Breaking

My new philosophy for 2014 is to NOT break. Be it in running or life. Looking back I definitely notice a trend in races that I perform well and horribly bad at. It all boils down to mental tenacity. That inner struggle at mile 22 of a marathon or 62  of an ultra where you’re nearly at your limit and you start doubting your ability to finish. At this point you either break and call it quit or push through and finish strong.

To be honest I’ve broke a lot more than I would like to admit. I’ve only pushed through 3 times in my racing history. Everyone one of those races, it wasn’t the training that made the difference. It was the mental resiliency to push through in spite of the external factors i.e. pain, cramps etc. This year I would like to make a conscious effort to push through both in training and races. Hopefully this will catch on in my other endeavors.

Trust your Training

Experience is the best teacher. There are no shortcuts in running. You get results based on the amount of effort you put into training. I should know this but again the lure of a quick fix was too tempting. I experienced this first hand at the DC Rock N Roll Marathon on 3/16/2013

I put in the effort and trained as best as I could. I increased mileage, did speed work and taper when I should. The day before race day the little voice in my head came up with a brilliant what if idea.  I adjusted my fueling plans to include a LOT of caffeine. 5 scoops of Hammer’s Caffe Latte Perpetuem powder to be exact.

I didn’t drink enough water to offset the amount of caffeine I was taking and end up severely dehydrated due to its diuretic effect. After mile 16 the dehydration took its toll and all my training was for naught. The last 10 miles was a death march and I somehow managed to finished.

I felt lightheaded and dizzy after the race and barely survived the metro ride home. At home I forced myself to drink and drink lots of water to re hydrate. It felt like a really bad hangover but luckily I am feeling much better now that I’ve slept it off and can eat again.

The splits from my Garmin are available @ http://connect.garmin.com/activity/285338280

Don’t be an idiot like me and save yourself the trouble of personally experiencing that level of dehydration. Race as you train and don’t fall for any last minute self-guided gimmicks no matter how convincing it sounds.

Once I am fully recover I will start training for the Bob Potts marathon on 5/26. I will take my own advice this time and race as I train.

http://daycalc.appspot.com/05/26/2013

70 days and counting!

Trailrunning

On Sunday I discovered a new love for trailrunning. SNOW! The trails are completely transformed into a winter wonderland when it’s covered under a bed of snow. There’s a certain sense of serenity as I traversed the snow covered trails where the only things I hear are my footsteps over the soft snow covering a layer of leaves and the dead silence of early morning.

Instead of feeling tired and fatigued, each step I took reinvigorated my legs and gave me a sense belonging. I felt like I could’ve ran from morning to sundown.

I started at 7:30AM and finished around 1:30 ish for a total of 26 miles on the Greenway / Seneca Ridge Trail in Montgomery County.

Here’s the garmin data 🙂 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/266716266

Seneca Trail

Seneca Trail

 

Vermont 100 DNF

I had my first DNF at a race this past weekend. I attempted the Vermont 100 and dropped at mile 62.5

A lot of things went wrong. I was ill prepared and inadequately trained. The course wasn’t very technical but the hills were relentless.

I did not train on enough hills. The one key aspect of 100s are night running and I neglected to cover this during my training. Once the sun went down I broke down mentally and was looking for any excuse to quit.

I needed a crew. The mental support they provide would’ve helped me pushed on when I have doubts.

I need to pay a lot more attention to what I put in my dropbags. Most of the things I had in there I couldn’t use at all.

My unraveling was in part caused by my taking of the 5 hour energy bottles. I used it during my 5 hour training runs on weekends and figured that it would help during the actual race. After downing 6 of them the appetite suppressant side effect did a number on me and I was no longer able to consume any food. I didn’t want to eat or drink anything.

5 hour energy and ginger ale doesn’t mix well together. I threw up as soon as I drank a cup of ginger ale.

By mile 54 I was losing too much weigh and couldn’t consume any food to maintain a safe weight. I would not have passed the upcoming weigh check stations.

I tried to forcefully cram sandwiches and fruits down my throat but everything came back out. At mile 57.4 it got dark and I only had on a singlet. I was walking a lot so I wasn’t able to generate enough body heat to keep myself warm. I was freezing. I didn’t pack any warm clothes in my drop bags.

I slogged my way to the next aid station at 62.5 They had a fire going, I told them I needed to sit for a bit to warm myself up. I pulled a chair up right next to the fire and sat there. After about 15 minutes one of the sweepers came up to me and asked if I wanted to quit and pointed me to the van of shame. Another 15 minute went by and I finally broke down. I told him I was done.

I learned a lot on how to approach a 100 mile foot race. I made some poor decisions regarding my training and nutrition. The best lessons are learned through personal mistakes. The experience made me a bit wiser. I will make the necessary adjustments the next time around. I hate to leave unfinished business.

2012 20th Bull Run Run 50 Mile Race Report

I am not ready.

Vermont 100 is 96 days away and  I am glad I ran the Bull Run Run 50 as a tune up race to see where I am at in my training and whether I need to make any adjustments.

I can’t say enough good things about BRR and VHTRC. The entire process from registration to the finish line where the race director is out there personally shaking hands with each and every finishers is world class. The volunteers at every aid stations were very lively and did all they could to accommodate the runners.

BRR is not a course for beginners and I went in with the mindset to just finish. No time goal, no pressure. The organizers highly suggested carpooling as an option due to the limited parking at Hemlock Regional Park. I carpooled with Mike Hannon, a superb ultrarunner to the start. I know I wasn’t as fast as Mike and told him that he might need to wait an extra hour or 2 for me to finish.

6:30AM rolled around and we were off. As I was running I noticed there was one runner that knew EVERYBODY  and they all seem to know him. He was greeting almost everyone from the lead pack to the back of the packers. I found out from the other runners that returned his salutation that his name is Gary (Knipling). Gary have been with the club a long time and have ran the BRR 15 times. Knowing how bad my sense of directions is and my tendency to get lost on trail runs I introduced myself to Gary and asked if I could run with him for a bit so I won’t get lost. Gary graciously accepted and became my personal BRR tour guide. I ran with Gary for about 20+ miles and learned a lot about the history of BRR. My favorite part of the tour was the collection of pet rocks that had accumulated on the trail after 19 years of BRR. Every year runners would run by and drop off their pet rock on the pile promising to come back for them later, or next year.

The first 25 miles or so flew by. I felt good and was keeping up with my gu, mountain dew and food intake at every aid stations. I decided to push the pace a little bit and see what happens.

BIG MISTAKE. The 2nd part of the race was very unforgiving. There were so many twist, turns, uphills, downhills that will wreak havoc on your legs if you’re not careful. I didn’t come to this conclusion until it was too late. My quads were shot by mile 40. DEAD! I could no longer run the downhills or uphills without causing my quads to scream and struggling to keep myself vertical. The last 10 miles was a huge mental drain. This is the first time that my quads ever gave out. I didn’t know what to do. It was very frustrating to want to run but your legs cannot respond. I walked a LOT. I tried to run the flat part (there weren’t too many) I struggled on the uphills and grind my teeth to keep moving on the downhills.

In hindsight I might’ve been braking too much earlier on the downhills part of the course and that in part contributed to the demise of my quads.

I need more training on running downhills as Vermont will have lots of it. I will start to incorporate squats into my daily exercise routines to make my quads a bit more durable. I am sure it will give out but dead quads at 80 mile into a 100 race is much better then at 50.

BRR was a great learning experience in preparation for my first 100 miler. I will adjust my training to include more downhills training and quads exercise to  make them more durable. Live & Learn.

The infamous Gary Knipling

The infamous Gary Knipling

Marina @ Mile 21

Marina @ Mile 21

More information about the 20th edition of the Bull Run Run 50 Miler

Training Progress Report

2nd cycle

2nd cycle of 21 days of running and 2 days of rest.

I’ve made it through the 2nd cycle of my new training regiment. Had quite a scare in week 4 but luckily a little icing saved my season. Shin seem to be doing just fine, no ache or pain to speak of.

Week 5-7 were phenomenal. I diligently put in the miles and kept to the schedule. The back to back long runs were especially tough having to run on tired legs. I managed 82 miles in week 6. It’s the most miles I’ve ever ran in a week.

I am learning to finish strong on the long runs and the last 20 miler was the best finish yet. The last 5 miles were from 8 min/mile down to 6:57 min/mile. Full splits are available at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/154813404

20 Mile Splits

20 mile splits

Next Saturday’s long run will be 14 miles to properly taper for the DC Rock & Roll Marathon on 3/17/2012. I am very excited about this race. Maybe, just maybe I can run a decent time with proper training and pacing.