Thursday, February 12, 2015

Some Physical Issues... Heading To Warmer Weather...

One thing I have neglected to mention on this blog is that I have had this weird chronic cough since Thanksgiving. It's been better at times and worse at other times.  I had been feeling pretty crummy before Christmas so I went to the Dr. (not something I do often) - they listened to my lungs and said I was fine.  So the cough stayed - its pretty bad at night and more annoying than anything.  Since Christmas I haven't felt sick at all - I just have annoyed people with my nasty hacking all over the place (especially my poor husband at night and my mother, who shares an office with me).

After the -15 run the cough got a bit worse, but I didn't think much of it.  After the 50 miler last weekend, and it's funny I was so excited about how well the run went that I didn't think to mention it, I sat in my car coughing for a good 10-15 minutes before I was able to drive.  Funniest part of all of this: I almost never cough while running, just the rest of the day.

So with a sleep deprived husband and  saintly mother who is about to quit her job or punch me in the face if I don't stop coughing, I elected to go back to the Dr. She sent me for x-ray and turns out my lungs are all inflamed and I have asthma and am not allowed to exercise outside in the cold for at least 10 days (I did sneak in some skiing today, I'll admit it - but I wore a mask and it wasn't that cold out).  I'm on steroids (which I can't stand) and an albuterol inhaler.  Due to my not being allowed to run in the cold for a bit I went for a nice 9 miler on the treadmill this morning ("nice" and "treadmill" should not be in the same sentence) and watched Unbreakable: The Western States 100 (the best running movie EVER) and imagined I was running in the woods with Geoff Roes and Hal Koerner....sure made the time fly by.  Light. Smooth. Easy. Fast.

Sooooo, for those wondering, apparently the cold can upset your lungs.  Lucky for me, heading to Disney with the fam tomorrow - so weather will be warmer and hopefully will log some nice mileage down there and spend some much needed chill time with the hubby and kids.

After vacation - it's getting down to business.  I will be exactly 1 month out from the 100 and I hope to log 100 miles that week before I begin my taper.

By the way, speaking of Geoff Roes, was listening to this great, albeit old, podcast on Running Stoopid with Coach Ken ... awesome Roes interview I had never heard before: 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Gear, Shoes and Stuff

The biggest reason for wanting to incorporate a 50 mile training run into my plan was to test out my fueling/ gear.  I am very used to 30 mile runs and can tough one out after no breakfast with nothing but water and maybe a small snack.  Not good for a hundred miler according to pretty much everyone.  The hard and fast rule I have been told (by many people) is: "Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirst and walk before you have to".  So  I knew I needed a nice long run with a focus on going slow and steady and really paying attention to fuel.

VESTS/ HYDRATION I had two vests set up:
Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest and a Nathan Zelos Vest I recently purchased as a back-up because it had a flask in front AND a hydration pack for water, it got really good reviews (and I'll admit it, I like the colors).  The UD vest has two bottles in front and and storage in the back, but no built in hydration pack.  I have thrown one in there, but I feel like it throws off the vest and takes up all the storage space.  I had used the Nathan vest last weekend on a long run and was kind of irritated by the lack of lower chest strap.  The UD vest has an upper chest and lower chest strap which helps manage bounce and balances the weight, the Nathan vest has only an upper chest strap so your shoulders bear most of the weight of the vest and because there is only a flask on one side, it feels kid of uneven.  That being said, I decided to pack both, start with old reliable (the UD vest) and switch if it became uncomfortable.

To make a long story short, I never even used the Nathan vest.  The UD vest was perfectly balanced and comfortable and I like seeing both bottles so I can monitor hydration and they are top of mind. Plus, I don't have to fiddle around with the sip tube or worry about it freezing (which has happened to me many times).  The one good thing about the Nathan vest is that it has so many storage pouches and pockets, plus the resevoir, and bright colors for road safety, but since I'm only doing 10 mile loops on the trail, the UD vest will probably be my first pick.

Because the weather was comfortable (upper 20's) losing fluid was not really an issue - I drank about 65-70 ounces of water, 32 ounces of HEED and took 1 SCap every hour or so.  This is totally aproximate as I basically followed a "drink when you think about drinking" and "take an SCap when you can't remember when you last took one" motto.

SHOES I had two pairs of shoes:
This run took place on the road, though I took two pairs of trail shoes: Solomon Speedcross 3 - these are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn.  They feel soft and cushioned with a large toe box, but you can still feel the ground under you - which, to me, is important on the trail, especially on New England rocky/ root covered trails.  This particular pair I have worn down the sole from road running, so it's more road than trail shoe now anyway.  The second pair I took were my new Hoka Stinsons.  I actually have Hoka road shoes, but for some dumb reason grabbed the wrong ones.

I recently bought the Hokas because of all the great reviews and every time I have run in them I just don't get it - they feel like I'm running on foam... which for me doesn't feel right probably because I'm pretty used to minimal shoes.  That being said after mile 40 I was feeling a little stiffness in my legs, so I decided to switch from the Solomons to the Hokas.  Okay... I get what all the buzz is about.  While I would never wear those shoes to just "go for a run" - after 40 miles, the bouncy, foamy feeling was real nice.  I guess that is why they are marketed as an "Ultra shoe"... duh.  Anyway, I will certainly be bringing these along to the race but will delay wearing them until I feel like I need to.  I got them a size too big to make room late in the race for foot swelling, so they will be my relief shoe.  The Hoka Stinson's have a really large toe box and are very roomy - so I probably should have only gotten them 1/2 size bigger, I will have to watch for rubbing/ blisters with them.  I will probably start off in my Solomons as they just fit so nicely.  No blisters from either shoe on this run.

Fueling went pretty well overall.  I don't do gels because every time I have ever taken gel I bonk due to stomach issues - they are so gross to me.  Over the course of the run I ate: 2 PBJs with salt on them, 1 Clif Bar, 4 big fig newtons, HEED and SCaps.  I probably could have taken in more calories - but that was really all I took with me.  My stomach does best with solid food on runs so I will stick with that.

I have never run with electrolyte drink before recently.  Every run I had done in the past was H20 only, primarily because of the issue I have with gels... I have with electrolyte drink.  They make me sick and nauseous.  I recently started trying HEED because it doesn't have simple sugars (which I think is my problem) and so far it has been working out great.

50 Mile Training Run Report. Done and Done!

First - I have to report we have hit $9,950 - only $5K short of our fundraising goal!  We have received some great corporate donations and are gearing up for our St. Paddy's themed fundraiser on March 8th at The Stone House in Guilford!  To donate: 
To purchase fundraiser tickets ($75/ pp): 

There are all sorts of training plans for first time 100 milers.  Some people say you can get away on running 50 miles per week with one really good long run of 30+ on the weekends.  Others say you have to peak at 100 miles in a week to get your body the feeling of what it will be like to run that kind of distance (even though it's over the course of the week).  And others swear by back-to-back-to-back long runs to get your body used to running on tired legs.

When I ran my first ultra of 50 miles in 2012 I used the the back-to-back long run method with a peak of 30 miles on Sat. and 20 on Sunday.  That plan really helped my confidence because I knew that if I could run 50 miles in 2 days, I could certainly tough out 50 miles in 1 day.  The plan worked.

So, for my first 100 miler I have elected to go with the back-to-back-to-back method with a peak of 30-20-15 but I really wanted to incorporate a 50 mile training run as well.  My goal for the run was to finish feeling not depleted, but like I still had more in me.

Last week's post was about about my epic fail attempt at that, overnight, in -15 temps.  In retrospect, I probably set myself up to fail because of the insane wind and weather that night. Needless to say I made it 20 miles before heading to my gym only to find it closed and had to finish the miles the following day.  I was not happy about it.  All week I obsessed - should I have just kept going?  Why did I stop, was it really the cold or was it my mind? Am I too weak for this?

I set yesterday for another attempt at the 50 mile training run.  Technically, I did not need to do this - plenty of people max out at 30 mile runs for 100 miles, but I really felt like I needed the confidence boost - so I decided to set out again.  

I am happy to report that yesterday's run went flawlessly!!! Temp started out at 17 and went to high 20's (perfect), light snow flurries all day and I felt great.  The 100 miler I am training for is 10 loops of 10 miles, so yesterday I did 5 loops of 10 miles.  I wanted to take it easy enough so that I had plenty left when I finished. Fast hiking the hills, running the downhills and jogging the flats and it went great.  I really warmed up at mile 30 and 35-50 I was comfortably cruising.  I finished the run absolutely not feeling spent and could have continued no problem.  Other than some back/ shoulder pain and fatigue I felt fine after and this morning.  Pretty much no fatigue in my legs and I spent today skiing.  This tells me I must be getting stronger and the back-to-back-to-back runs must be helping because after previous ultras I can barely walk the next day.

Of course, the thing that I worry most about is my mind - it's really easy at 4 AM when it's freezing cold to say "screw this, I'm going back to bed" - there has to be something dragging you out.  I think of Cindy and how she can't run here - I also think of those kids who will be getting an amazing playground... I can't let them down.

A more technical post to follow on nutrition and gear reviews...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Turning it around...

It was an interesting training weekend to say the least.  Nate was away all weekend so it was just me and the kids with a busy weekend which meant I had one night to fit in my long runs.  I had arranged for the kids to stay with my parents Friday night so I could run through the night and pick them up first thing in the morning.

What I did not realize is that Friday night temperatures were to be between -15 and -25 from high winds.  I started off around 8/ 8:30 and all was fine.  Around 10 PM I started having trouble... the wind was so bad that at times I was practically running in place and it was beyond cold.  I had 3 top layers, two bottom layers, a hat, earband and a Tyvek suit over all of it.  At points the wind was so bad I was getting (what I'm assuming) was seasick or something and was just dry heaving in the middle of the road.  At about 1:30 I said enough was enough and decided to head to my 24 hr. gym to finish out the night.  When I removed the Tyvek suit my body was covered in ice and snow.  Stopped at Dunkin Donuts grabbed a large coffee with espresso and headed to the gym (still shivering 30 minutes later).  When I got to my gym, much to my frustration, I learned that it is only open 24 hrs M-Thursday... so there went my gym run.  Not one to just bail on a run, I checked the weather and that is when I learned about what the temps actually were outside.

Needless to say, I spent about 45 minutes in a hot bath thawing out and all jacked up on espresso fell asleep around 4:30 to wake up at 6:00.  I was not happy about any of this.  I forgot to mention that despite being out there for 5 hours I only actually went 20 miles....the wind and cold was that bad... it was practically the speed of a power walk.

So I posted on the OutRun 38 (a kick butt group of runners) facebook page that I was bummed about the failed run and they were basically like: get back out there and finish the miles.  This reminded me that just because I had it set in my head to do it all that night didn't me that I couldn't adjust the plan for the circumstances (adapting like that is not my strong suit).  When I bailed on the run and the gym was close, I felt like the whole weekend was just shot.  After the advice from the "OutRunners" - I got in a much better mindset and remembered why I'm doing this training in the first place.  I spend the morning treking in the snow with the kids and then luckily enough my husband got home in time for me to get out there and finish my miles.  Best part... it was a balmy 27 degrees, a whole 40 degrees warmer than when I ran on Friday night and a great run.

What was initially a crappy training weekend ended up being pretty good training after all.  That being said... still need to do that 50 mile training run :)