What the eff happened??? (Rio 2018 3×3)
|November 14, 2018||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
What happened in 2018 can be boiled down to this very simple thing:
If there was any doubt that just getting out the door and running made a difference, I’ve just learned that lesson. The table above compares the Dec-Oct period of training for Rio 2016 versus Rio 2018. Rio 2016 I had a fabulous race and I felt well physically prepared. Rio 2018 I was just holding on and trying to make it….which didn’t happen.
I started out the 2018 year in physical therapy knowing my shot at 100 miles was very very slim. I had “bench mark” runs that I needed to hit in order to be on track for the July Tahoe 100 mile attempt. It wasn’t until March that I could run pain free and I straddled the line between pushing my body as hard as I could, while also trying to not re-injure anything.
All my bench mark runs were long distance runs which is why I think the top of this chart looks pretty good. The trade off for hitting the big distances is that I had to rest A LOT. Fully recover, let little niggling things heal – which meant I didn’t do a lot of the “bread and butter” 30 minute runs that usually grace my training schedule a couple times a week. I erred on the side of extra rest and I think I needed it.
It was also a tough year to carve out the training time with all the PT visits and doctors appointments for the meningioma diagnosis. My family needed extra attention from me. This was probably what affected my “off-week long runs” – the 10-19 mile runs I do on weekends that I’m not doing my REALLY long runs. I run 20 miles or more every 3-4 weeks, with a 12-15 mile run filling in the other weeks as the “long” run.
When you run ultras it’s easy to think that those 30 minute runs don’t really matter. I knew they were good for my mental health, which is why I did them. But if you had asked me whether they contributed to my overall training….nah. After this season, I think differently.
- Many of those 30 minute runs were just easy 30 minute runs that probably contributed to the about of base and reserve my legs had during races.
- I’m most likely to do a 30 minute run when I’m running from home – which means pavement. I did a LOT less of these runs, which means a lot LESS pavement running this year. How much did that affect me for the first 19 miles of (pavement) bike path in Rio?
- Speed work also gets done in these 30 minute runs. As you might have guessed, that didn’t happen much this year either. The lack of leg speed was noticeable during races, even though the endurance and climbing parts of my races were just fine.
I did what I could this season – 4 months of functional running to train for a 100, then turning around and having another 6 weeks to prepare for another. It’s a miracle I got as far as I did, but I had to try. The good thing is that the difference between my 2016 and my 2018 season isn’t a matter of running longer more often, it’s just getting out the door and getting the everyday work of the short runs done.
Enough season review, onto the Rio 3×3 (yay! My favorite part!)
Many of the Good things from this race are repeats from earlier races this year which is a Good thing. Even better, some of these are things that used to issues. It means I’m Learning my lesson and then retaining those lessons. Amazing!
Good Thing(s) #1: Lumping all the past lessons learned
- Daily disposable one-use contacts – comfortable all day and night. Zero issues.
- Motorhome on site. Still the best way to go if I can possibly make it work.
- No chafing – zero chafing at any event since I discovered Squirrel’s Nut Butter
- Crew – Small, experienced crew. No drama, efficient, effective.
Good Thing #2: 2 lights
Even with a new, very bright headlight, having a second handlight makes all the difference in the middle of the night on a single track technical trail. Actually, it makes a difference in how fast I can run without feeling mentally fatigued on a nontechnical trail too! If there is going to be night running, I need to plan on doing 2 lights. This was probably a major mistake at Loco 100k – relying on just a headlight to try and make time in the dark on scree covered trail.
Good Thing #3: Ummmm……I had fun?
o_O. I didn’t get injuried? Ummm….I lasted long enough to see a second sunrise?
I got blisters. For the first time. It was absolutely because I spent so many miles (hours and hours and hours) hiking as hard and fast as I could. It’s also my shoes. For some reason the SpeedGoats cause increased friction between some of my little/middle toes. It’s happened enough times now (had to tape toes about 30 miles into Tahoe) that I’ll preemptively tape toes before races while I’m using these shoes. Some of the blisters along the back of my foot occurred because I padded the heel cup to keep pressure off of my achilles. That was a success, but the edge of the foam I used was enough to chafe over 80+ miles and I ended up with wounds on my feet around the back of my foot that looked less like blisters and more like open raw wounds. OUCH. Next time I’ll use a shoe horn to stretch the top of the heel cup to try and accomplish the same thing with new shoes prior to races. I also have a couple of months to figure out whether there’s another shoe model that will work better. The SpeedGoats definitely aren’t working as well overall as my old Challengers. A new version of the SG’s are coming out next year, and I may try Altra’s again. Their redesign looks very different from the shoes I tried several years ago and hated.
Remember that “lesson learned” at Tahoe ? Apparently I didn’t quite learn it, as evidenced by the fact that I did not take a jacket with me into the night at Rio. I was totally fine until I couldn’t move faster than 20 min/mile. And then I got cold. So cold, it was actually factoring into my decision of whether I could safely go on and reach the aid station where I could be officially over time. The aid station had an emergency blanket would it gave me and saved from an (even more) miserable hike into Rattlesnake.
Here’s the truths I need to remember for next time.
- It’s not cold…until I slow to a crawl.
- It’s not cold when I’m crawling…unless I’ve run over 50 miles and I’m tired and my body is fatigued. WHICH IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF RUNNING INTO THE NIGHT DURING A 100 MILER.
- Being cold really really sucks.
JUST BRING THE F*CKING JACKET.
So much ibuprofen….
Taking ibuprofen during a race is really bad. I’ve tried acetominophen which is marginally safer and it doesn’t work. So, back to ibuprofen, which far from it’s “Vitamin I” status in marathons past, has many risks if used during running (and here’s another). I don’t (EVER) take NSAIDS in training. But in a race? Ugh. It helps if I’m having a rough race. Sure, I should have trained better/more, but that is water under the bridge by the time I’m in the middle of a race and things aren’t going well. Yes, it’s a sort of cop out. It’s wimpy. It’s dangerous. Just because I used to do it way back when before we knew better doesn’t make it OK. But it’s really hard to not fix something that’s hurting.
I started taking 400 mg of ibuprofen 4 hours into race. Usually when I’m in this situation this is the difference between being able to run for the next 3 1/2 hours, and just being able to walk. This was the first time that taking ibuprofen didn’t actually help that much. Like, probably as much as a placebo. But, I was trying everything else and THAT wasn’t working…so I kept taking it. 400 mg (2 of the regular OTC tablets) every 4 hours. And then, near the very end when I was pushing and trying make time I went ahead and took 800 mg. It didn’t make a damn bit of difference.
So will I finally be able to give up the ibuprofen crutch during race after this experience? I hope so.
I sucked at recovery
It took me THREE days to fix my hydration status. I really don’t like drinking anything but water. I probably should have drank something by water. Which was supported by the fact that when I gave up and started drinking various electrolyte and recovery drinks my hydration status corrected itself.
Next time I need to do something else in the first 24 hours beyond sleep, drink water, and eat food. I need to reconsider how/when/whether electrolyte drinks have a place in my training and recovery. In my every day life I don’t drink sweetened drinks. It’s one of the basic tenants of my “eating philosophy” that isn’t necessarily helping me to run ultras. I’ve got some thinking and experimenting to do.
I Dunno Yet…
There are two things that I’m not sure I should put into the good or the bad category.
Was not having a pacer a mistake? Or a good thing? Right now I’m pretty sure I didn’t need a pacer for this race and it would not have changed the outcome. I really liked being able to 100% focus on myself. I never got lonely at night even though I ran at least 90% of it by myself. I knew the course very well so there was never any concern that I was going to get lost. A pacer may have been able to keep an eye on my pace better during the long 30 mile loop in the middle of the night, and kept me from making the mileage error going up to the Overlook. A more even effort at the end of that loop may have allowed me to hang on for another aid station…but I keep coming back to the fact that I never had the legs at this race, not even at the beginning. It’s hard to think I could have hung on to a finish within the allowed 30 hours that weekend, no matter who I did (or didn’t) have at my side.
On a course I don’t know, I think a pacer is really useful. (I’m thinking of you Ashley, at Black Canyon!). Not getting lost in the dark and having them help spot the night markings is invaluable. I’m not sure about a familiar course like Rio.
Time spent in Aid Stations? I flew in and out of aid stations. It was an amazing effort between my awesome crew Aurora and myself to make it happen but it doesn’t get to go into the “good things” category because I’m not sure that less down time was a positive thing in this race. I think it was inevitable at this race given how slowly I was going on the trail, but it isn’t necessarily a goal for all my races. Ideally I would have spent a little more time resting and recovering at the aid stations once I entered the last half of the race. So….yay that I can do it if I have too….but I’m already very efficient in the aid stations and unlikely to linger, so no need to take a good thing too far.
There it is – my Rio 2018 3×3. Well, really a 2×4+2…but whatever. I’m eager to run again and about 8 days post race I probably could have done an easy run, but the massive and deadly Camp Fire about 45 minutes north of me is playing havoc with the air quality and my emotions. So many of friends – my tribe – have lost everything. I’m so sad and I feel so helpless. I visit and bring flossers and socks and a hug but it’s so inadequate. Not being able to be outside to run and ride just makes it worse (you can’t help others if you aren’t taking care of yourself also). Anything I start to type right now to try and express just how sad I am for my friends in that area just ends up sounding self-centered (my grief over the situation isn’t the important thing), trite (my deepest condolences on your loss), and melo-dramatic (It’s so freaking bad. Worse than anything I thought I would ever see outside of a movie), so I’ll stop now.
For those of you not familiar with California, I’m in no immediate danger (well, unless I decide to go running in this 300+ AQI), and do NOT live at an urban-forest interface. So despite this massive fire being close-ish, it would have to burn through 2 more major towns in a flat valley and possible hop a river to get to me.
‘Til the next time I find the time and motivation to write a post. This blog is about to turn 10 years old in a few short months and I appreciate each and everyone of you that has stuck around to listen to what I have to say over the last decade. Now go and do the small things today day that lead to your big dreams – like a 30 minute run that apparently does help you run 100 miles some day, or rebuilding your home when there’s nothing left and today’s step is merely figuring out where you can do laundry.
I’m bummed for you that you didn’t get your finish (but super-glad that you won’t lose your existing WS tickets). But that’s an interesting evaluation you did of how much the “little” training runs really do add up and contribute.
Funny timing, I was just reading through my Black Canyon write-up yesterday. Even now, I can look back on that and go, “Yep, we are slightly crazy.” Weather aside, I seriously enjoyed pacing you through that experience, though.
I really enjoyed having your company at black canyon. That was definitely a situation where a pacer made a difference and you had exactly the right knowledge set to be helpful! Looking back it was insane what we accomplished in that weather and mud. It’s on my bucket list to go back and do it on a “regular” year. It was so freaking beautiful.
Hang on, punkin. You know we’re all here cheering for you, when you finish and when you don’t.