With just a month to go before 1,300 athletes line up in Cortina for the 10th edition of the Lavaredo Ultra Trail, one of twelve Ultra Trail World Series races this year, I find myself in that familiar position of stepping out into the unknown.
This is a race of 119 km with 5,850m positive elevation, so in a nutshell, nothing I've ever attempted, not even on a small scale. What makes it especially more difficult is the fact that my training is based in London, not exactly known for it's rolling hills and mountain peaks, so training has, not surprisingly, shifted to hill training on a treadmill once a week and then hitting the trails and North Downs over the weekends, in an effort to make my legs ready for what is sure to be a shock to the system on 24 June 2016.
With my training for Lavaredo in full swing, I've found myself contemplating what my nutrition strategy for the race should be. Looking around online, information about nutrition during this race seems to be scarce, with the odd mention of soup and energy drinks, however mostly, I think it's a case of fend for yourself and know the consequences of inadequate planning.
This leaves me feeling a little like an ostrich with its head firmly planted in the sand... I have quite literally no idea of what to pack. It may be time to refer back to The Feed Zone Cookbook, which I always seem to gravitate towards when in need of some inspiration. The only problem is that whatever I take not only needs to be portable, it needs to survive the flight from London to Venice and a 2 hour bus journey to Cortina. Sometimes ready-made products may be a more logical choice but we will see...
So the countdown to the final preparation to Lavaredo has begun, to be swiftly followed by the Eiger Ultra Trail and finally UTMB, by which time I should have a good understanding of what will be required by one of the most talked about races in the ultra running community.