Race day is all about preparation. A carefully chosen beer the night before, a light breakfast and a well-timed bowel movement before getting into your car, arriving at the start line in plenty of time. That sort of thing.
That’s all well and good for races you know, but what about the ones you don’t know much about?
Most races have at least one section that other runners talk about in hushed tones that range from reverence to abject terror. Talk to anyone about Two Oceans and you’ll hear mystical words like chappies and constantia nek – unless they happen to be running the half marathon and then it’s all about southern cross drive (a hill that could be anywhere between 1km and 278km in length depending on who you talk to).
It’s easy to get psyched out about certain stretches of road and the only way to get over this is to go out and run them as part of your training. Chappies (Chapman’s Peak) for example no longer worries me. You can tell this from my refusal to italicize it further. Constantia Nek on the other hand…
Before I go on I should also point out that much like the warnings you get on medicine purporting to put children to sleep on long-haul flights there is a chance that this exercise could result in the complete opposite of what you had hoped, but where’s the fun in a sure thing?
This morning was our first look at a steep climb up Table Mountain that features in the upcoming Beast 50km – Nursery Ravine (feel the whisper…feel the reverence…).
The start of it looks like this.
Then it keeps going…
And about halfway up, the world looks a bit like this (the green area to the left of the reservoir for those who know Cape Town is Kirstenbosch – looks very cool from above).
Going up the ravine was tough – about 600m of vertical climb with pretty much no running spots. While climbing I was convinced the whole thing was a bad idea, but once we reached the top and my legs recovered fairly quickly (I knew those hill sprints would come in handy one day) I grew in confidence. On race day the climb comes early on so already my strategy is to just suck it up and let the race start once we get to the top.
Especially as you get to see stuff like this to take your mind off it…
What other tricks do you use to prepare for a race? Would love to hear from you.