Dragon's Back 2019 - Last bits of training & loads of packing/unpacking/packing
It’s now only 2 weeks to go until I stand on the wall of Conwy castle at the start of the Dragon’s Back Race and I am just getting back into training after a chest infection stole 2 ½ weeks from my preparations. That feeling of ‘there’s nothing else you can do now – you just have to go there and do your best’ is starting to dawn on me although I think a few more runs are worthwhile to make sure I’m as sharp as I can be especially given my lack of training recently. My last run was before work this morning, running from home and fitting in plenty of hilly bits covering around 18km in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Because I’m quite busy at weekends I have got most of my training in before work and manage to get up to 3 hour runs in as my body has now got used to getting up and between 4:30am and 6:00am. I’ve only had a couple of all-day runs so am hoping my endurance will be up to it.
The Dragon’s back is a race I heard about quite a few years ago and has always been one of those ‘one day’ races which stays in your mind but you never think you’re fit enough. It seemed to be for other people who are much fitter than me and wasn’t possible for me to do until I somehow become one of those ‘other’ people. That all had to change in October last year when my boss, Stuart, offered me his place. I couldn’t say no and knew from the moment I accepted it I would have to put in a lot of work. I put in a lot of tough runs through the winter and have kept my training up until recently so definitely feel fitter and stronger but can I become a Dragon’s Back finisher?
Although I know I can plod along through the mountains and am ok at getting up to do it again for a number of days, the Dragon’s Back is different to anything I’ve done before and I’ll only know whether I’m capable of finishing once I get there and make a start. One of the unknowns is will I be fit enough for an average of 3000m+ elevation gain each day, another is will my navigation be up to it and finally am I up to it mentally? I hope I don’t turn up and feel out of place amongst loads of tough lean mountain machines. Hopefully some of them are relatively normal like me!?
I’ve managed to put off the packing and unpacking ritual up until today but have just brought my 60l roll top dry bag down to the living room to get the process going. For this event there are actually 3 bags to pack – your 60l camp bag, your running pack and your 22l drop bag so perhaps there won’t be time for any more training after all. Food is another major focus at the moment too – although it looks like we will be fed copious amounts of vegetarian food in the mornings and evenings I will need to pack trail food for up to 84 hours of running. I don’t think I’ll be following the instructions on the gel packets and consume one gel every 15 minutes – I think cost-wise and intestine-wise this would be a bad strategy. At the moment I have fruit and nuts, flapjacks, snickers bars, Ellas kitchen pouches and dates for the trail and tinned fruit, tinned fish (not 100% on this idea), fajita wraps, marmite, squeezy cheese and Nutella to go in my drop bag which will be taken to the support points. Classic plan view kit shot coming soon.
So a lot more kit fiddling and a few more runs from now I’ll be there. Look out for my daily videos if you want to see how I get on. I will also post the tracking website address so that you can follow mine and all the other dots throughout the 5 days.