Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Time on the feet

I've decided not to run the Burkes Garden FA this upcoming weekend due to some lingering tendonitis in my lower legs and feet. I'm focusing on a very strong Grindstone, so I need to heal and get back on the mountains. Pushing myself too soon would just prolong my down time.


Here's what hurts: The arches of my feet have hurt since the moment I finished the OD 100. I blame this on a lack of "time on the feet" training. At about mile 50 of the OD 100, I told Jay my feet were hurting, and he said, "Oh yeah. Time on the feet." What he meant was that I hadn't put enough hours into my long training runs. At that point in the day I had run my second longest run in 6 months. I had not put in enough "time on my feet." And he was right. Ultimately my consistent 40 mile weeks were enough to get me to the finish, but they were not enough to really prepare my tendons and joints for a hard 100 mile effort.

Lesson learned.

My Achille's tendons are still sore. Not bad, but a lingering soreness that was there even before OD 100. Enough to make me think... And just behind my left ankle is a nagging soreness that has been there since the day after.

Time on the feet. Lesson learned.

All of these get better every day. If I bike too hard or jog a couple miles, they tend to be a bit worse the next morning. Ibuprofen totally knocks them out, so I don't think it is anything serious -- just some nagging, post-hundred-miler pain.

A direct result of a lack of training. Not enough time on the feet

There has been a big discussion lately on the big ultra list about preparing for 100s. Many suggest building up to 100 mile weeks before the big day. I am able to run a hundred miles in under 24 hours on 40 miles per week. But at what cost to my body? Jay puts more time on his feet, and he can run three hundreds in 6 weeks. With my training, I'm good for one per summer.

Lesson learned.

Meanwhile, I'm walking daily, riding my bike to/from work (saving ga$), and doing my "metabolic conditioning" interval workouts. If past hundreds are any indication I'll be back to it in no time. Stronger than ever.

Run hard out there... but be sure to put in the "time on the feet." Or else your feet will put some time on you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Endurance Planet -- Tim Twietmeyer podcast

Endurance Planet does a weekly podcast from great endurance sports books. Last Friday they put up Tim Twietmeyer's essay from Running Through the Wall, "Fire, Ice, and Competition."

Other Running Through the Wall excerpts from their archives include:

Blake Wood and David Horton
Kevin Setnes


Monday, June 16, 2008

Back to running -- almost.

My OD100 run really took a toll on my body. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) was minimal. Chafing (monkey butt) was fine by day 2 into my recovery. But my feet were definitely the big complaint this time. And my Achilles tendons to some degree. The worst pain was in my right foot. After a week of icing, contrast baths, and Ibuprofen, it still hurt on the outside of my arch when I walked or tried to jog.

I had a doctor look at it (my neighbor, out in the back yard). He said that I probably had a dropped cuboid. With a quick manipulation he put that darn cuboid back where it belonged, and to my surprise, the pain relief was immediate. But then it hurt again the next morning -- more of an ache this time. I resumed my Ibuprofen treatment, and today, 9 days into the recovery, I felt like running again. I planned a 2-week hiatus from running after this one anyway, so I'm biking to/from work, walking and doing some crossfit exercises this week. If all goes well, I'll get back to running just in time for the Burkes Garden Fat Ass at the end of the month.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Updated: Old Dominion 100 Mile Endurance Run

Results are posted!

The 30th running of the Old Dominion 100 Mile run is in the history books as one of the hottest on record. It hit 99 degrees around 3pm, just after we crossed 50 miles. I was able to get out to a good start, back off a little in the heat of the day, then finish strong. At both medical checks my weight was up 3 pounds. That was a first for me, but the medical staff said that was great, so I kept up with my hydration and kept on running.

Memorable Moments (or moments I wish I could forget)

Watching the weather forecast in the days prior to the run, my fear grew along with the projected high temperature. On Friday morning, the final race-day forecast was for 97 degrees, with a heat index of over 110. And I'm supposed to run 100 miles!?!?

I tried to relax and get some sleep Friday night, but that's a tough job when it is still 80 degrees at 9pm. I sweated so much that evening that I was sure I would be 2 pounds down before we even started.

I looked at my watch at 3am and thought, "Good, I can finally get up now."

We started with an easy jog through Woodstock, reaching the beautiful and familiar river crossing (which I could not see because my glasses were fogged up from humidity) before I knew it. I felt relief as we started climbing Woodstock Mountain. I also felt a hint of a cool breeze.

Jay and I ticked off the miles for the first couple hours. When Jay stopped for a bathroom break, I got a competitve bug and actually sped up a little. I told a few people over the next hour that I wasn't sure what happened to Jay. "Don't worry, he'll catch you," was their reply. And he did.

We crossed 50 miles in 10:31. All systems were go. Very shortly thereafter I took my first dip in a stream. Actually laid down and let the water flow over me. I almost felt chills when I stood up. It was 99 degrees with no shade. I was feeling fine.

Jay was struggling with stomach issues. On the switchbacks up the ATV trail, I yelled down to him. "You okay?" I asked. "Just threw up," Jay replied. "Do you feel better now?" I asked. "Don't know yet." Jay had talked me into running the OD100, and I asked him to help get me in under 24 hours (he's done it 5 times). If you finish under 24 hours you get a sterling silver buckle. If you finish over 24, but within the 28 hour limit you get a duffle bag. No thanks, I already have a duffle bag. Jay got me this far, but I knew from this point on I was on my own. His last words of advice were to enjoy the nice gentle descent after reaching the top of the ATV trail. I was off and running.

After reaching the top of the ATV trail I started what seemed at the time to be the rockiest, muddiest descent I've ever run. Jay must have been really sick.

Running just minutes ahead of Jay's 2007 splits, I came into Elizabeth's Furnace aid station, grabbed my spare flashlight and some food, and took off for the climb up Sherman's Gap. A climb I had heard a lot about in the previous 24 hours. I had a marathon to go, and I felt okay. Really.

The first couple miles of this 6-mile Sherman Gap section were not too bad. "What's all the fuss about?" I thought. Then the real climbing started. Look above you, just where the wall meets the ceiling. Now imagine you are climbing up a trail in the dark, and the next chemlight (marking the trail) is 50 yards ahead up there where you just looked. You finally get there, and another 100 yards ahead, just as high in the air, is another. This happened again and again and again then I was at the top. I hit the windchime (at least one other person mentioned the windchime, so I was not imagining that), and took off on an equally steep and treacherous descent. Next stop, Veach Gap.

The climb up Veach Gap was much like Sherman's Gap. As Kent Gallup said at the awards breakfast, he now knows that if it has the word Gap in it, it's going to be bad. Look up at the ceiling again, imagine the chemlight, and move on.

Jay had told me that in 2007 he reached Veach Gap West (87 miles) at midnight and had to really run to make it just under 24 hours. I knew I was cutting it close. Tom Worthington caught up to me just as we crested Veach Gap. We discussed it briefly and decided to push each other to the finish. He was determined. So was I. I already have a duffle bag.

We reached the Veach Gap Aid Station at midnight exactly. Jay was there, showered, napped and dressed since I saw him last. He gave us some words of wisdom and Tom and I were off. Thinking we were still cutting it close, we ran the next 3 miles at near 10K pace. I'm not kidding. Some of my fastest miles came between 80 and 90, when I thought I was in jeopardy of missing the 24 hour "buckle" cutoff. It's amazing how motivating a silver buckle can be. Before long we did the math and realized that if we pushed it to the next aid station, we would have 3 hours to cover less than 10 miles. Oh man. We were going to buckle.

We enjoyed the 90.95 mile aid station (2 cups of coke for me), then walked briskly up Woodstock Mountain for the last time of the day. We ran most of the road down the mountain, met up with Kevin Dorsey on the roads into town, and had a real good time over the last few miles as we literally walked and talked our way to a sub-24-hour finish. Tom, finishing his first hundred, took the honors of finishing first. Kevin and I crossed together. We were done.

It is amazing how quickly the body shuts down. 12 miles earlier I was running 8-9 minute/mile pace comfortably. As soon as I knew I was going to finish, my body began to revolt. Within minutes of crossing the finish line, I could hardly walk to my sleeping bag. Tossing and turning for the next couple hours took more effort than it was worth. I found more comfort sitting in a chair in the cool night air, watching as the next few runners trickled in. 50 runners started. In the end, 12 of us buckled. 10 more finished under the 28-hour limit. Many of the finishers were first time hundred milers. That says something. I'm just not real sure what yet.

Congratulations to all who toed the line on that warm Saturday morning.

Run hard out there...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hot and Bothered, Part 2

And I thought it was hot at Promise Land... I'm running a hundred miles next Saturday and the extended forecast predicts temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. With the varying temperatures that we've had lately, acclimation has not been ideal. We go from 80s to 60s within a matter of days. As I sit here and look at the weather bug on my computer, today's high is supposed to be in the 70s, Friday's in the 90s.

Remember this chart?

When it hits 90-degrees on Saturday, my running will be degraded by 20-40%. Of course recent acclimation, while not ideal, will help with this. But then again, I will have run around 30-50 miles before it starts to get real warm on Saturday... So my performance will already be degraded before the heat starts to take its toll.

OD100 starts at 4am. That gives us the opportunity to run a good chunk of miles before the heat really starts to climb. Jay points out that many runners go out too fast, neglecting the fact that they have the toughest trail and hottest temps yet to come. But I wonder if it might be smart for me to go out fast (not too fast) and build a good base. That would allow me to slow down once it got hot, then hopefully have some gas left once the sun goes down. Jay agreed that this could be a sound strategy, if done carefully. He still plans to start slow, then pass everyone who didn't once they bonk.

Searching for some tips on how to handle the heat, I decided to hit up some of the hottest races. Badwater, known for its heat (way beyond what we will see in Virginia this Saturday), turned up some good articles.

The Dangers of Hot Weather Running, by Claudio Piepenburg
Dangers of Running in the Heat, by Jason Hodde

And from another hot one, Western States 100. Lisa S. Bliss, MD, writes about hydration issues in the participant guide.

Maintaining Hydration and Peak Run Performance, by Kim Mueller, provides information on how dehydration affects our performance, a breakdown of electrolytes, a case study and much more.

And then those scientists from Science Of Sport have several good articles on heat and exercise that challenge some of the traditional thinking.

Basically, here is what I hope to do to get around the potential heat issues this weekend:

Start smart. Eat & drink early, try to get some good miles in before it gets hot. Don't get too crazy in the early hours, but enjoy and take advantage of the cool weather while it lasts. Don't forget the sunscreen before it's too late!

Slow down a bit once it gets hot. Eat while I still feel like eating. Seek out foods with high water content (fruit). Dress smart. Stay cool by pouring water on my skin. Use ice if available. Drinking does little to lower body temperature. Shade, application of cool water, and wind are much more effective at lowering body temperature.

Look forward to sundown. If I'm lucky and I've paced wisely, I'll have some energy in reserve and be able to pick up the pace a little.

What other tips do you have for running hot hundreds? Please post to comments. I need all the help I can get.

Stay cool out there...