Wednesday, June 14, 2006

80K Race Training/Planning

I stopped at the pool last night on the way home from work and swam 900 meters, 500 freestyle, 400 breaststroke. I was going to do more but I had only eaten an apple and a banana for lunch and I “hit the wall” as far as motivation goes. Of course then I went home and tore the door off the kitchen trying to get to food. I usually eat a healthy midday meal, but I’m tapering so am trying not to gain too much weight this week. Next week I won’t look so close because I need a lot of energy for my 80K.

80K Race Training

I thought a couple of you might be interested in how I have been training or planning for the race. With the exception of the last couple weeks I have not trained for the 80K. I trained for my 50K and for a marathon before that, but not for the 80K. However I think the training that I did for the 50K is enough to get me over the finish line, which is my only goal. Actually the marathon and the 50K were preparation for the 50K. It was only after the 50K that I made the final decision on the 80K – the idea had been lurking in my head most of the year, I only lacked the confidence.

Running in the Dark

Many of my long runs throughout the winter were in the dark hours of the morning, which has served as my “running-in-the-dark” training for the 80K. I have only done one night run in the last few weeks, that will have to suffice.

Race Course Familiarization

I have spent the last couple weeks running several portions of the 80K course, particularly the hill climbs. As you can see below I am quite familiar with the course:

Kilometers 1-21: I know these sections by heart, having ran parts of the course in other races, ridden them on my bicycle or traversed them with my car over the last 16 years.

Kilometers 20-24: I ran almost every Saturday morning for the last few months.

Kilometers 24-34: I ran twice (out and back) over the last two Saturdays.

Kilometers 34-37: Are a downhill and a run through a town – I could see the downhill portion at KM34, easy running. I’ve walked through the town before, flat.

Kilometers 37-47: I ran/walked last Sunday.

Kilometers 47-57: I want to run tomorrow.

Kilometers 57-61: I have walked about half of this section with a friend who lives at KM 61 (we walked his dog). It is all downhill, but it is also in a thick forest and will be in the middle of the night.

Kilometers 61-71: I want to ride with my bicycle on Sunday.

Kilometers 71-80: Most of this part of the trail I ran almost daily for three years while in the military. A couple sections I have run in other races.

Heat Training

It has been very hot for the last week or so, with temperatures approaching 31C/88F. Today is supposed to be 32C/90F. When our heat wave continues, the first couple hours of the run will be during the hottest part of the day and there is very little shade available. I am trying to do all my runs during the hottest part of the day, which is around 4-5 p.m., the time I usually run during the week.

Drop Bags

The race allows the use of drop bags. However so far it appears that you can only use their drop bags, which are clear plastic garbage bags which they tape shut and mark with your race number. Apparently most participants only use the drop bags for a jacket and a flashlight. A couple people who I have talked to that have done the race said there is enough food and drink available at the 16 control stations, i.e. I don’t need to carry any.

My biggest concerns at the moment is what to put in my drop bag(s) and post-race logistics. The former depends a lot on the weather and what is actually available at the control stations. I want to call the club putting on the race and ask them what they will have available to eat.

Post-race Logistics

My wife is dropping me off at the race and will return home after the start. Her idea is that when I’m done, call her and she will come and get me. This is partly because I probably won’t be coordinated to drive our stick-shift after the race and partly so she can have the car. As I am predicting that I will need around 12 hours for the race, this would mean around 5-6 a.m. the next morning. My only concern is that I am a vegetable by the time I get to the finish line and won’t even know my telephone number any longer. Maybe I can pin a note to my start number or something – "If you find this corpse lying at the finish line please call this number. Thank you!" ;-)

jack, what are you able to handle in terms of food during your running? can you do solids or do you stick with gels and liquids throughout?
hey, put her number in a finish line drop bag:)
very great plan, detailed, you are ready, stop worrying! you'll do awesome!
Maybe you can pre-program your phone so when you finish all you have to do is push send. Of course you may need a reminders note for that as well.

You are fortunate that you are so familiar with the course. That should help quite a bit.
Ha! Maybe you can have someone right your phone number on you with perma marker - "If lost or disoriented please call Ms Jack at ######"
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