GUCR - 4 days to go

So I have been putting this out of my mind for two reasons:

1 - That's the way I normally do things like this. Pretend they are not going to happen and then just worry about it once I am doing it.

2 - I've had an annoying rib injury which has me thinking this might not even start.

The first one is a normal coping mechanism. Why worry about what I can't control? There is no point stressing and planning, especially when I am not a stresser or a planner.

The second is more worrying though not unfamiliar. I've had a rib injury before that cut short a promising triathlon career. Only joking, it was not promising at all. Around 5 years ago I signed up for an Ironman. Actually no, I signed up for something of the same distance but for half the price of the Ironman and without the branding.

Anyhoo, a week before at a wedding I was a little drunk and saw a fantastic opportunity to retrieve a helium balloon from a tall ceiling by gracefully using a space hopper as a trampoline. It looked so good in my head. It didn't quite turn out like I imagined. I rolled straight forward and smashed my front on the deck. It hurt, A LOT. Fortunately I was drunk enough such that the pain was masked but the next week was pretty grim. I could not even put on a wet suit let alone attempt the race. I had to pull out.

Silly me.

Well it did not happen quite like that this time, it was playing dodgeball at a stag do (see, marriage seems to kill ultra running somehow). I don't recall a specific incident where I hit them and on going to the doctors he pointed out why. I had drUnk a lot before even starting and would not know. That did not occur to me at all for some reason.

Anyhoo the last two weeks I have been in moderate discomfort with this rib. It is not unbearable but it is nagging. I'd rather start a 290 mile run feeling perfect. How I feel is sore and fat. I have not run for 2 weeks until yesterday where I ran a little and it was OK, perhaps I can do this.

There is not much else to say really other than I am spending the next few days cobbling together the things that I need to run this distance. I feel like I am rushing at the last minute. Planning and organisation - my nemesis. I am running this with Mimi Anderson who is all about planning and organisation, I can't do it at all and am thankful that she is putting more thought into it than I am. I hope not to become a burden as I shrug at any of the "what if?" questions.

I get asked sometimes about how to go about planning these things. I usually say if you have used the word "planning" in your question then you have asked the wrong person. I find planning stressful to the extent that I think it makes things worse overall. You can't pick up a running book, article, coach advice or anything without being told that planning is key, goals are crucial, failure is guaranteed without something to objectively measure your performance against. I think this is bullshit. For some people.

I would say when going about these things is the first thing you should ask yourself is "Are you David Gilmour or Jimmy Page?"

Let me tell you about how two of the best guitar solos of all time were created.

In 1979 while at the height of their power Pink Floyd were imploding with the pressure of performing and ego battles within the band. Amongst all this chaos (in my opinion) the greatest album of all time was written and within that possibly the best song and best guitar solo ever too. David Gilmour took himself away from this mess and did what he did best, great great guitar music. While writing Comfortably Numb he sat in the studio and played and played, solo after solo, charting them out of graphs, recording and re recording, picking out what was best and discarding what was not perfect. This laborious method of cuting and splicing led to the greatest two minutes of sound ever recorded; the main guitar solo. I've never quite heard a guitar just sound like this. David was definitely the planner.

Sometime in 1970 on the back of three amazing albums Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppellin were writing their fourth album. They often did this wandering around the outdoors in Wales, Robert, taken in by the writing of Tolkien had some words written that he wanted to put into a song. He started to sing and Jimmy picked up the guitar and just played to what he heard, what felt good at the time. No thought went into it at all, no planning, no editing, nothing was known until the moment it was played. The end result was a song called "Stairway to Heaven". You may have heard of it.

Two of the greatest pieces of guitar music were produced in completely different ways. My point here is that if you were to have asked David to just wing it and play "whatever" while stood at the top of that wall he would not have been able to do it, that's not his style. Forcing that kind of sponteneity on him would have meant the world would not have ever heard comfortably numb. Similarly if you were to ask Jimmy to plan what he was going to do, to record and re-record and edit and organise we would never have heard Stairway to Heaven. He probably would have quit playing if that was the only way to do it.

Imagine how dull the world would be if we forced to all think in the same way?

Mimi is definitely Dave. I might even call her that on the run :) I am Jimmy (similar name and quite dissimilar levels of guitar skill). It will be interesting to see how we get along next week.

I am looking forward to it.