Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Buffalo Run 50 - 1st 6.24

A successful first race of 2013.

Nutrition, training, and Hulk Juice were they keys to a successful day on the island.

Leading up to the Buffalo Run I felt like I had dialed in my training by integrating tempo and metabolic efficiency runs into my weekly routine.  But I also knew I had to race exactly like I trained, something in the 7:30/mile range was well within my reach.

The morning was very cold to start but like many times before I knew I'd warm up as long as I kept moving at a good clip.  As I stripped off my final layer of warm clothes at the car I heard Jim yell "GO" and just chuckled as I sprinted toward the start.  I was only about 20 seconds late so I hustled through the pack to the front.  Already there was a light bobbing way up ahead the first hill and based on my breathing I knew I shouldn't chase.  I actually felt kind of funky before the race and through the first 10 myles, just seemed like I was working way too hard to maintain a 7:45 pace.

Threw this picture in because Nicole snapped a good Juan

Even though I was working harder than I wanted early on, I also reminded myself that all the 3500+ climbing is done in the first 15 myles of the race.  So I finally settled in around mile 8 as I started the split rock loop and light from the sun started to expose the landscape.  I let gravity take me downhill and felt very comfortable with a 6:11 mile and that took my average/mile back down below 7:40.  I had one water bottle with me, filled with 1/2 flask of EFS LS and then another flask tucked in my shorts.  A total of 600 calories for the first 20 myles, which ended up being around 250 calories/hour - exactly like training.
Nick Pedatella telling me to jump in the lake if a Buffalo chases me

I came through the start/finish area and I noticed the fellow in front of me was coming back, little by little.  I didn't speed up, just maintained, and by the time we hit 20 myles he was behind me.  With the hills behind me I concentrated on getting my average per mile closer to 7:30... 7:31, 7:25, 7:22, the miles started ticking away and surprisingly I was feeling stronger.  I ended up going through the first half of the race in 3.11 and just hoped I could maintain.  Only problem was that I was going with the wind through Lower Frary on my way to the Ranch and knew coming back into the wind would not be fun.

Finally at the Ranch aid station, my father in law helped me with my drop bag in which I had a special potion called "Hulk Juice".  I poached this recipe from Cameron Dye and had tried it a few times in training. 1 scoop Pre-Race, 1 scoop EFS Grape, 1/2 flask EFS LS Berry, and the rest water.  I wouldn't say it makes running late in a race easy but it helps me focus and get into a rhythm.  I feel like I can push harder and dig deeper.  Even though I did not look forward to going back into the wind I had a chance to see where everyone else was at.  My best guess was that I was about 12 minutes ahead of second place at mile 34.

Coming back with the Hulk Juice starting to kick in
Knowing that gap made me push harder.  And with the Hulk juice starting to do its work I was maintaining my pace into the wind: 7:45, 7:31, 7:34, 7:26...  Although I knew my work was still cut out for me because I had made a bet with Karl - best 50 mile time +15 minutes to Karl.  I knew he put down a 6:30 something but not sure on the exact number during the race.  At any rate, I knew I was cutting it close.

Rick had been following me around the backside offering support and then my wife and kids showed up to cheer me on.  Then I came around to the front side of the island and saw my parents with my brother - man this was like home field advantage for me.  I was motivated all the way around the island and never once did I bonk or get low on energy.  But deep down I had to get that dreaded monkey off my back from the last time I ran this race (I took a couple wrong turns and lost the race with a 1/2 mile to go).  Not this time.  6.24:19, 7:41 avg - a 50 mile PR for me by 20 seconds.  Second 1/2 split was 3:13 so I was pretty steady all day.   btw - I ended up losing the bet to Karl by 3 minutes.  Race Results.  My Garmin
Up the fence line to the finish

A little fist pump as I yelled "No wrong turns"
Couldn't be happier with this result.  I feel my nutrition for the past 3 months played a huge roll in how I felt late into the race, concentrating more on nutrient dense food as opposed to carbohydrate dense foods.  Coupled with metabolic efficiency training and, of course, Hulk Juice - this race was a success.  And if it couldn't get any better, I sat around with a group of friends afterwards and shared a bunch of beers and stories.

Thanks, as always, to my family and extended family for their love and support.

Jaxon and I at the finish with Myles purple hat at the bottom
Here is my nutriton for the race:
2 EFS Liquid Shot flasks - 1/2 flask diluted in 20 oz of water x 4
2 EFS Liquid Shot flasks - full strength (nipping every 15 minutes in conjunction with water bottles)
1 bottle of Hulk Juice - 1 scoop Pre Race, 1/2 flask EFS LS berry, 1 scoop grape EFS + water
handful of bananas
Ultragen post race

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Racing again

The last time I toed the line was at UROC 100K last September.  I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that I was not in the right place mentally and physically to be there.  But like most athletes I love to compete and could not turn down an invitation to race on the East coast.

Fast forward 6 months and I am here, ready to compete.  Physically and mentally.  I took the better part of those 6 months making my core stronger and didn't force any training.  I wanted it to be "organic", as some people would say, and run what felt good.  I have skied more than 30 days this year, skate skied a dozen times, and did my core routine every morning.  The cross training been refreshing to say the least.

January is when I really started to pick up more of a running routine by adding two tempo runs each week along side my metabolic efficiency run and tempering each with a heart rate monitor.  But most important were those easy/recovery runs in between where nothing mattered except breathing, pumping the blood, and pumping GodSmack into the brain.

What I've seen is my heart rate go down while my pace picked up.  Here's an example:  My metabolic efficiency run consisted of a 15 mile trail run -1200 ft of climbing- with no calories in my system and only 90 calories (in the form of EFS drink) during the run while keeping the heart rate around 140 bpm.  Here is the progression:

  • January 7th - 8:21 pace (avg 140 bpm)
  • January 16th - 8:20 pace (avg 140 bpm)
  • February 1st -  7:59 pace (avg 137 bpm)
  • March 18th - 7:45 pace (avg 139 bpm)   
One important thing to point out about these numbers is that once I incorporated tempo stuff twice a week (2nd week in January), I became more efficient at a faster pace while the heart worked at the same rate.  Common sense.  I believe in speed work for ultra runners.  I don't like to be hooked up to the gadgets but I've become used to it and feel I am training smarter, not harder, because of it.  Over the past 3 month build up to The Buffalo Run I have been able to put in 740 myles (Jan 245, Feb 305, Mar 190) and continually feel stronger. I firmly believe this has everything to do with my off season strengthening as well as balancing easy and hard workouts.  

My goal was to be able to run a 7:20 pace for 5 hours leading up to this race while keeping the HR under 150.  I didn't quite get there but I did put down a 7:24 pace for 4.40 with HR of 148 - almost!  SO if I stay within my limits on Saturday I know I will lay down a good time.  Not gonna make a prediction because if I do then mother nature will lay down something nasty of its own.  

HUMRs will be in full force Saturday

I look forward to seeing all my friends and sharing a few beers!