Monday, May 21, 2007

The Bad, The Ugly and the Good

This post will be about my workout two weekends ago and my workout yesterday, thus the change in the traditional order of the title:

The Bad and The Ugly
Last weekend I did some long training at White Rock Lake. I normally start my long walks around 4:00-5:00 am, so I get many of my miles out of the way before the sun comes up and it starts to heat up (I would say most weekends I'm finished by 10:30 or 11:00).

This weekend I had to start later, around 9:15 (we had our first Team in Training training session that morning). I did three loops of the lake (including an out-and-back on the spillway) so about 10.25 per loop. First loop 1:59, second loop 2:09, third loop 2:36 (last few miles were a death march, 16:00 - 18:00 minutes per mile, and that time does not include pauses to rest or vomit/dry heave).

I thought I was drinking a lot (I carried two bottles and I drank at the water fountains from time to time). I stopped at my car every loop to refill my bottles, drink a bottle of Yoohoo (a member of the North Texas Trail Runners introduced me to that and it is so good!) and eat some potato chips. I also used three packages of Clif Shot Blocks (I don't think I'll do that again, they made me queasy and I felt like I needed to belch or vomit but couldn't) and two Succeed caplets every hour. I don't think I ate enough because of mild nausea and lack of desire, a result I think of the Clif Shot Blocks and HEED, which I can tolerate in cooler weather but which makes me sick to even think about in warm weather.

After I finally stopped I couldn't keep any water down for a few hours (anything I drank would come back up a little while later). After I finally had some food I started to feel better and could eat and drink without problems. But I was sooooo tired, more tired than I ever remember being after any races I've done. That afternoon and evening I had the worst leg cramps of my life (and I don't usually cramp). I had them in both calves, causing me to scream out in pain. It was not very fun.

I posted this information to the e-mail group for the North Texas Trail Runners and got lots of advice, most of it conflicting. The two things that stuck out were that I probably had too many electrolytes, not too little, and I probably shouldn't push so hard this early in the hot season. My body still needs to adjust to the heat.

The Good
This weekend my wife and daughter went out of town so I took advantage of their absence to do my last long training walk before FANS. On Saturday while I was shopping at Central Market I went to their prepared foods area and bought some macaroni and cheese and a twice baked potato. I also bought Gatorade and more Yoohoo. Finally, I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I got up early Sunday and started walking by 5:00 AM. I walked a 3.2 mile loop at Breckenridge Park. Every two loops (or 6.4 miles) I stopped at my car to eat and drink. My goal was to maintain a 12:30 pace for as long as possible since this is the pace I plan to maintain for the first 30 or so miles at FANS.

Surprisingly, I was able to maintain a 12:02 average pace for almost 42 miles. I was slowing in the final miles, but I was slowing to 12:30 - 13:00, so I didn't slow that much. I ate and drank successfully without any sickness, and I felt good most of the time, even when the temperatures crept into the low 80s. I only used one electrolyte cap when I felt some "crampy" feelings in one calf. Other than that it was: Gatorade, Coke, Yoohoo, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, Mac & Cheese, Twice-Baked Potato, Pringles. I always try to eat real food during ultras, so this seemed like a good test of that strategy. Things seemed to go well.

I'm still getting some blisters on my left heel, but I seem to be getting blisters on my old blisters and they don't hurt; I can tell they are there, but they don't bother me. I probably had blisters for 20 miles yesterday, with no issues.

The Rest
I did get some new shoes and they are working well. They are the latest version of the Asics Gel Speedstar (I've used this shoe before and decided to return to it). I wish it had a little more forefoot support, but other than that I'm very happy with it. I'm going to bring three pairs of shoes to FANS; I plan to start in the Speedstars and switch to a more supportive shoe if I feel the need.

So I guess now it's time for FANS. I plan to stick to my normal weekday training schedule this week, then do 10-15 miles next weekend, then no walking all week until the race. I hope we have good weather, that's all that's stressing me out at this point! I hate waiting for the race - this is the worst part of training and racing!