I've never attempted to cover 100kms on foot before. Preparation has been drilled into me by all the coaches, so I've tried to visualise all the things that the event might throw at me, and incorporate a bit of all of these things into my training.
It's my experience that preparation brings optimism - and that's my natural outlook.
Running on trails has been a bit of a no brainer when it comes to preparation for a trail ultramarathon. So has mixing up my nutrition, and practicing walking during my runs, and running with a backpack.
Less obvious - maybe - is the fact that I need to be prepared to run at night.
I've run at night on the street, and entered the Wildhorse at Night 25k next weekend as a practice event. I opted to sneak in a night trail run last night to make sure I didn't lob up next weekend feeling like a complete novice.
(See, preparation really is the key. I'm even preparing for training races.)
I left work early to drive to the end of Payne Road at the Gap. I met KKB, who kept me company for safety purposes, and started running just after five. So I started in the light.
Pretty soon the darkness started closing in around me and it was time to turn the lights on. The sunset was beautiful.
I love how during a sunset the sky changes color over time. It transitions from blue, to a violety blue, to a darker blue, before the stars look like pin pricks in a black curtain.
As the sky got darker, the air felt heavier, and my breathing seemed louder. The simplicity of running in the quiet of the bush at night was a real treat.
Unfortunately there wasn't much time to focus on the serenity. I needed to concentrate on where I was placing my feet with limited visibility. My ankles felt a little bit wobbly last night so it's time to reinvigorate the ankle strengthening exercises I started with gusto early in my program, but have neglected of late.
At some point during the run I told KKB that I thought the whole premise of doing night training runs could be overly optimistic.
"It presumes that I'll still be capable of running after that long," I explained.
KKB reminded me that it might actually be pessimistic.
"What if you're finished by the time it gets dark?"
Now that's optimistic, even by my standards.