JUNE 2nd: Blessed indeed. I ran with JT (a friend from church) at the retreat… and while running hinted that I wanted to do a long training run in the night this weekend, but was anxious about doing it on my own. Without hesitating he said he would join me. I thought he was being polite, but alas he phoned me in the week and we organized a 50 k run for tonight! The cross county trail runs for 38 miles through the whole of Fairfax county (you run in the woods crossing a hand full of roads- its hard to believe that you are running through suburbia). I scoped out a thirty two mile run and spent the afternoon making peanut butter sandwiches , cliff shot electrolyte mix, gathering salty treats and hiding them in a safe place at the mid point on the trail. I also went to the pharmacy to stock up on pain killers, muscle cream and lube. After a big bowl of pasta and chicken John and I set out for an epic run (8pm). Once the sun goes down the challenge of running becomes quite different. The mind has to stay well alert for rocks and logs on the trail, bends and stream crossings, tracts where other trails cross and trail signs seem to disappear, movements of deer and other animals and after a few hours of running when you start getting tired shadows definitely start playing tricks!! During a night trail run you can expect to spend a fair amount of time retracing your steps and running ahead a bit on unknown trails to make sure they are correct before you commit to sticking to them- but either by luck or skill John and I only lost a few miles doing that the whole night (I think it would have been quite a few more had i been on my own!). Another point to note was that my estimate of the distances we were running definitely seemed a little off (some of the maps i researched hadn’t quite taken in to consideration the many little bends in the trail!)- one of the miles seemed to go on for about 4… we just made that in to a bit of a joke, and adapted our route accordingly. Great conversation, 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some muscle rub, gallons of water and gator aid, some pain killers, wheat thins and 7 hours and a half later (3:30am) and quite frankly who knows exactly how many miles later (definitely over the 50k planned) John and I were stretching and smiling by the car! It should be noted that John had never run a 50k (although he has done marathon running) – and he breezed through this run – awesome!
The plan for me is now not to run until Tuesday to let everything recover slowly and not risk any injury!
JUNE 1st: My legs aren’t aching too badly, but i definitely feel like I haven’t given them much of a break recently, so today I shuffled for an hour to give them some rest before my last long training run tomorrow.
MAY 30th: Claire and I met with Rick (a ultra running pro- with many 100 milers under his belt) to discuss plans for the race. Rick actually gave up running a 100 miles on June 2nd to run with us and keep us motivated! He gave us plenty of sound advice- among my favorites was the kidney advice: never pee out everything in your bladder (especially before a long down hill)- its pretty scary when you go to the toilet after having emptied completely and finding out that you are peeing pure blood due to the empty kidneys having rubbed together for a while…. I am glad that rick has gathered so many useful tips along the way to prevent many mistakes like that- or explain what is going on if they happen.
After meeting with Rick, Claire and i went hill running to practice for the mountains in now less that a week and a half!!!
June 1st: My legs aren’t aching too badly, but i definitely feel like I haven’t given them much of a break recently, so today I shuffled for an hour to give them some rest before my last long training run tomorrow.
MAY 29th: 15 miles in the morning before work went v. well. I managed to slow my pace by a half hour, stretched well and the fact that it was early enough that the sun wasn’t too hot helped a lot. Mind you the thing I find hardest is when someone on a slow 3mile run over takes me- my pride gets broken a little (which is a good thing)- I think running in a small group keeping a pace will be key to slowing down more (essential in the 70).
The way back was only slightly harder due to the sun. I actually increased the run by 2 miles making the day in to a 50k. I definately felt my legs cry out on the last 5 miles but with home nearly in sight I kept up till the front door.
The key elements to the run were- 2 GUs (gulped down when I felt like stopping), long stretching at the end of the run, a quick stop in to 7 11 to get some gatoraid to replenish the salt that was visible on my face, backpack, shorts and shirt (they all looked like they had been sprinkled with talc!), massaging my legs to get rid of the lactic acid build up. I had one beer when I got home- but it definitely made me feel a little oozy- so maybe it doesn’t do it for me!
MAY 28th: OK- I am back home for good until the race!! Wohoo- serious training can finally begin. Today I added a few ultra-running sites to my favourites that had a ton of reading and check list advice–keeping hydrated, well fed, replenishing electrolytes/salts, techniques to stop chaffing, even why drinking beer or wine as you run might help!! In the afternoon Anna got her rolling blades on and we went for a 10 miler together. Tomorrow I am planning my first long run (of 2 before the race). I will run 15 miles to work and then 15 back- that’s about 46 kilometers. The biggest challenge will be keeping a slow pace ( I usually run to work in 1 hour 50 minutes but i want to make the 30 miles draw out in to at least 6 hours to get my body used to being on the go for a long time. I will also try a few different foods on the way to see what my body craves when it is under strain. Here are a few things i might try:
Pb and J sandwiches, tuna pasta, salt tablets, double latte Gu, banana Gu, coffee, Gatorade, muscle relaxants and maybe a beer! (i’m not sure what the law says about that on the cycling path however!!)
CHECK OUT GREAT ULTRA SITE: www.ultrunr.com
MAY 27th: Less than 2 weeks until the race!! I got back from the Georgetown trip to Sicily and England three days ago. On the trip I was ready not to train at all so it was a pleasant surprise to have three keen runners as participants. We managed an hour to an hour and a half run every other day. The runs seemed like no effort at all with great conversations and awesome scenery (beaches, rolling hills, quaint towns). Even so, a little anxiety set in as I landed back in the states knowing that the race was coming soon and serious training had not yet began. With that in mind the day after I landed Anna and I went off for two days for our spring church retreat (with Georgetown Community church). I managed to squeeze 1 two hour training run along the Potomac near Leesburg just before setting off… the run went well- although it definitely felt like I hadn’t run for over 1.5 hours in a while (maybe it was the humidity and hot sun)- running for ten times that amount does make me a little nervous. On the retreat I was once again blessed to find two friends who came running with me.
MAY 3RD: In the first day of pledging we have reached 300$! But better than that: Claire has decided to run with me and help raise support! She and I have been running together for almost 2 years and did our first ultra together, having her run with me will be AWESOME!!
MAY 2ND: I am leading a trip in Sicily from 7-24 May, so the real training will start after that! That only gives me 2 weeks of hardcore prep which will include a few 50k runs to get my body used to being on the go for many hours. The training right now is shorter and faster runs (8-15miles), cycling (15-30miles). About 1-2 hours of exercise about twice a day. That will be cut down to hardly anything in Sicily. The biggest challenge is not going to be one of speed, but one of mental and physical endurance. Upping the running for periods of 7 + hours in the 2 weeks before will be crucial. The actual race will have me goiing for 15+ hours!