Ben Stokes ran a half marathon this week to raise money for charity. Well done Ben - a great effort and good to see one of the country's sporting greats putting his spare time to productive use. His time - 1 Hour 39 minutes. I have a target time in mind, not that fast sadly. I have nearly 20 years on Ben and am not a professional athlete. Being honest, I'm not even an amateur athlete, just a middle aged bloke who has entered The Great North Run to try to do some good!
After last week's run, which is documented in an earlier entry, I decided the time was right to do something with a real challenge aspect to it, and to take advantage of where I live. We are pretty much in the shadow of Pendle, so when I looked at the maps, I found a very challenging route that builds on what I have already done...broken up into sections - a 5.5k run to Pendleton, all uphill but a steady 6/8%, followed by what looks like 3km of the hardest running I could imagine. Right through the Nick of Pendle, which is the highest point of Pendle Hill that can be reached by road at over 300m above Sea Level. Just look at that...
Given that Pendleton is around 135m altitude, this second section of the run will be tough. From the top, an equally steep descent into the small village of Sabden is then followed by a long steady downhill from Sabden into Whalley. Key questions for me are around how much the climb will take out of me? Will I have enough energy left to take advantage of the downhill second half of the run or will I simply be too exhausted and continue to plod along at my usual pace? We will see tomorrow...
For the first time, I am actually preparing reasonably for a run - and it's for the best. Through the week, I have done little in terms of exercise above and beyond core strengthening work and a daily walk. What I have done differently is think about the fuel in the tank. Plenty of protein over the past couple of days and making sure I am very well hydrated. I have discovered that Protein Flapjacks are the best breakfast, so tomorrow before setting off I will have this, along with 500 ml of SIS energy drink (after, of course, the trusty strong coffee!). I am considering taking 3 gels - have 1 when I reach Pendleton, the flapjack will give me the energy to get there, one more as I reach the summit (if needed) and again, keep the third gel for if I feel the energy level dipping to see me through the last few miles. That will be a caffeine one, whereas the others will be one Isotonic to maintain hydration and an Electrolytes one that maintains the levels of sodium and potassium (to avoid cramps). I think that should do the trick and is the right balance in the right order. No alcohol tonight and a 500ml SIS drink today should see me in tip top condition (well, by my standards). In terms of what I have eaten today - A bagel for breakfast, protein flapjack, Chicken Sandwich for lunch and a protein/carb heavy meal tonight. Let's see how that goes.
I'm going to come back to Ben Stokes now - a brilliant and dazzling sportsman - pushes himself to the limits and any cricket fans will have seen him last summer, out on his feet but still giving his all. Doing this run is about pushing myself, seeing what the body is capable of and, hopefully, giving me a completely new and different experience from anything I have ever done before. 1 hour 39 minutes...brilliant.
Thanks for sticking with the blog and a bonus thanks for reading right through to the end. You must have a very high boredom threshold. Here's a bonus picture for you of what some of the run looks like.