Just like that, 3 months away in a foreign country, running up and down mountains has come to an end.
So what did I gain, learn and loose from the experience?
I lost a few brain cells and realised, I really have become a one drink drunk (cheap date). Small price to pay I figured, for all the training and a little abstinence.
What I gained was a better perspective of self, health and understanding for the sport of Trail Running. A learning curve that will not cease, for as long as I can help it.
Which really isn't to hard to do if figure, just make mistakes and learn from them.
What really struck a cord with me and has resonated thought since early into my trip, is the importance of Goals.
Being part of the Pace Athletic and The North Face ANZ Skyrunning Team for the 2016 BUFF Epic trail 105km Ultra, was a great experience and resulted in one painful, hard fought finishers gilet and pat on the back.
That day, I felt like I really became an Ultra Runner. Why? because I got really deep into the emotional cave of pain and crap and waded around in it for 16hr and 23min. Mentally tougher then I had experienced previously.
One positive is that I got through it and learnt from it.
Goals, they are so important. They help provide a target to aim for, which can then be referred back to in moments of uncertainty, frustration and pain.
Taking time to establish meaningful performance and outcome goals and working backwards from them, to create process goals, Is something I failed at. However through realisation and actualisation, it helped me through my next event.
Whether it is a goal relating to a race, a training phase, a new job, health goal, a lifetime of work, or an object. Taking the time to establish what you want and how you can incrementally work towards achieving it, is imperative to the outcome.
The 2016 BUFF Epic trail 105km Ultra:
• No established Outcome or Performance Goal
• No dissection of the course and hence no strategy for running the event • No real fuelling strategy and deviation from previous events
• A lack of mental preparation
• No analysis on critical sections of the course
• No Process Goals
Result: A very naive attitude and uncertain approach towards performing in the event. Experiencing the ultra running ‘Bonk’, realising its not nearly as fun as it sounds.
After talking the event through with people like Dave Byrne and Robbie Britton; asking some tough questions and educating myself on the goal setting process, I made some adjustments for the following month.
I sat my ass down and did some homework.
The TDS 119km Ultra:
Outcome & Performance Goal: Finish top 10 and respectfully enjoy the event Process Goals
Comprehensively understand the course and sections of strategic significance
Start eating at 45min and every 30min after this- Religiously!
Keep cool, use every stream, fountain and aid station for water saturation, to keep cool- take the
time to do this
Incorporate more daily rest and mindfulness leading into the event
Begin steady and finish strong
Enjoy, enjoy and don't forget to enjoy.
Result: 6th place and I enjoyed it to the max.
Setting goals is the key. Process goals keep you consistent and allow you to manage your
progress towards the outcome goal (s).
Taking the time to sit down and establish your goals will bring you motivation, confidence, structure and excitement.
Start goal setting now and learn from my mistake, or don’t do it, and see where it ends you. You can always ‘bonk’, reflect back, learnt and try it again differently.
To finish off, I want to say a HUGE Thank you to Pace Athletic and The North Face ANZ for supporting the 2016 ANZ Skyrunning World Championship Team.
I speak for all the athletes, when I say your support has helped us be a part of something unforgettable, priceless and we greatly appreciate it.