As I sit here writing this I’m getting butterfly’s. I’m taking part in the Pain and Suffering Legends race next Saturday. The Pain and Suffering Legends Race comprises of three obstacle course races in one day: 10 Mile, 10 KM and 5 KM. You have 8 hours to complete it and this year it is my only and last chance to qualify for the OCR British Championships on November 19. I’ve run 9 Spartan races this year, and done well enough in them, but Spartan Races don’t count towards qualification. Injuries have forced me to miss other qualifying events, so this big dummy has thrown all his eggs into one basket. It’s said to be so gruelling that anyone who finishes earns qualification regardless of their final place.
So with one shot at qualifying, you can bet your ass and mine that I’m going into this race as prepared as I have ever been!
I’ve spent a few of years participating in obstacle course racing so you’d imagine I’d be pretty prepared by this point, but I still forget things; like my GPS watch, strapping for my feet, my heart rate monitor. Sometimes I realise I’ve made a wrong decision in my preparation, like right before the Edinburgh Spartan Beast I realised I probably should have brought a T-shirt.
There are lots of things you can get wrong before a race that won’t make a big difference. You can get by without a watch or a T-shirt, but one thing you have to get right is nutrition. Get that wrong and it will have an impact on your final position, your enjoyment of the race and even your ability to finish.
This whole season has been in preparation for this 8 hours of pain. People think I’m mad, I always get asked why I do it? And it’s a question I often ask myself. If I’m neck deep in mud or carrying a sandbag up a hill, I wonder what the hell I’m doing?! The answer is never far away, there are moments of absolute beauty, of spectacular terrain in wild forests. There are moments of accomplishment, approaching an obstacle you’ve never seen and nailing it is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. Moments of complete failure, I’ve slipped from rig, failed to flip a massive tyre or missed a course marker and become lost and it’s those moments you truly learn the most about yourself. You dig deep and you find the strength to flip that monster tyre, you sharpen your exhausted mind to find the trail, you overcome failure and conquer the rig. The only failure is in quitting. Nowhere else in life have I found so many opportunities to succeed and overcome failure as I do during an OCR.
Be prepared! Mentally, emotionally and physically!
Load up on essential salts and minerals, make sure you eat well the week leading up to the race. Don’t eat a whole pizza the night before and think it will make you a Ninja Turtle the next day. Eat what you’ve been eating while you’ve been training, with one or two extra meals a day for a couple of days before the race.
I’ve been training 630-830 three days a week, 1230-130 five days a week, three hours on Saturday and Sunday and cycling up to 70 km a week. I should be tired all the time! But I’m not! I have a very healthy diet, I drink very little alcohol and here’s the kicker, I fuel my body correctly and I take lots of supplements to support my muscles and joints. The OCR athlete needs to be light and strong like a mountain climber. I’ve tried lots of different supplements over my time but these are the ones that I’ve found complement my training best.
Bio-Synergy Essential Sports Fuel™: I take this almost every day and I’ve found it tastes fantastic and really helps keep me lean while making me stronger
Bio-Synergy Performance Joint formula: The rigors of training for a multi discipline sport means I place huge pressure on all my joints at crazy angles. It’s a great supplement for all athletes from a Martial artist to a tennis player.
Bio-Synergy Performance Power Beet Beetroot and Bio-Synergy Performance l-glutamine: These guys are fantastic! They give me the right kick just before I need it, either before training or a race these supplements really take me to edge
Being prepared doesn’t only mean making sure your kit is packed the night before, it means being psychologically ready to suffer and physically able to take it! Get your prep right and the race is the final 10% of the journey.