Pioneer 2016 – all the other stuff
|August 22, 2016
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
Honest, focused reflection is one of the most important things you can do after a big event. Honesty has never been a problem here, but the whole focus thing is a different story. Which is why I’m only choosing THREE things that went well, and THREE things that I wish I had done differently for last Saturday’s 50 mile race.
Here’s the “run” down. *snickershort*
(for the actual race story, see link here)
3 Things I did Well
Nutrition and Hydration
I managed my nutrition really well. There were absolutely NO CRAMPS and to date (48 hours post) NO MUSCLE SORENESS. During the race in the heat of the day when I started to feel a little nauseous I sucked on candied ginger and was able to resolve it. No significant GI upset or not being able to eat and drink when I needed to.
There was a scary moment mid-race when I started questioning whether I was over/under hydrated/electrolyted? In the end I had to go based on experience and trust my gut so I continued to drink as much water as felt good on my stomach according to thirst, continued the elyte supplementation since it was ballpark what has worked in the past. At the risk of TMI, post race everything pointed to proper hydration and electrolyte supplementation.
For this race I decided to take charge of most of my own food and just use the aid stations as supplementation. Thank goodness because as aid stations go, this event’s were pretty meager. I ate almost everything I brought – a combination of Cliff bar savory mashes, applesauce packets, filled cliff bars, mentos, probars etc. I made a conscious effort to eat more often instead of my usual “eat whenever and in large quantities” since I have a feeling that even though I’ve never had an issue at a 50, I need to start practicing for a 100! This experiment paid off on Saturday because with the heat I’m sure that my normal lackadasial attitude would have given me a hard lesson about the fagility of the GI system.
I was a really good cheerleader for myself on Saturday. My mental game was ON.
It was like having a pacer inside my brain that knew exactly when the push, when to threaten, and when to give myself a hug and tell me I was doing a good job. I spent very little time wallowing in my own self pity. The voice in my head seemed very disconnected to what my body was feeling and seemed capable of making good decisions and I trusted it.
I should name my internal cheerleader.
My internal cheerleader also convinced me to ice.
I can’t say I didn’t scream. But I didn’t cuss. Not when the ice water was being sponged over my neck, head and back. Not when ice was being dumped in my bra. Not when I was self sponging my quads (actually the least offensive location).
I DID IT. I actually sponged off with ice water AND put ice in my bra. Just like a real ultra runner.
I get an A+ for drop bags. I used old shoe boxes that were taped with masking tape that had a tab. In the boxes I put food, a small tube of sunscreen, a small tube of lube, and anything else I KNEW I would need at a particular check. As a result the boxes were almost empty and it was REALLY easy to grab everything without thinking and just GO. No thinking required, no digging, no peering into a bag. The more I use drop bags the more I realize how IMPORTANT visualization of your stuff is. For me, I need rigid containers where nothing can hide.
Shoe boxes and small bento containers are excellent go-tos for me as drop bags.
A quick note about my crew bag. I use a back pack as my crew bag – it’s easy for crew the transport and small enough it keeps everything organized. It has a large bento “just in case” box that has blister supplies, drugs, extra batteries etc. In another large backpack compartment I have a spare set of shoes and socks as well as more lube and sunscreen. In general the crew bag contains stuff I might need but I’m not planning on using.
For this race I also had extra food in the crew bag for non-drop bag locations. I had to unzip pockets and dig into the bag to get to it. This was not very efficient. What I should have done was pre-bag up food in the crew bag at locations where crew was meeting me and I wouldn’t have a drop box so it was a simple grab and go. Zippers and small compartments are just so hard when you are tired. On the flip side, when I used the crew bag as intended (spares of stuff I might need) it worked fabulously – switching out shoes at mile 16 was a breeze.
3 Things I Would Change
Pay more attention to my feet
I could tell after 16 miles that my Hauka’s were just not going to work for me that day and so I tore the tag off of a pair of brand new Challengers to finish the race out. It was a good decision with one little caveat. I really really really wish I had stopped to fix the laces when I felt pressure on the top of my right foot. HUGE big painful bruise on top of my foot. Oops. 24 hours post finish I can finally move my toes again. I had worn the Challengers in the running store on the treadmill and had done some lace modifications and knew they were close to being dialed in….but obviously some adjustment was still needed. On the other hand…..I ran 34 miles in brand new shoes and it WORKED. Could have been so much worse.
My Effing IT bands
Bilateral IT band pain from mile 15 onward. Seriously pissed them off during the steep decents onto the technical river trail. Continued to manage through the meatgrinder section. The good news is that IT bands are something that I’m familiar with dealing with. The sucky part is that it was sorta outa the blue after not having a problem with them for a while. On some reflection, I remember that my IT bands did the same thing (bilateral, out of the blue) at my first 50k (but worse). Got through that race, continued to run ultras and races that year and NEVER had another problem. Is it a “first ultra in a while” thing? I hope so. Rolling, icing, and going to be testing them in some more events between now an another 100.
1 o’clock demons
I need another 50k or two before Rio. I need to see the 1 o’clock demons again and let my legs 30 miles one more time. I think repeated exposure will help me deal with that predictable afternoon lull, and I need to stop my brain from panicking at mile 18-20 when they don’t feel fresh. Maybe I need to experiment with lunch time caffeine to see if I can reduce some of the sleepiness?
- Hoka Hauka miles 1-16
- Hoka Challenger ATR 2 miles 17-finish
- Wright’s socks
- Spandits boardie length shorts with pocket (and…commando. I know TMI. I KNOW)
- Random Target bra
- Random REI sale shirt – tech but holds a lot of water/sweat
- Funky straw hat that did not appreciate being stuffed into a backpack. Got chucked a couple miles from the finish. It was a good hat for 2 seasons. Not the best, but for 13 bucks it took a lot of abuse.
- orange mud bladder pack
- hydroflax soft water bottle (cupless race)
- No sunglasses (relatively shaded course, had a wide brimmed hat. Difficult visualization of rocks through leaf litter in speckled shade with shades on.
Lastly I need to give a big thank you to Cyd for running an awesome race with me all day and Elicia who was an awesome crew.
Crewing for a runner has got to be even more unrewarding than crewing an endurance ride – you literally get to see your runner for 2-3 min as they dash through an aid station. Also want to give a shout out to the trail maintenance that this race management did. I trained on these trails and saw the work that went into them JUST FOR THIS RACE. Some of the trails were completely impassable during training because of the amount of overgrown star thistle.
Now it’s your turn
What questions do you guys have? Ask me ANYTHING. No subject too taboo, or weird, or seems-obvious-but-can-you-still-explain-it? I swear.
I could go on and on about what I did for food and elytes and pacing and my mental game and recovery etc., but there’s other places I can record that for my future self and I really just want to cover stuff that you guys are interested in or are curious about. I’m definitely not an expert, but I can share what’s working in this one rat study.
Leave questions in the comments and I’ll do a post in a couple of days to a week depending on how quickly the questions pile up (even if there’s only one question, I’ll post on it in a week, I promise!).