To err human, to oriente-err divine?

IMG_7092 3I’ve not written much for a while and been quietly ticking along, trying to focus on quality training despite having a much fitter partner for the OMM which is coming up very soon.  So after being offered a month’s free coaching via twitter I’ve just finished week 2 of that and what a difference.  I’ve found it refreshing to not have to think about what to do and also where I’ve been nervous to push I’ve got myself into a slow running fug.  Mile after slow mile.

“Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast.” Emil Zatopek


Over the last two weeks I’ve noticed an amazing difference.  Weight has started to drop and tone develop.  Having someone tracking my calorie intake and sessions has kept me honest (enough). Even my easy run pace has sped up.  After a few testing sessions to set HR/Pwr zones intervals and aerobic steady runs have replaced slow and easy pace runs.  I don’t even know how far I’ve run the last few weeks.

I had to google deadlifts and other leg weight machines will help strengthen my legs.  My left hamstring is weaker than right by some margin – coupled with my weak left arm swim adds to my probability of injury.

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Today I ran at the Bucklebury Common Orienteering event.  Rubbish map quality but that wasn’t the reason for my poor performance.  I was tired and made some very noob errors.

To err human, to oriente-err divine?

Errors to fix:  Tape your laces.  Wear a sweat band, head band – stop sweating.  Look through the magnifier not around it!  Steady to 1 (and 2, 3, 4 etc).  Concentrate out of the control as well as in!  Avoid veering – the 30 degree veer so you hit the wrong side of the forest square.  Grr. Frustrating first run on the season.

Positives:  I knew and looked at my control descriptions.  The inov8 shoes I’ve not worn before are amazing – very grippy and comfortable.  Ankles were strong.

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Glad I got this rubbish run out the way on my first run of the season.

My goal race for 2020 had been the Lakeland 100.  It’s a big race that I’ve wanted to do and it will only get harder to get in, especially with no wait list.  And then sometimes life throws opportunities at you that you can’t ignore.


The Barkley Marathon: You know the one from Netflix (which I can’t find on there now so here’s the trailer).  Many watch the documentary and think it looks ragequit hard, I think it looks fun but also know entry is nearly impossible (over 1000 entries for 40 places with the best in the world entering) and failure almost certain.

Wikipedia has a good overview of the race.  What few people know is there’s other events run by Laz such as the Big Dog’s Backyard series and the Barkley Fall Classic or BFC.  Except with the internet people do know.  There’s 8000 people in the BFC group on Facebook, which someone called Laz posts on.  So it’s the kind of race I enter because I don’t expect to get in.

I didn’t enter the wait list last year but it turned out they were auto-entering all previous years people who had entered this year on 1 Oct 19 meaning there were about 94 places for over a 1000 entries from what I understand.  And here’s the curious bit some people don’t accept or they drop out days after.  Some said they were just hoping to keep their lottery wait list going, some may have got scared.  Around 250 people are likely to come off the wait list. It’s a ridiculous event.  50Km on the website, more like 40 miles, 20,000ft of climb including 2000ft over 0.8mi at one point.  It visits Rat Jaw, the Meth Lab, Testicle Spectacle and the winner gets entry to the Barkley.  The winner gets entry to the Barkley.  I’m not suggesting I’m of that calibre but I’d like to see how I get on against that course, those famous hills and meet the legend of Laz.  Touch the yellow gate “where dreams go to die”.

It has a 50% success rate.  I beat the Dragon’s Back with a twisted ankle and blistered feet.  I’d like to think I can tough out the bad times.  I’ve swam around a jetty sticking a mile out to sea in conditions that the safety swimmers didn’t go out in.  While I’m yet to do a ‘simple’ 100 miler the opportunity to know my place and test myself on the hardest courses ‘out there’ is too much to resist.  I entered, I got offered a place, which you have to accept immediately.  I know why people drop out, a 90% refund makes it easy and affordable.  The course is not a place for the faint-hearted.  We’re looking for that goldilocks difficulty.  So I now need to reassess.  Do I join those who cannot dare to follow through and stay with the Lakeland or do I dump lakeland and go for endless hill repeats at Wendover which opens Wendover 50Km as a long run race warm up in July?  Do I look at Ultra Trail Snowdonia (UTS) 30/50/100 in June?  The main goal, a bucket-list adventure of a lifetime.  Soon enough I’ll be back at sea and all this will be a distant memory. So what are you waiting for?  Who wants to come and meet Laz?



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