Thursday, July 26, 2012

White River 50 Mile Pre-Race Thoughts/Plan

I'm so materialistic.

Nervous yet excited, I truly look forward to experiencing all of the pending emotions associated from the event. I requested bib 138, among others, and received it.  My pop's number from his Ironman Canada years ago (while he was in a squadron of the same number) shall hopefully provide good vibes, and a reminder of others endurance efforts, if I get tired.

Nutrition Plan: Clif Gels and Blocks (all non-caffeinated, a couple packs of Margarita blocks for salt)  every 25 minutes, sip water every 10 minutes. S!Caps, Ginger Ale/Coke, Oreos/Chips Ahoy, and/or Potatoes from Aid Stations as necessary. Fill pack at Ranger Creek and Buck Creek aid.

Misc. Gear: Wipes in baggie, Vaseline in baggie, extra contacts & eye drops.

Run Plan (Subject to Change):
-Start easy, first climb mix in some running and power hiking, hold back if start to feel too good.
-Pick up pace at Ranger Creek aid, and then run comfortably along ridge top and downhill into Buck Creek.
-Steady run for the 10 miles to Sun Top.
-Let loose. Destroy downhill.
-Hit final aid, eager to gut it out to the finish along the flats.
-Smile, eat, poop, start thinking about when/where the first 100 miler will occur.

Monday, July 23, 2012

White River 50 Mile and Time Standards

White River being my first 50 mile, I thought I would put together a chart illustrating various time windows and the results of achieving such times. Some will run the race just to complete it, attempting to avoid the cut-off. Some will run this race as a foray into running 100's (Real Endurance , Run 100's).  Some will run this race really, really fast.  So, because everyone loves Excel charts...

** Amended, 'Probably Doping' will have to be to the <5:00:00 territory moving forward.  2012 Winner Sage Canaday killed it in 2012, with a new course record of 6:16:10.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Taper Time!

The last time I seriously tapered for an athletic event, it involved an evening spent in a hotel bathroom with a bunch of pink razors and women's shaving cream.  
I don't miss this.

It's taper time for the White River 50 mile.  I finalized my plan over the weekend, and will highlight what I'm doing, and why, below. Post-race, I'll evaluate how the plan worked out.

Sleep - Attempting 10 hours a night starting next Sunday. I'll be in bed by 8:30 every night, and wake up when my body wants. There has always been a strong correlation, at least for me, in terms of how much I sleep, and how well I perform.

Less Mileage - Obviously, this is the purpose of the taper. Having held 70-mile weeks, I'll drop down to about 40 miles this week, and then 15 miles next week.  Though, the intensity of the runs will be harder. I've read plenty on the advantages of this (less mileage, but higher intensity), and experienced some of my best swim performances when I lessened mileage and increased the intensity of workouts.

Days Off - I'll take a couple of days off this week. Then take Wednesday, and Thursday off next week.  A 'shake-out' 3 miles on Friday morning, will be nice and easy.  I'm doing a 'shake-out' run, as I've found that I never feel my best after a day off.  Thus the 'shake-out' run.

Heat Acclimatization- White River has temps that could hit the 80's. Spokane was in the 90's all last week, and my Grey Rock 50K hit the 90's. We've also had some humid days as well. I'm thinking it will help running in these temps now, as my body will be somewhat used to it.

Positive Thoughts - I'm probably more convinced of this than anything else.  Don't doubt the training and work that has been put in. Don't make last minute changes to plans, form, eating habits, gear, etc. Trust your plan. Trust yourself.

My first club coach in swimming always told me, 'David, don't screw with stuff two weeks out'.  It was a philosophy I applied in competitive swimming pursuits, and applied to my swimmers when I was a swim coach. I've seen these words be proven true over and over again. I witnessed many swimmers that would get anxious regarding a pending meet, then try to change their swimming form, buy new goggles, change a workout routine,etc. These athletes never did their best.

I was guilty of this doubt my freshmen year of college. I doubted my college coach's tapering plan. I doubted my training throughout the year. I doubted my rest (it's college, I had a roommate), my diet (college), and pretty much anything else I could doubt. I had a horrible meet, but in hindsight, an invaluable learning experience.

I'm convinced one's mind, and confidence, has to be brimming with positive thoughts preceding a major athletic event. My running partner has consistently fed me positive thoughts on our runs, and this has helped tremendously. I'm trusting my training. Trusting my taper. Trusting my ability to adapt to circumstances that present themselves. Time to enjoy the experience.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Grey Rock 50K Race Report

It's 5:15 and I'm still stuck in my white-walled, air-conditioned office.  I'm putting the final touches on some tasks at work, and I realize I'm not going to be on the road in time to get to the campground before dark.   I catch the 5:27 bus home, throw on a change of clothes, double-check my gear, and head out the door.

It's 10:30 and I've just driven through Ahtanum, WA. My windshield is covered with the evidence of the insect massacre that accompanies any summer sunset drive through eastern Washington. It's pitch black, and I'm now heading up a dirt forest road, looking for Tree Phones Campground. I'm following a van with four bikes attached to its back. After driving four miles UP the road, I start to second guess my way. I decide to turn around and head back to an earlier campground I saw (I figure I can ask for directions from someone there). Back down the road, I find three helpful campers enjoying Bud Lights and cigarettes. They let me know that the campground, is in fact, up the road I was going. However, it's about seven miles up the road.

"Why are you going up there?"

"There's a run there tomorrow"


I get back on the road, and halfway to the campground I find the same van I had been following, barreling back down the forest road. I'm now doubting that anything is up this road, mostly due to the fact this van obviously didn't stay up there. I pull to the side and roll my window down, hoping to ask the driver a question. The van lurches to a stop, the window rolls down, and a slightly large bearded man, with thick plastic glasses, sticks his head out. 

"Hi, I'm looking for the campground for the run tomorrow, are you too?"

"Run? Um, no. I'm just driving around. I just like to drive around this time of the year. I just do this for fun."

"Okay, well, is Tree Phones Campground up this road?"

"O yeah, there's a campground up the road, about three more miles.  There are people there, I'm not staying there though, I just like to drive at night, and stuff.  Uh, this is just what I do for fun."

"Okay, cool, thanks, have a good night."


SPLENDID! Who's ready to run 31 miles in the woods now??? I know I am!!  

When You Don't Have It
The race doesn't start with a gun or anything of the like. The race director simply gives a brief speech and then tells us to follow him as he starts running to the trail-head.  After five minutes of ascending the first climb, I don't like my pace, so I slow down, and roughly 12 or 15 people pass me running up the climb, and go out of sight. I'm alone. I don't know if it's the heat (already hot at the start of the race), the starting elevation (4,000 ft), sleeping in my car (I was too tired and it was too dark to put my tent out), or just being in the midst of some hard weeks of training and mileage, but I don't have 'it'.

I let everyone go on the climb and decide to intermix power hiking with some light running on the flatter sections of the climb. I also decide that if this isn't going to a good day, I need to focus on what I can control (hydration, nutrition, running form, and just trying to keep a consistent pace throughout the race). I also may just take a little longer to warm up.

Warmed Up and Warming Up
The course is an out and back of three climbs and descents.  After cresting the first ridge, which gave a beautiful view of Mt. Adams, I descend back down to the first of three aid-stations.  I think I came in around 80-90 minutes, and was surprised to see my first glimpse of any runners since the first 10 minutes. Heading up the second climb, I pass a couple of these runners right away. About halfway up, I get to another couple of runners and pass them. I'm power hiking and running the flats and feel warmed up.

Looking like a winner.

As I approach the top of the ridge that offers a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier, I get in with another runner for awhile and then the leaders of the run come flying by us after they have hit the turnaround.  I run along a somewhat flat ridge to the second aid station now feeling better.  Many of the runners that have passed me earlier are on their way out of the aid station, some running, some walking. I enjoy the views of Rainier...and notice that it's getting hot. The forecast called for upper 90's, and while it's only 10 a.m., I can tell it's going to be a hot run back.

Coming out of the aid station I know I have two downhills and one uphill.  Pure joy, as I love to run downhill.  However, a lot of this course is technical single track with lots of rocks that get in the way of my big feet. I pass by a fair number of runners now, a couple miles past the aid station, some of them walking.  

(Free Tip - someone asks me what kind of gaiters I have on. I tell them Dirty Girl, and to just Google 'Dirty Girl Gaiters'. A runner I'm with cautions to not just Google 'Dirty Girl'. Sound advice.)

I get a surge of energy on this downhill, and am able to pick up speed.  I make sure to stop at every creek and dunk my hat though, as it's getting really hot. I pass a couple of other runners about halfway down, and coast into the final aid station.  Then the final climb begins.  

I get about five minutes into this climb, and then start attempting to power hike.  Maybe I pushed too much on the downhill, I'm not sure, but I'm barely shuffling on the flatter portion of this uphill. The heat is very apparent, my legs are pooped, and my mind starts questioning everything. I just want to finish. I finally get to the top of the ridge (resisting the urge to sit down in the patches of snow at the top), drink a water bottle from a volunteer, and do my best impression of a really slow downhill run into the finish.

Look, a water bottle.

I finish. 6th place with a time of 6:22:00.  It's hot, but they have catered BBQ chicken at the end, and a creek that runs through the campground has ice cold water to soak my feet in.  I talk with some of the other runners, eat some food, soak my feet, and then head home.  

Pre-Race Food: PB and honey sandwich 
Pre-Race Music: Mumford and Sons
Post-Race Food: BBQ Chicken, Cookies, Cake, Bud Light, 7-up, Squirt. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grey Rock Pre-Race Thoughts

I've been getting the mileage in quite well lately (60-80 miles a week, with decent long runs on Mt. Spokane and Iller Creek), and will be doing the Grey Rock 50K with nothing more than my typical day off before a race. The race should be fun, and I'm particularly looking forward to:
  • IT'S GONNA BE HOT (90+ degrees forecast, no clouds) and that should serve as some good heat training.
  • Elevation gain of 6,000 ft.
  • Great views of Rainier from the course.
  • Last race before my White River taper.
  • Free water bottle.
Camping out Friday night. Race at 7 a.m.