Monday, April 20, 2009
While it didn't turn out the way I would have liked, I really can't sneeze at the results of my attempt at the Virginia 24 Hour Run for Cancer. When you do endurance sports for a long time you end up in this sort of rarified atmosphere. When you hang out with folks who do this sort of thing all the time you end up in this sort of rarified atmosphere. "What do you mean you only got in 18 hours of training this week? Lightweight!" That sort of thing.
I was reminded of that today when co-workers asked how the race went..."Oh, Ok..I didn't do as well as I had hoped. I only made it 16 hours and 60 or so miles." Blank looks, quiet faces all around. "Only?"
I wanted to go back to the race this year and try and better my last years milage and use the event as a sort of lab for getting used to dealing with my feet and blisters and what not. After 25 Ultra marathons, 15 marathons and some Ironman events, I'm starting to have foot issues. Odd. Well...things change, we change. Adapt or stop. Stop is dead. No choice...figure it out.
Got into VA on Friday with Mary Lou along. Her schedule cleared and she was able to come along which made me feel just aces. Her presence and attitude and kindness help me see just how lucky I am to have found her. Made the race easier, too.
Saturday Morning comes early at 4:30. Break camp and get some food down walk over to the race start and set up an aid station. Food, fluids and the aforementioned Blister Kit, extra clothes, shoes and odds and ends.
After a brief talk by George Nelson, the RD, in fine Ultra fashion, at 7:03 he says "Go!" and we are off.
Things go well at first and I'm running 5/1. Run five minutes and walk one. As the morning is cool I feel cool and smooth. I hit the marathon in under 5 hours. The day warms up into the 80's which I am NOT prepared for, having had nothing but 50's and 60's here for weeks. 50k in 7 hours. The next 50k will take 9 hours. Despite pushing plenty of fluid, my pee is the color of 10W-40 Motor oil. It takes awhile to get it back to pale yellow. I'm able to remain chipper though...how can you not? It's a warm, sunny day, whatever distance you go is good and my baby is there every 3.75 miles when I go by the aid station. Besides, as I always say, "Any day you wake up on this side of the dirt, it's a good day!"
Steve Kirby, the RD for the Double and Triple IM, drops by for a howdy and it's good to see him.
At dark out come the head lamps and well...it must be me, although lots of folks complained about their head lamps. The LED kind? No shadows. Almost impossible to see the tree roots on the trail portion as they blend in well in the flat light. I stumble a number of times.
At eleven PM I'm not feeling right and sort of weaving around a bit...but I got what I came for. Blister experience. I pull the plug and feel bad about it afterwards, but with Ironman and then the Triple in the fall, this was not the year to push it. Other fish to fry.
Now the Lab part:
I began the run with feet that I had body glided very liberally, covered with Injinji socks and then covered again with Thor-lo. Wore the Brooks shoe. The night before I used New-Skin to cover blister prone parts of my feet. At 50k I was getting hot spots on the balls of my feet. Stopped. Peeled everything off and took a look. Nothing. No blisters, but developing hot spots. I covered them with 2nd skin and tape. The remaining 50k they gave me no problem. I did have two blisters develop. One on the sole of my left foot which popped on it's own and didn't bother me anymore and another on the heel of my right foot UNDER the callous! Not bad then but it's sore today! No blisters on any toes and that I think was because in the Injinji toe socks.
I changed socks every three hours, tried powder once to soak up sweat. (didn't work)
A little more practice and I'll get it. The next long run I'll try pre-taping to see how that goes. All the experienced loooong distance ultrarunners I know seem to swear by it. Also tried Compression socks (CVS $14:95) Post race and for the drive home. They did seem to help with leg soreness and my lower legs do feel better than they normally do after an ultra. Drew up a "foot map" on getting home to keep track of what happened to my feet and how it was or wasn't fixed...that's it above.
Eating and drinking went well..at the 12 hour weigh in I was down by 2.5 pounds. (8 pounds or 5% would have gotten pulled from the race. 4.5 pounds or 2% would have been enough to hurt performance.) Ate well and even had a P&P break at 50k! (Pepsi and Pringels)
Thanks to George for a great race. Kudos to the male and female winners. (120 and 82.5 respectively)
Now, if I can just shake this cold!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
You know the adage...An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?
A year ago I ran the Virginia 24 Hour Run for Cancer...but I didn't make it the whole 24 and pissed off at 11 hours and 52 miles...due to blisters I couldn't manage. I went light on the prevention, because I'd been running 50k and 50 miles with no problem....but as I've found out, blisters cannot be told what to do or when to show up. What works fine now might not the next time...
Long story short, At 48 miles, at the pit area (It's a loop course) I felt some hot spots on the balls of my feet...told myself I'd take a look at the end of the next lap...by the time I got back I had full blown blisters...big juicy suckers right between my metatarsal pads..Yuck! Toes too. Both Feet. That was it...done. I tried a fix but on the next lap it was obvious it wasn't going to work...things were getting worse...lesson learned. Be Prepared. A lesson I should have NEVER forgotten.
After picking up a copy of "Fixing Your Feet" and reading a lot about blisters and what causes them, this time I'm ready. I'm a master at Hydration in long events but still get nailed from time to time. This time I'll be more diligent with my fluids and electrolytes, dehydration being one reason for blisters. My blister kit weighs close to 3 pounds! Pads, tape, ointment, needles, duct tape, mole skin, Body Glide, Vaseline, 2nd Skin...you name it. This, and practice about what works and what doesn't in the prevention department as well as methods to deal with big blisters and keep moving...
This year...this weekend, as a matter of fact, I'm going down to do the event again. As I do with any distance event I have no expectations. Start at 7 this Saturday morning and just keep moving till Sunday Morning...Currently working on the ipod for the wee hours. Red Jump Suit Apparatus, Neil Young, David Bowie, Midnight Oil, ELP...new U2. Eclectic tastes.
NB: When Baden Powell was asked for what Scouts should "Be Prepared" he replied:
"Why...any old thing."
See ya next week with the event report!