Martin Slack

Training towards the Centurion Autumn 100 mile race. Aiming for a 22-24 hour finish.

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14 weeks, a rather full day of volunteering at Lakes Sky Ultra and my 2nd time leading Ben above marathon distance in training

I started the week with 7.5 miles on Tuesday morning and later on in the evening. This was then followed up with 2 more laps at 4:30am both on Thursday and Friday. My wife has joined a local gym and in the spirit of supporting her to get used to going, I have shifted my morning running back to earlier in the day.

I spent around 14 hours of yesterday outdoors volunteering at LSU. This was my 3rd year of being at one of their checkpoints and I was lucky to be paired with Darren who was another keen runner. We had some great views from our checkpoint

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The day went quite quickly and both of us took turns “dibbing” in the runners using the SI Entries boxes. The runners all seemed really appreciative of the support and to be enjoying a day out on a very challenging course. We had a decent supply of hill food that we shared and were able to graze continuously for the 8 hours or so we were...

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15 weeks, 65 miles and a reexploration of topical medication

For the first time in ages, my lack of pre-running care cost me my long running planned across a weekend. I had chafed both inner thighs really badly last Saturday and whilst I had used Prickly Heat powder the next day, I had largely ignored it and allowed the rashes to heal on their own. They had healed enough to let me do 3 laps of the 7.5 mile run during the week, but that’s where my luck ran out!

I had aimed to do back to back 30 mile runs over this weekend. I started in Post Hill Woods yesterday reasonably well and managed my first 4 laps in 1:30. I was wearing long tights and a short sleeve running tech t-shirt. The bushes in the woods were quite overgrown and I had to run as tall as I can stand to avoid getting hit in the face by branches about 3 times on each lap!

I managed the next 4, although this was slower I was still moving pretty comfortably but I could feel the rashes on...

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16 weeks, 75 miles and my first time covering 18 laps of Post Hill Woods

I have a bit of a stubborn trait about me that I can’t stand the idea of something defeating me twice. Over the last few years I’ve learnt I don’t always get what I came for the first time with my running but I am able to come back and get things right the 2nd time around. After managing 10 laps instead of my planned 12 at Last One Standing, I managed to finish London 2 Brighton 100km challenge. Last year I managed to finish the Great Glen Ultra following DNFs at 2 shorter races. I haven’t got a chance to revisit the 100km as this year there was only a 50km option but I did manage to the end at Paris by Night earlier this year after falling short in January 2018.

My failed attempt at 18 laps of Post Hill following my week of volunteering at the Dragon’s Back Race a few weeks ago really has not sat well with me at all. I spent most of the last 10 days thinking about yesterday’s run and...

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17 weeks, 70 miles and a reminder about the importance of persistence

I continued on from last week with completing the 5.4 mile loop several times during the week. I did one lap on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday followed by 2 laps on Friday, one before and one after work.

I had mentioned to my brother Ben during the week that I was planning another attempt at 18 laps of Post Hill Woods next weekend. I found looking forward to this during most of my training this week helped a lot in terms of my focus. I did another lap of 5.4 miles first thing yesterday morning and then 11 laps of Wythenshawe Park later on in the morning. These were fuelled purely by water and considering it was quite warm, I was pleased to be able to keep ‘locked in’ on the training for the around 4 hours that took since I didn’t have any sweet or savoury treats to look forward to!

I finished the week with 2 laps of the 7.5 mile route this afternoon. I had some crumpets with coconut...

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18 weeks, 72 miles and a return to higher mid week mileage

I had Thursday and Friday off work this week and managed to fit in slightly more miles than usual for Monday to Friday. During that timevI did 6 laps of 7.5 miles in total and was happy with how I settled into doing 2 of these at a time on my days off.

My brother Ben joined me for 5 laps in Post Hill Woods yesterday and continued on for another 4 laps without me which I was particularly impressed by. I had committed to going out for breakfast and this would be one of those weekends where getting back from my morning run at 1pm may be frowned upon!

I finished the week with 8 more laps of Post Hill Woods at 11am after work. These were quite fun as I had promised to get back by 2:30pm so gave myself a slight time pressure. The plan initially for breaks was to do 3 laps then another 3 then 2 but I pushed on and only took one break at 4 laps. I had some fruit cake and chugged more water...

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19 weeks, 32 miles and my first Sky Running finish

I spent most of my midweek running imagining myself finishing yesterday’s race. I did 2 loops of 5.4 miles, once each on Tuesday and Thursday. I knew there would be uneven rock, very steep ascents and descents as well as some difficult weather due to it being in the Lakes! Most of my visualisation was about confidence over those parts rather than me flying down a hill to the finish (that one never happens!)

The weather was far from ideal on Friday night and I had a bit of an adventure setting up my tent in pouring rain. Luckily some children staying at the campsite with their parents offered assistance in pegging it out so I managed this a bit faster. Apart from the noise of the rain being a bit distracting in trying to get to sleep, the waterproof outer section of the tent held up well and kept everything dry. I had a warm shower in the morning which was great and put away the tent far...

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20 weeks, 45 miles and a massive helping of Imposter Syndrome

I had planned to run on Monday and a few shorter runs this week followed by a new record for number of laps of Post Hill Woods today. Unfortunately only one of those things ended up happening!

I ran 5.4 miles on road on Monday and following a combination of not enough sleep and having overcommited in terms of socialising, didn’t run again until Saturday morning which was 3 laps of Post Hill Woods. This involved a 4:45am start to finish in time to drop my wife in Manchester before working in Harrogate from 10am. I then did a very quick 3 laps that evening compared to my usual pace and came in under an hour. My legs felt full of energy and I thought it would get the inclination to go faster tomorrow out of my system. I was aiming to do 18 laps so speed would not be my friend in that situation.

My plan for today was to be in the woods for 6am, have a steady 5 hour window to do 10 laps in...

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21 weeks, 5 full days of volunteering at Dragon’s Back Race and 16 laps of Wythenshawe Park

I had first found out about this race several years ago and thought the concept of Dragon Mail was really cool. Because some of the campsites where the runners stayed overnight did not have phone signal, runners are able to have their ‘post’ of supportive messages given to them by the race organisers, presumably by email printouts.

This week really gave me an insight into what the environment for the runners in between the racing is like. We had a very early start at Conwy Castle on Monday morning and I helped with setting up the Berghaus feather signs/hanging banners from railings etc. We then drove to the Day 1 finish and I got to put up my measly 1 man backpackers tent before helping with setting up 55 Berghaus 8 man tents with the rest of the camp team

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We had lunch and then I learnt the structure for the rest of the days that would be the same until Friday evening. The vans...

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22 weeks, 13 miles and onto my 2nd day of volunteering at the Dragon’s Back Race

I knew last week’s back to back ultra distance training runs would have taken a lot out of me but didn’t expect it to be as much as it was! I did 3 laps of Post Hill Woods on Wednesday and ran up the motorcycle track on lap 2, mainly just to prove to myself I could still run up it after last week’s walking efforts. This was a great feeling having my legs power up the last section where it is steepest.

I didn’t run Thursday or Friday as I had to travel to Darlington with work during the day on Thursday then finished later than expected on Friday so prioritised packing everything for the 8 day spell where I would be away from home

The Dragon’s Back Race is a 5 day race covering 315km with 15,500m of climb. This runs from Monday to Friday but with registrations, team building and volunteer briefings it was 9am on Saturday until around 10am Saturday morning as an overall commitment and I...

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23 weeks, 42 laps of Post Hill Woods and my much coveted 3500m of climb

This week was tough. I had initially aimed for 45 laps of Post Hill consisting of 3 laps from Tue-Fri and doing one day where I ran twice to reach 15 midweek laps then back to back 15 laps on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately I never got an opportunity to do my 2nd run on any of the midweek days.

It’s one thing setting my alarm and then deciding to snooze it but it somehow seems worse to not set it in the first place.
I ran on Tuesday night and wasn’t remotely interested in setting my alarm for the next morning. Luckily after my Wednesday evening run I was able to get up at 5am on Thursday and Friday to get in 4 days of 3 laps. My week was always going to be judged on the back to back 15 laps and I was contemplating doing a few reps up the main climb on the motorcycle track in Post Hill to make sure I got 3500m of elevation for the week but this was secondary to actually finishing...

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