Race week! Still hot and humid, hoping that trend breaks for the race. Lots to pack, even though I’m running, I’m still bringing out gear like I’m crewing!
Another disgustingly hot and humid week, but maybe if it times it so the heat snaps for the race, I’ll be okay. Also dealing with utter incompetence on the part of the camping department at the Boy Scout camp this is taking place. You wouldn’t think basic information about the cabin I paid them to rent would be so hard to find, but here we are.
I ran a bit extra throughout the week, knowing my schedule would be tight over the weekend. Well, I just couldn’t fit in my long run, and that’s okay I think. Crunching the numbers, even with the week off for injury, I’ve still run 85% of the miles in this plan, and I keep reminding myself that showing up at the start line undertrained but healthy is so, so much better than trained but injured.
And then of course, there is the question, ‘what constitutes undertrained?’ This is a training plan I cobbled together from three others, but I haven’t been as flexible as I should have been with myself. All of this plan has been through a hot and humid summer, while dealing with the stress of a pandemic. Sure, I wish I would have hit all the runs, but life gets in the way, and that’s okay.
My last peak week, and my first time reaching a training week with 60 miles! This was a big mental boost for me to reach this, and doing it in such awful weather is also a nice boon as well. Now I finally enter my taper and pray for overcast and cool race day conditions!
First off, how the hell is this already week 20?! Oh boy, getting down to it now. We even ordered our team shirts for the event:
One of my PRorER teammates was kind enough to send me his old Garmin, so now I’m also trying to figure that out as well. It’s been really nice, but I’m sure there’s a ton of features I’m not using, but it’s nice and weird to not have to run with my phone if I’m not listening to music!
This week I also took it easy, the humidity and heat shot back up, plus my legs needed the break from my 50-miler last week.
This upcoming week is another peak week (this plan had two 60 mile weeks and one 58 mile weeks, which included my 50-miler). Getting the mileage in under my belt will be a huge mental boost. Of course, it’s the most hellacious week at work in a long, long time (I’m covering two jobs as well as working on a bunch of really big projects, all at once), but just getting through these seven days and then heading into my taper will be really good!
This week was a bit of a blur. Work is as busy as it has ever been, and these last two big pushes of the training plan are all falling right as other events are happening and it’s taking a toll on me a bit. But, I’m super excited I did a self-supported 50-miler!
To do 50 miles self-supported, I drove out to park at a different trail head, putting me in a better position to refill my bottle and not go 10 miles on one bottle (which I know when it gets warm and after mile 20 or so, isn’t enough liquids).
The weather was cool in the morning (60’s!), which was a great change, although I certainly went out too fast to start with. My first two out and backs, I ended up going further than I originally expected, but it saved me from having to deal with the most dangerous road crossing even more times later in the day.
As it got closer to noon, the clouds went away, and the sunlight definitely took it out of me, but not as bad as I had expected, due to the temperature being lower. I tried out two new bits of gear on this: the first was a hat shield that you soak and water and then hang from your baseball cap, covering your neck. It was certainly cooling and helped, and I’ll be making sure to keep it in my gear going forward.
The second, was a ridiculously oversized, large-brimmed hat, a recommendation from a friend and teammate. I had to get used to the sounds it made when I moved my head and it hit my back, but it was a really big lifesaver and I’m glad I had it!
Fueling was pretty much normal, although I was pleasantly surprised that my stomach cooperated. I kept in front of it with some premptive ginger ale, which helped a lot. I used Tailwind for the first 37 miles or so, and Skratch for the rest, which was a nice change in flavor, and I’ll need to pick up some more Skratch.
My legs got a little achy around mile 36, and again around 43, but it passed, and wasn’t anything unexpected. I did use TrailToes for the first time, and while I’ve never had a blister problem before, I’m not sure if it helped much or not. I did end up with one blister that has already healed, I felt the hot spot around mile 46, but I was so close to the end (and away from my car) that I just powered through.
Speaking of, I had tried to run a self-supported 50-miler last year, but a tree had fallen, blocking the trail and mentally I was just done after 31 miles, so this was a goal I really wanted to get done. Heading out for my last six miles, I turned on some music and sang along, and I was super pumped to be reaching my goal!
After getting back to my car for the final time, I sat down for the second time that day (the first was for the picture above), and relaxed a bit before I packed up and headed home (with a stop at McDonald’s for nuggies). All in all, it was just under eleven and a half hours to run 50 miles. Strava has my moving time at 10 hours. When I ran 100K at Eagle Up, it was just under 16 hours and moving time of just under 13 hours. So, much to my surprise, faster than both I expected and my pace at Eagle Up.
Eagle Up, of course, had a crew and pacers and an aid station, so ninety minutes or so of my own self-crewing time, as well as a bit of rest and bathroom breaks here and there, seems pretty efficient, or at least, more efficient than I was expecting for myself (maybe it’s my chart, seen below, that keeps me focused). And yes, I was a bit over-anxious with my pace for the first 20 miles, but the cooler temps made a huge difference.
I learned a lot, and I’m so glad I finally got this distance done by myself, but I’m very much looking forward to a race with friends and teammates. I know that a big portion of the day will come down to the weather, which is beyond my control, so either way I’m going to enjoy it. My A goal is going to be a 100K PR and then I’ll go from there. I’m interested if I’ll make it through all 24 hours, would be fun training for O24 next year, but we’ll see what happens.
It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of July and that the race is coming up so quickly. I’m so very tired of running in the heat, humidity and sunlight, and I know a bit worn down right now. But seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is both awesome and terrifying at the same time!
I’m also at the point (well, probably past the point, if I’m being honest) in a training cycle where trying to do all the training and everything else in my life (household chores, cooking, shopping, two jobs again, as well as a backlog of catching up and seeing friends due to the pandemic) has really worn me down. Training for an ultra is tough no matter what, and training for an ultra, and still being a functioning human in society as a single person is even tougher.
Back at it after my week off. I told myself I’d go easy and be open to reduced mileage just to make sure that I didn’t hurt myself. I did end up skipping Sunday’s run, after a week of not sleeping well, it finally caught up to me and I just could not do another long run on that little sleep. This was supposed to be one of my two peak weeks, although looking back at this cycle, what was planned (60) has been less than four miles more from two of my previous weeks, so I’m trying not to be too terribly concerned. Anyway, here’s what my week looked like:
Well, what a week this was. Took the entire week off, which was a nice mental break, and was needed for my leg. Spent most of it wrapped in an Ace bandage, which helped tremendously, as well as some ice packs and kept it elevated. Hit the stretching really consistently and made a huge effort to increase my water intake.
While it’s a little tough to now get back into it, it was really the right thing to do. It’s just frustrating that the heat took so much out of me, but it had been (and continues to be) hot and humid, with little relief. It’s all great training I suppose, but still rough.
It did help me to remember that in the grand scheme, between this, and one missed run in week 17 (more on that in the next post), I’m still hitting 95% of my mileage, and it’s better to be a bit undertrained at the start line than injured.
Ugh, my legs are trashed after this week. I was at mile 16 of 21 on Saturday and my left leg out of the blue just started aching like I had run into a coffee table with my shin repeatedly. I think it’s the heat and humidity, plus the sustained, high mileage (for me) that just wore me down. Weird pains and tight muscles in both legs that I’m working through, and will probably cut a bunch of mileage next week (thinking of just cutting everything in half). We’ll see, this isn’t great for my confidence both for Miakonda and upcoming long runs.