To help out with my final preparations I sent a few questions to organizer Anneke Freel and she kindly agreed that I could post the replies on my blog, her answers are in blue. I've also added a few more questions that others might ask me with answers about my own plans for race day, these are all in black.
What food and drinks will be available at the Refreshments stops?
Water in cups, bottles and larger bottles for refilling
Energy drinks - 500ml bottles with sports lids
Oranges sliced up to make them easy to pick up and eat
The checkpoints mentioned on the "The Race details 2013_2.doc" don't all correlate with the Checkpoints mentioned on the "River Ayr Way Challenge" webpage, the numbering is different and some of the checkpoints are not in both sets. Should one interpretation take precedence?
The webpage is not reliable. These checkpoints are for previous years. Please go with what was sent out with the race details
How would you like drop bags labelled to make sure they go to the correct place?
Name and checkpoint number that you would like it to go to.
Which sections are likely to be muddy, and how just how muddy are they likely to be?
It’s a cross country route, so all of it could potentially be muddy.
The first off road section is likely to be the muddiest – but not wellie muddy! The bit at Daldorch Farm after Stair is part of the route diversion and goes through a field. This was over the ankle muddy last year so needs a bit of care.
If a piper happened to be part of a runners support team and prone to impromptu playing out on route, where might you it be most appreciated and not appreciated (i.e. sensitive neighbourhood) on route?
Anywhere, except Privick Mill (just as you come in to Annbank)
Thanks to Anneke for answering my questions, and the rest of the team for helping putting together this RAW.
I'll add a few questions that runners might have about kit for the day, splits, food etc.
So what kit will you be wearing tomorrow?
It's forecast to be a cool 7 degree C at the start so will probably start with a long sleeve top and swap into T-Shirt later when the day warms up. I'll be wearing my skins shorts, toe socks and start out in my Inov8 F-Lite 232's.
Mt F-Lite's are really comfortable, very light and have spent most training miles in them. I've grown so attached to them I really don't want to wear anything else, but they are very minimal so don't provide much protection from sharp stones on the trail so I'll have to be cautious. I have a friend doing support for me so have my Trailroc 255's available to change into if I feel I need a little more grip in the mud or a little more protection from stones.
What pacing strategy will you use?
I will follow what worked well during the Devil O'Highlands race and use my Heart Rate (HR) monitor to guide the best pace to run/walk at - with the aim of keeping a near to constant level of intensity whether going up hill, along the flat, downhill or even through mud.
For the first hour I'll prefer to keep my HR below 155, and the subsequently aim to keep my HR in the range 155 to 160. This range relates to 88% to 91% of my Lactate Threshold, or 82% to 84% of my Max HR. Adrenalin might well raise my HR at the start if it does I'll just keep things below 160 right away and keep any eye on pace to make sure I'm not just getting carried away early on.
Do have a finish time in mind?
Back in 2010 I ran the RAW in 7:37, so I'd love to beat that. It was my first ultra of a reasonable length and struggled with cramp walking far more of last 15 miles that I would have liked. With more ultra's under my belt and a good Devil performance six weeks ago I'm pretty sure I'll beat this time, even accounting for going uphill.
My guess is that if I can perform close to what I did during the Devil race (7:17), adjusting for the flatter course then I should be able to finish around 6:30 to 6:45. However, the Devil race created quite a few areas of strain in my feet and knees that haven't yet fully recovered. The slow recovery has meant my training for the RAW has been rather compromised.
The goals I'll set myself are: Gold sub 6:45, Silver sub 7:00, Broze sub 7:30. I'm not really too fused about time though, if I run well and enjoy the day I'll be chuffed to bit.
Do you have splits?
I have drawn up the following estimates for time through various checkpoints, these should help my support know roughly when I might be arrive. I won't be pacing against these splits, instead my HR on the day will govern whether I'm fast or slow for each section. In the second half I might start checking the splits to see if I'm gaining on or loosing ground on my fastest splits, if I'm gaining ground it should help keep me motivated to keep pushing hard.
2. Marshall Fort Street 0.15 9:01
3. Marshall New Bridge Street 0.22 9:02
4. Water Stop Oswald's Brig 5.16 9:40 to 9:45
5. Marshall Tarholm Bridge 7.43 10:03 to 10:096. Marshall Annbank 1 9.33 10:20 to 10:28
7. Refreshment Annbank 2 9.64 10:23 to 10:31
8. Marshall Stair Bridge 11.93 10:43 to 10:539. Marshall Mayfield 12.3 10:46 to 10:57
10. Water Stop Failford 15.67 11:19 to 11:33
11. Marshall Mauchilne Road ?
12. Marshall Mauchline Road ?
13. Refreshment Haugh Farm 19.3 11:54 to 12:12
14. Marshall Catrine Square 21.94 12:18 to 12:39am15. Marshall Sorn Old Bridge 23.65 12:34 to 12:56
16. Water Stop Sorn Main Bridge 25.24? 12:48 to 1:12pm?
17. Refreshment Fisherman's Bridge 29.85 1:35pm to 2:04pm
18. Water Stop A70 Crossing 32.64 2:04pm to 2:36pm20. Marshall A70 Crossing 40.65 3:23pm to 4:05pm
21. Finish Glenbuck Memorial 41.11 3:28pm to 4:11pm
Question marks are where the distance figures supplied in race info was not specified or not inline with what I expected (i.e. Sorn Old to Main Bridge isn't a mile a half).
These splits assume a ~20% slowing in pace over the distance, my hope is that I won't slow this much so start out near the slower end of my splits and finish nearer my faster splits, but easily I end up slowing more if my injury niggles become significant or cramp decides to ruin my day.
What do you plan to eat?
For breakfast, at around 6am, I will keep it quite low carb, a couple of eggs scrambled cooked in coconut oil and butter, with some kale, tea and 300ml of beetroot juice. I've been drinking 200ml+ of beetroot juice over the last few days as well. The breakfast is relatively low carb to avoid an insulin spike that would compromise by bodies fat burning ability.
Just before the race I won't eat anything, perhaps a few swigs of water. I won't try and drink too much though.
During the race I plan to consume around 200 Calories an hour, from a mixture of fat, carbs and protein. I've made up 1L of chocolate milk shake shared amongst three 330ml bottles, leaving one at each of the Refreshment stops, each bottles has about 200 calories. I have also made up 8 chocolate and coconut oil bars, each one is 100 calories, with about 75% of the energy coming from fats that can be efficiently metabolized. I won't eat all of these, perhaps four at most. I will also have a couple of liquorice sticks as they taste good, provide 130 calories and may help keep the blood pressure up.
Afterwards I find milk or milkshakes a good recovery drink.
What Electrolytes, Painkillers and Stimulants will you take?
I will take some S-Cap salt capsules with me and take roughly per hour.
I may take a couple of pain killers during the race if I feel that discomfort levels are impacting on my enjoyment and performance. The painkillers I'll take with me have Aspirin, Paracetamol and small amount of Caffeine in them. I'm reluctant to though as I don't want to mask pain that might signify and injury risk.
Around the half way point I'll take a 200mg Caffeine tablet, to help maintain focus, energy levels and for a little pain relief during the second half of the race. I won't take it earlier as I expect my adrenalin levels to be pretty high at the start already so won't need any extra stimulant to get the blood pumping and in fact want things to simmer down at the start.
Good luck to all those racing the RAW, Lakeland 100k, Great North Run over the weekend. For those runners running the RAW tomorrow and pass a piper, then there is good chance is my support for the day, Maz Frater, there to bring some good cheer and amusement for us on route.