Friday, March 30, 2012

Week of 3-19-2012, Moab 12 hour report

Race week, so everything other than one day was easy, short, or off.

Monday: 3-ish mile equivalent, jogging in place hard for about 20 minutes in the sauna at 160 degrees. Was enjoying the laziness of the taper, so I combined what would've been a short run and sauna time into one combined thing.

Tuesday: 6 miles easy, roads.

Wednesday: 12 miles, 2000' gain, moderately hard, with Adrian, half trail half road.

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off-ish (walked an abridged lap of the course, with a bit of jogging), guess I'll count it as 3 miles since the trails are tough.

Saturday: 60 miles, 7000' gain, see race report below.

Sunday: Off.

Weekly total: 84 miles, 9000' gain.

Moab 12 hour race report:
Moab was the first race in about 2 years that I felt that I put a decent amount of good training towards. I wanted to have a run that far exceeded anything I've done in 2 years and I feel that I achieved that.

I drove down to Moab with Adrian, his girlfriend Samantha, and their dog Baer the night before the race and quickly set up my tent. We all walk/jogged a quick abridged version of a lap and immediately noted how outrageously sandy the course was, expecting that it would destroy our hips in the race the next day. The course:

I got to bed pretty early, although getting to sleep was tough due to some moronic family that was running around literally screaming and shouting at their campsite while people were trying to get to sleep. Oh well, I eventually got to bed and got 8 hours of sleep, which is much more than normal before a race.

The race started at 7 AM and it was freezing out prior to the race (quite close to being literally true as it was somewhere in the 30s). It quickly warmed up, so I wore a jacket for the first lap but immediately took it off after the first 5.37 mile lap. We knocked off the first lap in 52 or 53 minutes and spent about 2 minutes in the station. My nutritional plan was to do one gel halfway through the lap at about 2.5-2.75 miles, drink whatever water I needed during the lap (they had a refill point halfway, so I wasn't worried about fluids), and then take a gel with a Hi-C Fruit Punch juicebox in between laps (each of these things is 90 calories, so my typical lap would include 270 calories, or about 50 calories per mile). I also decided that every 3rd lap, I would take about 300 calories of chocolate milk with 3 lactaid pills (way more than enough lactaid, as I of course wanted to avoid gastrointestinal disasters brought on by my lactose intolerance). I also took an average of 3 salt pills per lap (2 at the start and 4 on a few laps when it felt hot) and took some e-caps along the way here and there to make sure I was getting some other electrolytes.

This nutritional plan worked very well for 7 1/2 hours and I didn't walk a step of the first 43 miles, despite the course having a several mile hill on every lap, regardless of the direction. In fact, most of my first 8 laps were right around that 52-53 minute mark, ie mid-high 9:00 pace on a tough course, and I typically just lost a few minutes between laps.

Adrian and I ran together for the first 44 miles and we finally overtook everyone else in the race by mile 43 (there were only 15 people in the 12 hour, but there was a simultaneous 24 hour and 100 mile). The last person we picked off was Harry Harcrow, who just beat us into the station after 8 laps and needed more downtime than us.

I still felt great up to this point, but had just urinated and noticed that the color was starting to get much too yellow, so I made the rookie mistake of drinking an entire liter of chocolate milk (with 5 or 6 lataid, ie more than enough), 2 hi-c's and some water all at once to get things back on track. This was obviously way too much at once, but my stomach had been very good the rest of the day, so I thought I could withstand taking this much at once.

Unfortunately, I was wrong, and I left the aid station feeling like I was going to vomit every time I started running. After a mile of sluggishness, I told Adrian to take off and make sure he kept the lead, so that was it for us running together. I struggled through the lap and frequently felt that I was going to lose all the liquid on both ends, so when I finally finished my 9th lap, I spent about 15 minutes in the portal john and thought my system was finally back on track.

Unfortunately, things didn't really get much better on lap 10 and running for more than a few minutes made me feel like I was going to lose everything still, which was frustrating considering that my legs felt nearly perfect still. Harry repassed me near the end of lap 9 and I couldn't catch back up on 10, although apparently he was hurting and just called it a day at this point. i once again spent a lot of time in the bathroom after lap 10 and I finally got my system cleared up pretty well, but at this point, I had lost too much time due to nausea induced walk breaks and actual bathroom breaks, so I didn't have time to push for my unofficial goal of 12 laps anymore. I still had plenty of time left for an 11th lap, so I took it nice and easy, soaked in the fact that I had 2nd place locked down, and walked most of the lap to make sure I didn't blow out my legs for no reason.

I finished my 11th lap with 20 minutes to go (for whatever reason, the website lists it as less, but I definitely had 20 minutes left still) and that was that since they don't do partial laps. My official distance was 59.07 miles, but it's relatively difficult to follow the trail on the slickrock portions do the markings being pretty far spaced apart, so everyone had the tendency to meander off the fastest route and I estimate that my 59.07 was at least 60, conservatively. This makes me confident about my ability to run other courses I have coming up since this had a moderate amount of climb, relatively hot weather that I wasn't prepared for, but still succeeded in (projected high was 81, although I never caught the actual high during the race), and a hard surface that was less forgiving than anything I'll be racing on in the near future.

One fun pic from a few minutes before the race, as people started lining up at the start and as the brotherhood of ugly shorts prepared for a solid 1-2 finish. (Adrian to my right, random dude with the best hair cut ever to my left):

Some analysis of the run:
I'm pleased with how my legs felt the entire time and my nutritional plan was perfect other than the gradual slight lack of fluids that led to the later stomach problems. In the future, I'll just need to hydrate slightly better, but everything else was awesome. Regardless of what people say about needing complicated nutritional plans without any simple sugars, I am starting to swear by having a reasonable amount of simple sugars during my long runs and races. They've done well for me in training and I think that having a mix of simple and complex carbs works much better for me than all complex carbs, which has not worked nearly as well in the past, especially if I get low on energy at any point, which has happened to me in most of my races over 50 miles since I often times don't eat enough in long races. As for the chocolate milk, I drink very sugary milk, so the majority of the calories in that were from the sugars and I doubt my body did much with the fat (it was whole milk, for the taste). This nutritional strategy worked for me very well, so I'm going to keep my nutritional plan very similar in my next race, the Old Dominion 100.

As for comparing this course to other 12 hour courses, I would imagine that someone with Adrian's mileage (64.44 officially, probably more like 65-66) or mine would probably be able to get roughly 10 miles more on a totally flat non-technical course in good weather. The course profile they give doesn't sound bad, but the sand and slickrock are both very slow and their profile has something like 40% elevation gain less than what my previous GPS measurements of the course suggested (in fact, the high point minus the low point of every lap is 100' more than the total gain they estimate per loop, despite additional rolling hills). Thus said, I feel that this run would equate to somewhere in the ballpark of 70 miles on an easy 12 hour course and I feel very good about that being early in the season with only 5 solid weeks of training in my belt.

My choice of shoes was the New Balance Minimus MR00, which were awesome, especially on the slickrock. I had only used them for a week before the race, so I had a couple backup shoes ready just in case, but they were the best shoe I could've worn. Adrian used a similar road racing flat, also from New Balance, and also 6 or 7 ounces, so while I respect that shoes are really a matter of preference, we had a good laugh about the fact that everyone else felt the need for heavy clunkers out there. I'm definitely over that sort of footwear. If my feet felt 100% with no problems after 60 miles on very hard and unforgiving terrain, I doubt I'll ever wear anything more substantial than the Minimus again. Old Dominion is mostly dirt roads and relatively non-technical trails, so I imagine that I'll wear the MR00s for that rather than MT00s, just due to the durability issues of the MT00s. Speedgoat, in its technicality, will get MT00s, as will Wasatch. I just hope New Balance puts out a more durable MT00 update by the time Wasatch is here so I don't have to replace my shoes as often in training...

Well, I guess that's about that. Despite the fact that I know this is a good result for me right now, I feel relatively indifferent about it. I know that my legs had another lap in them, so I guess that has something to do with it. In any case, I took several days entirely off just to make sure my legs were rested and at 100% before starting back up. My legs still felt pretty good after the race, but 60 miles is a pretty long day of running, so better safe than sorry. As of today, 6 days later, I'm feeling great and several days back into training. I guess I'll have another report in a few days.

Music for the week is Bortkiewicz's highly unheralded 3rd piano concerto. Sorry that this is the best recording I could get in a stream, but this piece is RARE. According to every database I've looked at, only one professional recording exists in any format! From everything I've heard by him now, this guy deserves to be in any romantic music lover's top-5 all time classical composer lists, but he just came along at the wrong time (very late for a romantic composer) and kind of got screwed over by early modern era classical, impressionism, and even the early precursors to rock. If you don't have 27 minutes to listen, start at 8:50 in the second video. This section and the finale are, to me, what music is all about:

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