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The Mile High Club

February 2, 2012

Last month was the turn of a new year according to the Lunar Calendar, so technically resolutions don’t really start until the end of January for me. I did a recap of all of last year’s races here and made the promise (to myself) to try the 100 mile distance for 2012. I say “try” because anything can happen, even if you go into a race well trained and you do everything right, you just don’t know how the day might turn out. In this case, how the 20+ hours on the trail will turn out! So without further adieu, not really a surprise since I’ve mentioned it here and here and oh yeah, here, I present…

May 11-12, 2012. It’s on. Doesn’t that picture just make you want to run 100 miles there? No, not really?

I finally bit the bullet and signed up for this inaugural race in Zion. I’m not sure what I was waiting on as I pretty much knew I was going to run this race the day I found out I didn’t get into Western States (I’m over it now, but I did shed a few tears that day). I guess I will never know if my body can truly handle 100 miles until I try it for myself. I think 100’s are the ultimate test of endurance and it all boils down to mental toughness. I can’t even fathom what it’s going to feel like past the 50 mile mark or the 70 mile mark or even the 90 mile mark (if I make it that far). Since I have major ADD, it helps to focus on something new and switch up my training a bit (re: run as many miles as I can without my legs falling off). It’s good to give yourself a good kick in the pants once in a while and scare yourself by doing something totally new and foreign. Plus, the course looks beautiful and nothing is repeated on the course (i.e. we aren’t running 100 loops around a 1 mile track).

Here’s my work in progress training for Zion:

Mileage

It’s not a total surprise in order to train for a hundo you need to put in some heavy mileage. You need to spend a good amount of time on your feet and be okay with pulling yourself out after a long run and doing it all over again. My main goal here is to keep my weekly mileage around 70-75 and peak at 85-90. I feel comfortable with this goal because it’s realistic for me and I know my body can handle it. I’m going to aim for 2-3 double days/week, where I run or cross-train before and after work. It will usually be hard day/easy night or visa versa. I’m going to focus less on speed and more on running through tired legs. The rest of the week will consist of one track workout, double long runs over the weekend (hopefully on trails), one day of TRX/strength, tempos and most importantly, rest. I should say yoga, but I know I will never do it, so I won’t even hold myself accountable for it.

Managing the lows

Ultrarunning is a really schizophrenic sport. One minute you’re flying, balls to the walls on Cloud 9. The next you’re in the dumps and it is the most miserable feeling in the world. Unlike running shorter distances or marathons, when you “hit the wall”, it’s only for a couple miles and will go by relatively fast until it’s over. Unfortunately I’ve found on the trails, it can last an hour or a couple hours. I’ve felt this way every time I’ve run anything longer than a marathon distance on the trails, it’s almost a guarantee by now. Most of the time, it helps to know that I will get over it. Maybe not in the next 10 minutes, maybe not in the next hour, but the fact is I will get over it. Usually it happens from lack of fluids, electrolytes or calories so that’s the first thing I turn to when I’m feeling in the dumps. It’s going to happen in Zion, maybe multiple times, I just need to remember that the feeling is manageable and will pass in due time.

Training Races

To keep myself in check, I already had races lined up before I even signed up for Zion. Avalon last month was a good refresher to see how I felt doing another 50 a month after Northface. I have 2 back to back 50K’s in February over one weekend (60ish miles), no races in March (my wallet could only handle so much and somewhere B is clutching onto his credit cards), American River 50, Ragnar So Cal Ultra and Eugene Marathon in April. I’ll start doing long night runs sometime in March (either 10PM-2AM or 2AM-6AM). Sounds fun right? Especially for someone who is usually in bed by 9PM this should be interesting. I want to start experimenting with different stimulants like 5 hour energy and Red Bull. Hopefully they will keep me awake when I really need it. I am somewhat skeptical because my tolerance for caffeine is sky high and I can usually fall asleep after I down a cup of coffee.

Weight Management

I don’t want to dwell on this subject too much or else it’s going to cause me to relapse back into my eating disorder days, but I would like to ideally lose 5 lbs by race day. The only reason being with such a huge distance to cover on my feet, the less weight I have to carry around (plus my Camelbak), the lighter and faster I’ll be. Makes logical sense, right? Since I don’t own a scale nor do I really care how much I weigh right now, I can’t really gauge the progress of this goal. So I’m just going to go by feel and like I said, I’m not going to obsess over it. I enjoy my post-run treats too much

mmm Chocolate Bread Pudding from Short Cake LA

A few references for running 100’s

I’ll try to update as much as I can on my training and journey, stay tuned!

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