), with a St Bernard dog, obviously. I really hope I have a whole new snapshot come Sunday morning.