Advice from Armstrong

Posted on July 11, 2012

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“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” ― Alan Armstrong

I’ve written many times before about the importance of preparation and whilst post Nepal and a week of fun with 007, I’ve perhaps left it a little late, better late than never right?

And so much of yesterday was spent preparing for this weekends race in France.  Medical certificate? Check. Race fuel? Check. Trail shoes (adidas cushion response trail) and Yaktrax? Check. Mandatory items on kit list? Check … although Google Translation is clearly not very on the ball as I’ve yet to determine what ‘sticky socks’ or a ‘thick leg’ are … both of which are apparently essential!

I’ve checked out the course and the weather report. The former is basically a giant all day run up mammoth peaks and ice-cold glaciers that in the past I’ve sashayed down on the piste post a vin chaud or ten. And the latter looks fairly positive for Sunday … sunny spells and temps in the late teens although plenty of snow and ice underfoot. The final descent on the Grande Motte looks hairy as hell but we can deal with that when we get to it.

I’ve exchanged countless emails with Ronnie … car hire organisation, hotel confirmations, race registrations, what to wear, what to take, what to eat, where to meet …

… and I now sit here feeling giddy with excitement.

I guess the point of this post is that much of the joy in running big races or entering events for your chosen sport is the lead up … the preparation and planning before the start line … and of course, the bonding that goes with it, be that with old friends or new ones who you’ve connected with purely for the race or event in question.

Similarly with the actual running, all the hard work is done before the start line. When the whistle blows and the time starts ticking, you just need to relax, enjoy and embrace the moment. Sail through the calm kilometres and handle the rough as best you can. It’s for this very reason that running is such a great metaphor for life … we all get dealt good and bad hands but what we can control is how we play our own game. So much can go wrong yet so much can go right too. Running a race in a new set of mountains is always a joy and past the scenery, each and every race teaches you more about yourself.

So here’s to running Val D’Isere’s Ice Trail this Sunday.

Here’s to preparing well.

And here’s to a weekend with the lovely Ronnie. Let’s just hope we don’t find ourselves on the eve of the race shopping till we drop and then giggling in bed until a couple of hours before the race start like our last adventure together in Malaysia. Terrible two … x

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