Christian Bouet

21 June at 10:43

I saw Ernie Davidson's post that after not completing this year he would be back next year wiser. Big kudos for that mate - broken but not beaten!

So this is either going to come across as obnoxius showing off or, as I hope and intend, as help and insight in to how I managed to succeed at the X when really I should have bombed out badly.

The X this year was my third attempt. I completed in 2015, did swim/bike (but not the run) last year and completed this year. On top of that I've done the Half X in '14 and '15. With reccies that means 4x Fred Whitton, 8x Hardknott/Wrynose, and 6 times to the top of Scafell Pike. I am not a fell runner, nor do I have any biking hills near me (pancake York). So I never considered myself "experienced" in any way at all, but I guess I am at this particular race. I no longer need GPS on the Fred, I know the tarmac on each of the descents, and I know how to run across the boulder fields near Scafell Pike. I know what to expect from my body, and when to preserve energy for what is coming.

So last night I tallied up my training for this year since Jan 1st which is normally when my training year starts in earnest. Due to a lot of things (house move + bulding works, new job, two small kids and general family matters) my average training until 17th of June was 2h45m per week. I was a bit in shock, and happy I had not looked before the race. Generally that is really not enough to even contemplate going to the start line of the X, and it would surely have broken me mentally had I known.

But seeing Ernie's post I understood why I managed to complete. I did not complete because of my body's ability to perform, but because of the knowledge in my head. I am also the type to "decide and do", and I had decided I wanted to finish this year. So fortunately for me this is not an Mdot where you can just zone out and follow the heels in front looking to go sub-13 or sub-10, neither is it about having the coolest streetboy looks because of the thousands of supporters. This race is a true personal endeavour and I absolutely love it because of it.

So Ernie, when you rock up next year I can almost guarantee you'll smash it. You'll have a full year to reflect and improve, the training is merely the topping to make it happen. And I really hope Ernie is not alone and that I'll see any and all who didn't complete this year at the start line in '18.

When I was coming down off Scafell Pike 4 days ago I swore "never again", but let's face it - I'll see you all next year!

Key notes from me for a long day out:

- Windermere can have waves, prepare. (And organisers might just make it a 4.4k swim!!)

- A66 to Keswick is made for stuffing your face.

- Honister descent is by far the most dangerous part of the day.

- Stay calm, let the others go, never chase.

- Keep HR and power low(!)

- Never run out of food or water.

- Know the location of the village shop in Gosforth (awesome flapjacks).

- Eat proper stuff, you can't live off gels.

- Use T2 as a major food stop (huge pasta salad works well for me).

- Expect seriously hard "run" terrain. Keep HR low at all times.

- Only run on flat or downhill, always walk uphill.

- Don't over-optimize, and be prepared to change plans.

- Always smile to the cameras.

- Always, always think positive. Just look up when it gets hard, the area is beautiful!