That’s 365 days, or 8760 hours or 525,600 minutes or 31,536,000 seconds!
Whichever way you slice it, there is exactly one year to go!
Yep, 25th March 2022 is the new start date of my race across the Sahara, the 36th edition of the Marathon de Sables
To be accurate, the new date for the postponed April 2021 MdS is officially October 2021 (which will also be the date for the postponed 2020 version), but I was happy to take the longer term option, officially to avoid the increased numbers from having two years of participants combined into one race, but to be more truthful about it, to give myself more time to prepare.
Unfortunately, a combination of the cancelations of all planned races, ongoing injuries, lock down laziness and bad living have led to a complete lack of motivation and training, which in turn left me overweight and underprepared for any race, short or long. It got to the point where I was questioning whether I actually wanted to race anymore, or if I would be happier to slip back into my previous life, and wallow in an alcohol induced fog of permanent hangover, sitting around, drinking, smoking and stuffing my face …
But no-one wants to hear about that, so to cut to the chase… its back on! And I love being motivated again.
So, where are we at.. I did manage to get out for the odd run, bike or swim sessions most weeks over the past year, although has been low key effort. Due to me being overweight and my bad habits, my heartrate and blood pressure sky rocketed, making everything so much harder. That being so, the first big change I had to make was to quit the twin evils of tobacco and alcohol. From experience I knew to do that meant I needed to hide myself away from the world, which is why I am currently ensconced for a few weeks alone in the middle of the English countryside, drinking tea and looking forward to a dinner of fish and rice.
Its actually pretty nice. Once a week I order online to get groceries delivered from Tesco, which means no need to go out to the shops, which means not being tempted to buy what I shouldn’t. To keep it interesting I alternate between a choice of ready meals or fresh food that I prepare myself, and have limited snacks to reward myself with over the week. I have some beautiful trails literally few 100m from my front door for walks and runs, with many more a little further afield if I wish for a change. My Kickr is set up for indoor bike training plus the rowing machine for cross training, so really all I miss is swimming and gym, which will all come back online shortly. Even the weather has been pretty decent, which is not something I expected to say about England in March!
My plan for the following year will be to slowly build towards the MdS by increasing the length and number of my runs, including back pack run days and double run days, as well as regular long fast walks (apparently there will be a lot of walking in the desert, even for the top end experienced racers). I am hoping to do one or two triathlons during summer, then my first ever Ultra marathons and stage races starting in the Autumn. All culminating in a weeks specialised training camp in Lanzarote early January, which all told will hopefully take me from the fat unfit excuse I am now, to a not quite godlike but less fat, less unfit MdS competitor in March 2022.
So that’s me right now. This has been a bit of a “yay, I’m so excited to be back” type post, a bit of a confession type post, and a bit of a “throw it out there to give me some accountability” type post. Think more for my benefit rather than to entertain or educate, but I will endeavour to post regularly, as it keeps me honest and I know that I personally like to read others experience when training for big races.
I am very disappointed that after struggling hard to quit my vices and then living all those years without alcohol or smokes, I have fallen so far back into bad habits. I can blame the stress and loneliness of the pandemic, I can blame a stream of injuries and race cancellations, I can blame my extreme social awkwardness, but at the end of the day I have to take responsibility for my own actions and if I can’t control myself, then I will need to distance myself from those things that pull me into temptation. Racing, and more importantly, training for racing saved my arse, its time to make that my focus again.
Now, time to put on the kettle and make another cuppa, think I’ll allow myself a slice of that ginger cake too. Cheers!