So I signed up for my first 24 Hour foot race and detailed my high level training plan and my nutrition plan.
It’s December 8th and that means I am three and a half weeks from race day!
I am feeling much better overall today than last Sunday and that is cool.
A short recap on last week (with some various points thrown in) and then I will detail my anticipated race day nutrition. A shorter post this week but as I get closer to race day I knew there would be less “training” to write about.
So as usual a few different points that I wanted to bring up from last week:
- The current state of my knee/quad/hamstring (yes I think it is at least partially if not fundamentally a hamstring thing)… Not fixed completely but hasn’t really affected my training yet.. just is sore after my training especially yesterday. I had serious (it is always serious) myo-fasical release massage and Graston (on a spot he found on my left lower hamstring near the back of the knee) last Wednesday and it hurt like hell (once again as usual) but I was happy that he found a specific area on my hamstring near that knee because it helped me to believe that it wasn’t the joint but muscular tightness as I had hoped. I was really sore (bruised a bit) on the area that he hit with the Graston tool on my left hamstring (there still actually is some residual soreness to be honest but it is a lot better) but I thought he definitely made an impact. I felt good (and was really fast and strong) for my run on Thursday but was really sore from a 15 mile treadmill run yesterday. Here is a shot of me with two of my Fitletic belts on at the gym about to get on the treadmill
The pic shows how reflective both the belts and my Skora shoes are 🙂
- I wore the belts with my sticky bites in them and the water bottles because I wanted to simulate my race day more (since I won’t have a ledge on the treadmill to put my water and drinks obviously) and honestly it felt great. They didn’t bother me at all (and only got a few long looks.. since I was the only one on the treadmills that was wearing a water belt) but then Fitletic belts are wonderful.
- I ran both on Thursday and yesterday on the treadmill because we had some bad weather here in St. Louis (ice, snow and super cold weather) but not again! Damn do I hate running on treadmills and not only for the obvious (that it is incredibly boring) but because I believe they are dangerous because of the excessive bounce they give you. I don’t believe that the “cushioning” is a positive thing, I think it is unnatural and worse on your body (I could feel my hips working and being stretched more than usual) and I wrote about them some months ago and my general distaste for them. I think running on a treadmill isn’t just running on a belt, but inherently different than running outside. Anyway, my left knee thing was really sore yesterday and I think those long miles on that machine and the extra jarring that it got from the bounce contributed to it a lot. It is significantly better today though not perfect and I will continue to soak in epsom salts, stretch, use this amazing anti-inflammatory cream that I got from my podiatrist a few months ago for my foot (it is like 6 different medicines! I am going to be putting it on 3 times a day until better for sure… no reason not to) and NOT running on a treadmill again even if there is a foot of snow outside. I am too close to the race to have that disrupt my chances. The positive thing is that it doesn’t really hurt or disrupt my running, it just gets sore afterwards. I am seeing my chiropractor later this week and I will keep you posted. I have no inkling whatsoever at this point that it will have an impact on my going to the race.
- I told you I was going to write about the things that I learned from two of my ultrarunner friends a couple weeks ago at the “Miles for Food” Charity event and I will do that here. I spoke with Jen and Jerry while running (both seasoned 100 mile racers). Jen has won a few 100 milers and is a super great lady so I knew she had some nuggets of wisdom! Jerry has been running 100’s for years (he is in his 50s) and was in a terrible bicycle accident a couple of years ago (from which he had to have a metal rod put in his leg) and has still run 8 100’s since then! Awesome. Below are some of the things I remember from those discussions (with my thoughts on their thoughts in red)
- Jen: Crossing over into the night and running through it is an awesome experience that you really can’t relate entirely without experiencing. I am really looking forward to the sun setting and knowing that I have hours and hours to take that in. At my 12 hour the night began as I was finishing, but knowing that it will be a whole new and big part of the race is actually really exciting (especially after she emphasized how special it is). A general sort of hypothermia for a few hours when you are finished isn’t unusual and she and her boyfriend have experienced it many times after 100’s. I have heard this from a few other ultrarunners as well.. that it can be really hard to warm up back at the hotel room when you are done. I am going to do my best (I have a big whirlpool bath in my room that I will get in with very warm water) to warm up but it is nice to know that I shouldn’t be particularly alarmed by this if it happens. Of course it should also go away after not too many hours. I think it probably just has to do with your body just being completely spent and not having the energy to warm you up right away. At her last 24 Hour (which was a 4 mile trail loop with a pretty decent hill each loop… which she won with over 104 miles!) there came a point really early in the morning (I think around 5am or so) where she said she just starting bawling a little bit for no particular reason except the emotional craziness of a 24 Hour race. It has been said that in a 100 mile race you experience every emotion in one day. It is that intense detachment and at the same time engagement that will be quite a ride. I am certain there will be points of really powerful emotions.
- Jerry: How does it feel the day when you finish? He said he starts to tighten up pretty seriously and also finds it hard to sleep because you are so wound up. He said he generally takes some Tylenol PM to help get to sleep that night. He also said (and this is good advice) that no matter how well you hydrate during the race that you should continue to try to consume liquids as well as you can before getting to sleep. Even though your urine may be clear the entire race, there is still a chance of kidney issues if you just stop liquid intake when you get back to the hotel. Very worthwhile advice! I also asked him what his favorite foods were during the races and while he said he does take in some GU’s and bars, he really likes watermelon, oranges and apples (all very water rich foods.. which I totally agree with!) and peanut butter and jelly’s. I so agree with getting a lot of your liquid through your foods because it makes it easier to digest and is another source of liquid. He also said one key is enjoying yourself early and reminding yourself how much time you have to complete the race… in other words.. don’t get nervous too early on. Great advice!
- I am planning on running in my Skora Core’s but do want a bit more cushioning for all of those miles. They are great shoes (that I will be having a giveaway for soon) but minimalist and I think that I will appreciate a few more millimeters of cushioning as the hours get into the double digits. I bought some New Balance inserts about 4 years (which I haven’t worn for almost as long) and ripped out the “control” portions of them and trimmed them to fit the Skoras. I have run in them 4 times now and like the combination a lot. I have more pairs of those inserts and think that I will trim and take a few more pairs just in case I want to swap them out late in the race.
- I wrote last week about those amazing 12 and 13 year olds and as I was looking over the entrants in the different races, I noticed what high level ultrarunners there are in my race! Wow. There are currently 70 entrants in my specific race (about 300 or more in all races combined) and some of them are elite. What is kind of cool about ultramarathons is that almost all results are stored in a database called “UltraSignup” and each entrant has his/her races listed. Some have run 6:15 50 Milers, 115 Mile 24 Hours and 17:00 100 Milers…. so I definitely don’t have to worry about winning this thing 🙂 🙂 I will leave that to some others and concentrate on doing my best and trying to hit my goals… not that I ever had any idea of winning… Ha! Oh and a 15 year old girl signed up for my race too! How cool.
- The very quick about my 3 runs this week is that it has been amazing how my legs have come back since destroying them in the gym ! I ran a 4 miler on the road on Tuesday (wanted it to be longer but ran out of time) at sub 8:00 pace overall ending with a 7:29 mile. I then did a 4 miler on the treadmill on Thursday and was even faster throwing in a 6:40 for my third mile. Yesterday I did the 15 miler on the treadmill (uggh…) training my run/walk strategy and my running got faster as the miles went on (ending at 9:00 pace). I am looking to get in more good runs this coming week!
- This last item is of a completely different note.. but I feel compelled to write about it. As you know I have a deep association, connection and love for Strongman and a real tragedy occurred over Thanksgiving for one of the sports best. Mike Jenkins
died in his sleep on Thanksgiving and he was only 31 years old. He had won the 2012 Arnold Strongman Classic (which is considered one of the top competitions in the world) and was well known to be a great competitor and nice person. He is one strongman that I never met personally, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how terrible it is and how incredibly young 31 years old is. He also had a quote in 2011 that I came across that I found very powerful and so true:
“Most importantly, don’t do this to define your life – do it to enrich it! There are many things more important than strongman and other sports; don’t let it ruin the good things you had before you started!” Mike Jenkins, May 11, 2011
I could not agree more.. and how many of us put too much of our lives into our sports.
Rest in Peace Mike.
So finally I wanted to write about my plan for my race day nutrition.
It is relatively straightforward but a lot of thought has gone into it.
- I will be consuming the vast majority of my carbohydrates from my food and getting most all of my protein from my drinks.
- I have become a huge fan of Sticky Bites and plan on eating about 3 – 4 an hour for most hours while also taking in some of the whole food that they will be making at the amazing catered aid station that they have at the race (I am planning on saving most of the aid station food for the second half of the race when I will be moving more slowly and will be able to digest it that much easier.. because I won’t be running as much). I plan on making probably 5 – 6 different versions of the Sticky Bites (for the added nutrition but also because I have found that I get sick of anything no matter how good it tastes at first… as the hours go on in an ultra). The base of sticky rice and oats will stay the same but I will add different items to different batches 1) butterscotch and dark chocolate chips 2) cut up dates 3) shaved coconut 4) raisins 5) cut up apricots 6) baked bananas and 7) wild blueberries. Wow those other varieties sound good. I love the idea of moisture rich food (as opposed to dehydrated GU or bars) and also how easy it is (because they are sticky) to add different items to them to make different flavors. Also they give you both complex (rice and oats) and simple (the chips and the fruit) carbs at once.. helping to replenish your liver, muscle and brain glycogen in one bite!
- I will be taking in my protein in my drinks. I will be mixing my all time favorite protein powder HumaPro and also ALRI’s (HumaPro’s brand) Branch Chained Amino Acid powder Chain’d Out . I will be taking one scoop of HumaPro (equivalent to 25 grams of protein) every 1.5 to 2 hours and 2 scoops of Chain’d Out every hour along with 16 – 20 oz of straight water every hour. I don’t plan on taking in any carb specific drinks (and I think my stomach will thank me). My amazing sponsor Fitletic set me 14 more bottles (plus two more holsters and a phone add on)
So I won’t have to be mixing up and filling the drinks as often! Along with the 4 bottles I already had, there is over a gallon of liquids with all of the bottles filled… so I will probably only have to fill each of them up 3 to 4 times 🙂 Will make my change outs at the tent much faster! Very cool!
- I will also have with me some chocolate covered espresso beans (so yum!) that I will take at various points later in the race and also one or two times I will mix up a pre-workout drink (although in my case I will be mid-workout 🙂 ) to keep mu energy levels up. I am a big fan of Cellucor C4 and N’Gorge. I plan on keeping my overall caffeine under 1000 mg’s for the whole race. I routinely get in 300 – 400 mg in the morning now, so I think that should work well.
- That will be the majority of my nutrition but I most definitely will also be taking in other whole foods that they serve at the aid station (and as I said especially post 12 Hours). I don’t know everything that they will have but I will be looking for good light soups, potatoes (mashed would be great), breakfast burritos and fruits. We will see what they have and make my determinations. Nothing that seems tough to digest (no burgers 🙂 ) and emphasizing water content and salt.
- I will also be drinking some sodas at the aid station to break things up. I love Coke and Sprite at an ultra… god it tastes so good when deep into a race… I don’t know why but it is true!
- Oh and I will be alternating in a bottle of Coconut water every couple of hours for the Potassium.
- The only other nutritional supplement I will be taking (because I will be getting a lot of electrolytes from HumaPro) is one to two Endurolyte Capsules an hour for the added electrolytes and B6. If it stays cool I will probably only be taking one an hour. I have used them in the past and like them.
I think that is about it, but may add a few things in the coming weeks post’s if I forgot them here.
Oh and I am really getting excited!!
Best of luck in your training,
Some good tips from the seasoned ultra vets! Have you had any more thoughts about upgrading to the 48 hours?
Still thinking about it. Still leaning towards studying with the 24 Hour for a few reasons and there are pros and cons to both.
I wish that they had a 48 that started on the 31st but it starts on the 30th. I would hVe rather done the race I was anticipating and them just kept on going instead of New Years being at my 39th hour. We will see… I will need to decide soon 🙂
Thanks for sharing your nutrition plan during the race. Ill be interested afterwards to hear about it all.
Yes it will be quite an adventure and I will begin documenting the scene two days before the race (when I get there).
I’m really getting to the point where I want to get out there… Feels like I have been training (and writing about this race) forever 🙂
Hi there! Wow – great update on your training! I admire you for doing such a long race – I can’t even imagine it! I can see how nutrition is crucial(!), and it sounds like you’re thinking it through very carefully. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!
Yes the longer the race, nutrition becomes even more important and getting it right early is crucial because if you miss a lot of things the first 12 Hours.. They say those issues really magnify themselves in the second half. I certainly don’t think I have it all figured out burst least I haves plan!
Yeah I haves feeling things are going to get even tougher than I expect 🙂 Crazy times!
Don’t do this to define your life is a realization I had from my one and only injury this year. Things happen for a reason. I can’t believe race day is only 3 weeks away!
Yes it is really easy to have your sport become too big a part of your life…
Yes I am really excited and really just want to get out there and do my best… 6 months is a long training cycle and I am ready to get out there 🙂