On Saturday I'm heading up to Wicklow for the Wicklow Way Ultra 50km race. I ran this last year but am hoping to improve significantly on my time. I ran it last year knowing that i had the Connemara ultra coming up a fortnight later and this, along with a lot of time wasted taking wrong turns, and a general "dont go balls out" attitude led to a slow time. This year I will be racing it (well in my own head anyway. That doesnt mean I will necessarily be troubling the leaders).Looking back at last year I realise i was way too conservative and i suppose it is a sign that my running has improved to some extent. For example last year i wore a camelback and packed a spare top, water and food into the bag. But this race is only 8k longer than a marathon, and while i know the terrain means its a slower course than a regular road marathon, there is no way i needed the gear. there is 3 spots to leave whatever food/liquid you need so this negates the need for the bag. Instead this year i will use a small handheld waterbottle and carry a few gels. My attitude last year was "just go out and enjoy a day in the hills" but this year i want to carry as little as possible and actually race the race. This will also be my first ultra wearing a minimalist shoe and no orthotics so im excited about that too. The Inov 8 F-lite 230's were made for this course so I'm looking forward to giving them a burn. This is a great race and with all the overpriced, underwhelming events that one can choose on a given weekend, this race goes to show what can be achieved with a bit of dedication and teamwork by the organisers. Its a modest €15 to enter and worth every penny. The course itself starts at Johnnie Foxes pub in Glencullen and goes along the wicklow way in the direction of Ballinastoe wood at the turnaround point, taking in the wonderful sights of Powerscourt waterfall and Djouce Mountain in the interim. There is plenty of climbing which i am really looking forward to.
The past 3 weeks have gone well in terms of mileage, 2 of which were 60+ mile weeks. On Friday the 4th of March I headed for the Galtys for my long session. I will do a seperate post about this run and hopefully work out how to post some snaps that i took. I took last week a little easier and raced the ESB/Fota 5km on Sunday the 14th. The start was at the Gates of the Sheraton hotel and it was a rolly out and back course passing Barryscourt castle. I finished 10th in 17.13. This was quicker than i expected to be given the amount of long slow running i have been doing. However on reflection i think this can partly be explained by the increased volume of running i have been doing and hopefully the improved efficiency resulting from a more minimal shoe.
I'llcheck in next week and report on the WW ultra