In less than two weeks we will hopefully find ourselves in New Zealand getting ready for the Tarawera 50k trail in Rotorua! My tummy just did a somersault: This is getting real!
We spent most of the two months leading up to the race on an incredible adventure in northwestern Botswana. And knowing the summer climate of this region and how incredibly tough I found it to run there on previous trips, I was almost certain that, in the end, I would just throw all in the wind and try to wing this race. Until I had a closer look at the profile and cutoffs and did a few personal calculations…
To cut a short story even shorter, I quickly decided to train. Hard! (at least to my standards).
And yes, as expected, it wasn’t all easy. The heat and humidity were way up there most days. And some days we trained in the rain. And the flies luvvved themselves a sweaty morning runner, as did the mozzies in the evenings. And then I had to be creative at hiding my mid-run bananas and crackers from the thieving monkeys.
But the birds! The Birds! And the glistening lazy river and the noisy forest and the bashful bushbuck and the smell of damp leaves and falling prey to early morning cobwebs and the wirrrr of huge and heavy scarabs and bright yellow donkey daisies with their little faces turned to the sun… The regulars along our shared morning route, them on their way to fetch water or to work or to bring the cattle to graze or noisily escorting obstinate donkey fouls home.
Without a hill in sight for miles we had to compromise and adapt, but I can happily report that we pulled it off. The training part, at least, let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
In lieu of a decent hill to train on, I got hold of a tire (dankie Piet!). Sadly (luckily?!) the only one on hand was a truck tire (… and I didn’t mean truck as in bakkie). So we got to work by fixing a ratchet strap to the tire and hubby and I put in some hard labour earning our keep by clearing and leveling some lodge tracks. A hard, hard workout, but probably the best alternative to proper hill running (we’ll find out soon enough!)
Regular dips in the pool, post-run or even mid-run kept core temperatures in check and were a well-anticipated reward, and the boys were always just as keen to join for this part.
I also indulged in regular yoga HIIT sessions, which was easier to keep up than what I expected. My body especially thanked me when I managed to fit in a yoga session after a long drive, and I could feel the difference it made in my mobility, both in running and in general.
The Otter training tips by John Collins which I wrote about here is still my go-to routine for training for a trail marathon. What I didn’t mention in that post is that, although I don’t do exceptionally long long-runs, I usually try to complete at least the full distance of the race I’m training for during the long distance week, the 3rd last week before the race. I’ve had 90% + success with this routine in the past (ahem, Mont Blanc Marathon …), so this little go-to tweak usually usually gives me a little peace of mind. I completed 55 km this past week with two weeks to go to race day.
Most of the work is done. All that remains is some hard hill repeats and trying to stay healthy (and eat healthily) during travel week. We are all so super excited for this trip!