I ran 40 miles in the past week. The winter olympians in South Korea inspired me. My longest run was a personal best (non-race) distance of 22 miles up river from Sacramento, north toward Auburn, where my next race will be held on March 3rd. I will rest my legs between now and then, and focus on my diet and yoga. The #WTC Ultra 50K looks to be a great challenge for me again this year, as I got poison oak while hiking in Winters and could not do much hill work. As in 2017, I am not prepared for the steep ascent midway through the trails. No matter! What I love about the ultra is how it tunes me mentally and spiritually, and to endure physical pain. This tuning benefits me in myriad facets of life.
ultra (run 4 life) part 3
I thanked Davin profusely and he went on to help another runner who needed him. I got inspired by all the runners passing by with words of encouragement. Then I was able to help an older man who needed a strip of K-Tape for the pinched nerve in his neck. I brought some in my wristband. I would see him and Davin again, eating BBQ in the village at the end of the race, and we would be all smiles and gratitude.
The trail leveled out, thank god, and we came up on the mile 21 aid station, only ten miles to go! The sun came out (despite forecast for afternoon rain) and I grabbed some tasty broth and an energy bar and sat myself down in the grass for several minutes to catch some rays and thank my lucky stars (with a prayer) that I had survived the wall!
|finish line 2017 wtc50k|
The next 5 miles was like one long even cut in the side of this mountain, overlooking lush foothills and the canyon. They call this area ‘Auburn Lakes Trails’ and what with the sun peeking out of the cloud cover this afternoon, the river far below us, it was magical! All our climbing paid off. The pain I felt earlier was replaced by an inner calm, and a woman named Lydia stopped to give me her own special cocktail, two Advils and a Tylenol. She said ‘they tell you to stay away from the NSAID’s while running, but i say fuck it’ and we both shouted ‘fuck it!’ together in one burst of comradery before she flew on past me up the single track. I was gonna take my time getting home.
run 4 ultra (run 4 life)
This was a trail run through the American River Canyon, with river crossings and over 4,000 feet ascension, and my first major ‘norcal ultra’ event. I was very excited for a whole lotta fun and adventure, and the only problems I faced leading up to the event were poison oak and heavy rains in January and February in Sacramento where I live and train, which caused the American River to grow and grow, and some of my runs had to be cut short due to trails and water fountains I relied on being deluged and underwater!
|K before the 50k|
What an exciting winter -2017- watching the drought in our region come to a muddy and verdant conclusion! The same could be said of my run.
I arrived with my boyfriend by my side in the little town of Cool, and we parked the VW and met up with my brother by the starting line (along with 999 other runners) where the little ultra village was setting up. I realized I had forgotten my inhaler and found the medical tent where a very kind lady (one of the volunteers) decided to rescue me with her own inhaler, which she ran off to get from her car. She would be the first of many volunteers who stood out for me this day, and without whose support I never would have finished the race. I am grateful to them all!
|famous wtc frog cupcakes|
We took a couple pics and I did a little dance on a snapchat my brother recorded for my nieces to enjoy, and before long I was off with the second wave, running down the access road past our little cheering norcal family assembled there on this little hill, heading for the muddy canyon trails. I was wearing my New Balance Leadvilles and my Run the Parkway shirt from last November’s 20-mile run in Sacramento, which was my first ever race. I hit a wall pretty hard in that race, then made it through the CIM (one month later) without a bonk (my first road marathon). I had to wonder, was I headed for disaster today, or another strong and even finish?
after Tosh stopped filming, i surprised him by coming around the other side of the police car, where we had a sweet embrace. see how the heart prevails over that which is sacred? sometimes nothing can get between the love we have for one another.
My staple diet for the 4 months of training consisted of oatmeal, peanut butter & jelly, pan-fried tilapia in olive oil, garlic, shrimp, tunafish, honey, granola, fruit, fruit juice, wheat bread and pasta, lots of tomatoes, cup of noodles, all the V8 juice combinations, bananas, oranges, muscle milk (which i found tasted pretty good mixed with hot coffee), tea, broiled turkey/chicken with veggies, jamba juice, spinach, eggplant, salad, almonds, quinoa, almond milk, salads, eggs, sweet potatoes, soups. On weekends after long runs I often treated myself to the stuff I cut out: pizza (cheese), chicken wings, hamburgers, steak, butter, bacon. So I could get the cravings out of my system once in a while. I also took B-complex and multivitamins every single day, and sometimes those green tea extract pills.
I usually start my day with some oatmeal/granola and honey and fruit, maybe some brown sugar. And a thermos of coffee/tea mixed with almond milk. Then I will snack while I’m at work on apples and oranges and granola/protein bars. After work (I work a nightshift) I will fry eggs, sometimes a whole wheat muffin, garlic, onion, ketchup (sandwich). Rest for an hour or two before my daily run (unless it’s summer when I have to get on the road/river early. After my run it’s a good idea to have some protein of some kind within the first half hour, otherwise hydrate through the day, fruit juices, water, granola bar, jamba juice. When I wake up at night before work, I might broil chicken or fish with veggies, or pan fry in olive oil. I rarely do both the big breakfast (eggs) and the big dinner (fish/meat/pasta) on the same day when I am training. I don’t need that much food unless I ran for over a couple of hours. I substitute something smaller, soup/salad/oatmeal/tunafish/pb&j, in lieu of one of those meals. This is what works for me.
The week leading up to a race, you wanna hydrate and carb-load religiously if you can. Meaning small meals several times a day, keep drinking water. I found that eating well makes me feel good, running makes me feel good, yoga makes me feel good, so I would just remind myself of this! It makes sacrifice and effort a whole lot easier when you see the bigger picture. You are a star! You are so healthy! You are the lean, mean, running machine!
All I can say is I am 43 years old and probably in the best shape of my life. I rocked 26.2 miles and got a ton of love from spectators, family, friends, and other runners. I spend countless hours along the most beautiful river in northern California, which I otherwise might have wasted online staring at a computer or worse. And I have a huge sense of accomplishment which carries over to confidence I have in everything I do. Now if that’s ‘crazy’ – please – make me insane!
I try and keep things simple or minimalist: no watch, no headphones, no camelbacks while running. Garmin makes watches which track your pace and heartbeat and distance and many runners have them, but you don’t need them if you’re concerned only with having fun and finishing, not with racing. It’s all up to you. A flipbelt will hold up to 10 GU gels around your waist, which is all the energy you need for 26.2! You can keep stuff in a wristband, too, including S-caps and even powdered supplement mix or gatorade in a plastic baggie for when you find a water fountain. I used GU Roctane during the marathon, which has sodium, caffeine, and extra amino acids. I also took S-Caps (salt and potassium pills) to keep safe from dehydration. My method was 1 GU every 40 minutes, 1 S-Cap every hour, for 5 hours. Just before my long runs, I drank a bottle of water mixed with Apex pre-workout mix (1 scoop) and Old School’s ‘Vintage Blast’ pre-workout (1 scoop) in lieu of GU. During the marathon I drank water and/or gatorade/nuun at every aid station, approx every 3 miles. When training on your own, you must find water fountains or hide a water bottle ahead of time, if you do not carry water. Don’t go more than 6 miles without fluids! Bananas and oranges were offered along the CIM course and I always took them.
Your energy level will go in waves! When tired, shorten your stride and ease back on your pace. When energized, I say go for it and pick up the pace. Listen to your body. If you suffer runner’s knee or other joint pain: KT-Tape is the bomb! Use it. Carry it. Negative splits are better than positive splits! Meaning run the first half slower than the second. I hit a wall hard after running 10min miles for the first half of my first race, which was a 20 miler one month before the marathon. My natural pace is 11 min/mile, but I had a lot of adrenaline and was pushing hard. I learned quickly the dangers of the positive split. My legs were so tired by mile 16 I could hardly continue on. But experiencing this wall over the next 4 miles was probably good for me, because I learned how to run on tired legs and finish.
You can discover your pace by knowing your distance and time, checking the clock before you set out and after you return. Just subtract any time you took for water/bathroom breaks. You can easily map out your route distance beforehand by going to google maps, right clicking your mouse and selecting ‘measure distance’. Then you divide your total minutes ran by total distance ran, to get your pace. It’s that simple. I found that I consistently ran a natural pace and could chip away at it on shorter runs.