10 days out from Running Across the Years

So I signed up for my first 24 Hour foot race and detailed my high level training plan and my nutrition plan.

A short post today, but one week from today I will be in Phoenix and I will be documenting the race (and my preparation) as soon as I get there.. so a lot of posts coming starting next weekend!!

Before I get into my “random thoughts” bullet points, I will very briefly describe my training for the last 2 weeks:

It has been pretty nasty weather in St. Louis. Not just cold (I actually like the cold) but freezing rainy, snowy and just generally unpleasant to run in (and many of the days relatively dangerous too… and I didn’t want to get hurt this close). I don’t actually remember the exact distances of the runs during the week of December 9th. I believe they were all 7 – 8 miles but I definitely remember the run on Saturday the 14th!

I was going to try to get a long run in and it was especially nasty outside that day… and I had no desire to try and be out there for hours on end. I thought about it and I also didn’t really want to get on the treadmill for a long run (as I have detailed in the last post my issues with the treadmills) so I came up with (as crazy as it seems) running around the perimeter of the basketball court at my gym.

basketball gym

It is definitely not regulation size (it’s smaller) but I don’t know the exact dimensions.. it took me about 30 seconds to make one loop at a very relaxed pace.. so if I was doing 9 minute miles.. I guess that makes the loop about 1/18 to 1/20 of a mile. Well I was hoping to get in 1.5 to 2 hours on it but I ended up getting into a sort of trance and went on for almost 6 hours!

garmin after 50K at the basketball court

I never walked (which was a good feeling) and only stopped a few times to get something to drink so I estimate that I did around 50K.. which is definitely my longest run before the race. Plus it was good mental training for doing a looped race! Although luckily the races loop is about 23 times longer 🙂 A friend tweeted back (before I ran it) that he would lose his mind doing something like that… I did a bit in the sense that I gained complete focus and just let go. I wasn’t bored because I wasn’t really thinking much. This is a state that I am certain (well hoping at least) I will get into for long portions of the race because it really makes the going smoother and easier.

After that run I have had 3 really crappy and short runs (around 3-4 miles). Their brevity wasn’t really intentional, but I believe almost exclusively a result of my tapering off of caffeine that I started 14 days out from the race (a bit more on that shortly). That is about it on my training.

So my random thoughts 🙂 :

  • I was checking (just for the fun of it.. as an aside my race is up to 75 runners) the “Who is entered” pages on their site for all of the different races… and I am in awe of the fact that the legendary world record holding Greek runner Yiannis Kouros had just entered the 6 Day! He has only done one other race in the last 8 years and I will be at the one that he chose! So cool.  I have been a fan of his for as long as I have thought about running my first ultramarathon and never thought that I would get the chance to run on the same course as him. I mean this is a man that has run 1000km in under 6 days! If we average that out per day.. its over 100 miles a day for 6 days straight!! Literally unbelievable. The fact that we share a common heritage only adds to my desire to run with him for a few miles. I am virtually certain that the times when I catch up to him I will try and stay with him for a while and it will motivate me (hopefully I can stay with him for a few miles as he will have already been running for 3 days!). I found a super cool movie that they made about him (originally in Greek but just this summer they finally subtitled it). It is slightly over an hour but if you are really into running, you should take the time to watch it.. it is so inspiring. If you can only take the time then watch the first 5 minutes.. you will want to run. He is without question one of the greatest ultrarunners in history.

Some things I liked from the movie:

He talks about getting into an out of body experience where you are watching yourself from behind and above you.. when your body has given up and you are simply willing it to go forward.. he says you are “clinically dead” 🙂 🙂 That made me laugh out loud but is also so awesome in a twisted way. He talks about “exceeding”.. about getting to a “heroic” state where your body does not want to go on but you must make it. That you only get to this state in a race longer than 12 hours or 50 miles. It is sad how poor he is… getting to be the world’s best takes so much time and effort and making a good living while trying to do so can be hard and there is also the fact that there is so little money in ultrarunning (and really in running in general.. except for the best of the best). The fact that he beat every other racer by over a day in the 1000km race in Australia! The fact that he uses perfumes to “inspire him” late in a race…. this is fascinating.. I have never thought of or heard of this.. but I am going to try using powerful scents late in the race to keep me going (not sure which ones yet but I will let you know). The olfactory sense is our most ancient and powerful and I do think that having an energizing and powerful scent could keep my mind off of things and give a certain comfort (I will need all that I can get). That one really fascinated me. When he talks about winning the first Spartathlon and describes what the original Pheidippides went through to make sure that he got to Sparta to try and get help before the battle of Marathon against the Persians (most have mistakenly thought over the years that he only ran a marathon). As Yiannis says.. Pheidippides had only the water he could get from some of the streams and only the food he could hope to get from some villagers and could not rest. He had to make it.. he had to be the hero. I will think of this when I am really hurting during the race. I have no allusions of winning, but if I keep on going as best I can.. then I will feel like I accomplished something significant.

  • I am 5 days into a caffeine resensitiizing program. The idea being that by eliminating caffeine from my diet for two weeks that when I do use it on race day.. I should feel like I am on fire and it should help me get through the sleep deprivation of the night. I am not the first ultrarunner to think of this (I have heard of others that have tried it over the years) but not many do. I think I get why… it is rough. I didn’t go completely cold turkey… I tapered down to 100mg for 2 days then 50mg for 2days and no I am at zero and will stay there until race day. I am certain that it will have a positive impact on my race performance and focus (in fact it will probably be greater than I expect) but it is having a significant impact on me now as well. On the positive, I am sleeping like a rock and much longer than normal (which will help me recover) but it has made my workouts abysmal and my motivation in the gutter. I really don’t feel like doing much of anything until I leave but I will get in some more short runs before then. I am not worried about that. My training is essentially over and now I just have to get as fresh as possible. I know some runners run seriously even up to 3-4 days out from a major race, but I am not worried about it. Whatever training I did is done and whether it was enough or not can’t be changed at this point. I wrote a post about tapering before my Death Valley Marathon. I titled it “Your training is over!”. It is having an emotional impact as well in that I just feel… blah.. but once again it is all good when it works!
  • I’ve got some kind of a soreness/instability/inflammation in my 5th metatarsal or peroneus or whatever… that is making my right foot sore and my pushoff not as strong as it could be on that foot. I saw my massage therapist on it this week and am seeing my chiropractor on Monday (and am going to do all of the normal recovery things I have been talking about over the months).. but I honestly don’t really care about it. I have a feeling it will make my recovery from this race even harder but I don’t care. Yiannis talks about in the movie “You must keep going in the race and not stop long for breaks or sleep because you don’t get these opportunities (for these long races) very often and you don’t know if you won’t get seriously injured during it.. so keep going like it is your last race!” That is exactly what I plan on doing.. keep going to the best of my ability. I am sure it will be a while before I run (and race) again after it so I will just suck it up and go. Who knows maybe it too will magically heal itself before the race (so many other things have in the last 6 months).
  • As I have stated all along, I will be live tweeting throughout the race and I have decided on my hashtag. It will be #24mav so you can enter that in and follow along. I will also be posting my live twitter feed (along with the live updated results of all of us from the Across the Years website) on the homepage of this website. #24mav
  • I bought two more Satechi USB Chargers from Amazon (to make sure that my Garmin, iPhone and iPod stay charged throughout the race). They have a deal on them at Amazon and at $15 everyone reading this should get one (if for no other reason than the security of having it for your phone in an outage).
  • Haven’t decided yet if I am switching to the 48 Hours or not…
  • I am so looking forward to getting back to my Scotch and Bourbon reviews after the race 🙂

Best of luck in your training,