Thursday, November 8, 2007

Javelina Jundred and 2008

I’ve returned from the 2007 Javelina Jundred (, which was a terrific 100 mile race, with almost 150 starters. It was successful from a number of different standpoints. In order to mix it up a little bit, I will shy away from the usual play-by-play and try to give you a brief summary of what happened.

-Ran terrific for the first 31 miles (two loops)
-Slowed on loop 3 due to increase in temperatures (over 100 in certain spots)
-Puked after completion of loop 3 and 5, as well as one other occasion
-Took recovery breaks of 1.5 hours total during race
-Recovered to finished the final 20 miles in 4 hours
-Finished well in 24 hours

Now you may be saying to yourself, “He puked again? I thought this was solved.” Well, one of the primary reasons I completely bounced back at mile 80 was the introduction of mass quantities of Lay’s potato chips and Ginger Snap Cookies into my diet. At one point, being my first ultra by myself, I let my mind run a little wild when I was hurting and thought about a) quitting ultrarunning, b) hated family and friends, and c) hated my own life. It was bringing out the best and worst of my emotions. I needed something with a little salt, some sugars, a bunch of fats, and some other carbs to top it off that my stomach would like. The salt came in quantities that my stomach could handle and it felt awesome. At some points, I was almost running away from my pacer, Robert Andrulis, who volunteered at mile 75 to pace me the rest of the way. I met Robert when we both ran Badwater in 2006, and it was nice to chat with a friend who knew how to send my mind on a vacation while my body started kicking into gear. I was just wired like crazy and running like a banchee up and down those hills. I am going to continue to pour on the solid foods in my future 100 milers, which will continue to help balance out my system and give my digestive system food it’s used to. I’m not going to completely abandon the gels and powder drinks, because I think some supplementing is necessary to get all the proper nutrition. But, the balance is shifting, and packing a light Clif bar is going to become more standard in my running repertoire. While never totally satisfied, considering I’ve been only running beyond the marathon for 2 years, I’m content to be where I’m at.

Right now, I’m slated to run Rocky Raccoon in February, which is a fairly fast, flatter course. I’ll be setting the following goals for myself, which I’m going to follow up in training with specific runs/target times that my uncle will hold me to.
· Sub-24 hours- Standard goal
· 22 hours- Good goal
· 20 hours- Better goal
· 18 hours- Best goal

While most of my training will target the 20 hour goal, in order to better incorporate many of the nutritional lessons I’ve learned this year, a conservative 1st-50 targeting 10.25-10.5 hours will be the goal. I am a closer; I love to turn n’ burn over the last 20 miles of a race. Psychologically, the last 20% of an ultra gets me incredibly excited and optimistic, which translates over into how I run. But, in order to do this, I have to have something left in the tank. I believe that I will both feel better physically (especially the stomach) and have the sustained muscle strength if I focus more on negative splits. This is especially true of a loop course (20 mile loops) such as Rocky Raccoon where you can accurately measure performance comparing the 1st 20 mile loop with the 5th 20 mile loop.

A few goals for 2008 include:
· Limit breaks at aid stations in 100 milers to 5 min./max, 2 min. preferred (which I’ve started implementing)
· Continue intense speed workouts at local track at least once a week
· Make better use of solid food to combat nausea
· Make the 100 mile race a focal point for training
· Run better marathons as a base for running better ultramarathons
· Use at least two-fixed time races as times of experimentation/refining
· Run a sub-20 hour 100 miler
· Use “Negative split” principle where applicable (not always true depending on terrain)
· Use 1st 2 Badwater experiences as opportunity to make big leap forward in 2008

Now, I know a lot of these will require a definite increase in my training regimen, but I think that, along with the natural growth curve that comes with the changes in my body to be more runner-like (rather than, say, like a lacrosse-player or basketball-player), I have a definite opportunity to grab hold of here.

It's November, which for most people means time to go indoors and hibernate for the winter. When I was living in Los Angeles, I always enjoyed when Daylight Savings ended. I used to run around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena when I was living in Los Angeles. I have run the Los Angeles Marathon every year since 2001, and with the race always slated for early March, the bulk of training occurred during the cold winter months.

I got a rush out of running in the cold darkness, punctuated by the filtered light of the fog-covered intermittent street lamps. It gave me a feeling of empowerment, that feeling of working hard while other retreated to their warm houses or to the treadmills at their local gyms. I wanted to work hard while others slept; I wanted to feel the coldness of winter to remind me of the cold nights I had suffered before. I always tried to out run that feeling, but I never could quite do it. I'd run myself into exhaustion, so that as I stood with my arms on my hips, I could watch my breath steam up in the cool air. I'd take my shirt and hat off briefly, allowing my body heat to continue to produce steam. It was then that I knew I was alive. I want the feeling rekindled in me once again.

Besides one marathon (CIM) and one 50k slated for December, this is a month to get well and work on speed. Speed is something a lot of ultrarunners lose because it becomes an afterthought in training. But, the more fit (correlating with heart rate/effort) I am at the 26.2 mile level, the easier it will be for my body at the 100 mile level. Stay strong, keep movin', take care and God bless.


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