Goodness, it's only been a month since I emailed Charles with my goals for Cape Wrath, and since then a little voice has been incessantly whispering in my ear. It's been saying things like "I wonder what it would be like to win a stage" and "Wouldn't winning the whole race be something else?" Then another little voice pips up and says things like "well, if no-one good turns up then you might have a chance" or "but you wont be able to keep up a consistent effort for 8 days."
I can tell this is turning into something new for me. I'm hitting unexplored mental and physical territory. I've done a few things differently this year, but the biggest thing is consistency. I haven't raced in anger since last summer. I've simply been focussing on Cape Wrath, following the plan and providing feedback to Charles so that he can tailor it perfectly.
What does this actually mean? It means that I've just lost another training partner. They are part of a small number of runners that come out with me for a short while, then my training takes me up a level and makes things too uncomfortable for them. It's a good thing that I'm quite happy running by myself! My zone 2 runs are now at a speed that my brain struggles to comprehend. I'm not used to being this quick. When I hit the trails the trees are flying by. What happens if I trip at this speed? Should I wear a helmet?
The visualisation exercises that Charles has set me are a real boon. They feel great, and slowly, very slowly I am starting to believe in myself. I was just reading the section in Tim Noakes' Lore of Running called "Training the Mind" and the section titled "Dominate from the start" is ringing in my ears. Could I? Should I even try?
400km, 8 days, 11,000m ascent, 20% with no path, just bog. Could I really find myself competing for the win? I feel like I will have the physical ability, but can I sort my mind out in time?