Saturday morning at 10am my first ultramarathon of 2016 gets underway.

I don’t feel the same sort of nervousness I felt before the last one in December but I do have some butterflies in my stomach all the same. I’ve put a lot of kilometers into my legs since the Ploeren 12 Hour race and I’m hoping that this time around I am starting smoother and smarter than before.

I have one primary goal going into the event this weekend but I also have a couple of other goals if things are going right. I’ll be happy just to knock over the ‘A’ goal but, if things are falling into place and the ‘A’ goal is in the bag, I’ll be thinking about the ‘B’ and ‘C’ goals, too.

  • A Goal: 60km in six hours

I think I can do this, my training suggest I can do this, and the pace I have set for myself should ensure I hit it. It’s still out there, of course, but I think it is achievable. 60km in six hours makes the math easy: 10km/hr, 6:00 pace, and every hour at the 5:00 pace I am planning to go out in means ‘banking’ 2km/hr for later in the race. The longer I can keep up my 5:00 pace the better as I’ll be banking some time and distance, but I won’t be too worried if I start running 5:30 kilometers, either. As long as I am averaging less than 6:00 per kilometer I will be happy.

  • B Goal: 66.4km in six hours

I’ll admit that the ‘B’ goal might seem a little arbitrary but it isn’t. In the Ploeren 12 Hour where my own inexperience and lack of pacing led to me cutting the race short at about the 7 hour mark, I had 66.4km completed. To hit that sort of distance will mean running a touch over 11km/hr or about 5:30 pace for the six hour. Considering stops and walking breaks, that’s really at the outside of what I should be able to do but if I look to be bringing my ‘A’ goal up in less that five-and-a-half hours then I’ll shoot for the ‘B’ goal. It might be a little silly to have a six hour PB longer than a twelve hour PB but it will be extra motivation for the next twelve hour race I do.

  • C goal: Top 5 in Saint-Fons 6 Hour

To be clear, I am not running for a place in this event. As I mentioned in my post a week ago there is some real class in this field and I am not expecting to be able to keep up. However, if history is a guide, then anything north of 66km puts me in with a chance of finishing in the top five for the six hour distance. This, then, is less a goal than it is a likely eventuality if I manage to knock over my ‘B’ goal as, north of 66km, the number of runners is usually pretty thin on the ground. I’m not expecting this to be a realistic option but if I am somehow having the day of my running life and somewhere near the front, I’ll push a little harder in that last half hour and see what happens.

Tomorrow  I’ll double-check everything again, then re-check it, unpack it, re-pack it, and lay it out ready for Saturday morning. I’ll set two alarms, turn in relatively early to ensure a good night’s sleep, and be ready to go.

Ultramarathon number one for 2016? I’m ready: bring it on.

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