Next Steps

20140521-202336-73416995.jpg

This morning I was watching the sunrise in Key West, FL. Now, as I’m writing this, I’m in Atlanta for the moment. And early tomorrow morning I’ll be on the road to Wyoming to spend the summer as a hiking guide.

Though it has been three days since I finished the 100 miler, I still feel absolutely beat. My head feels extremely tired and I’ll a want to do is sleep! Since I will be on the move tomorrow, I am not sure when I’ll have time to write my race report. The first moment I get some down time, I’ll put my words to paper.

The long drive will give me plenty of time to collect my thoughts too! I’m still replaying the race in my head and feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. I’m almost speechless as to how to describe the race as a whole. It was such an incredible, humbling, difficult and exhilarating experience.

When I crossed the finish line, I was greeted with a champagne shower, birthday cake and my first beer in 6 months.

I want to thank everyone that has been part of this. Even though we never physically have met, it still means a lot to have people with you along the way. We all have our different goals and it’s wonderful we have such a cool community of runners. You guys are awesome! Thanks for all of the kind words and support!

20140521-203936-74376194.jpg
(About mile 45. Eating watermelon. And this was the first shade I got of the day.)

20140521-203951-74391302.jpg
(After finishing. About to chow on some cake.)

Go Time

20140516-183833.jpg

I’m not sure what my internet situation will be after the race, but if you’re at all interested, here is the link that you can track runners. HERE. The updates are only at miles 25, 50, 75 and the finish.

Anyone else bunch up their numbers before a race? Not sure how I got into doing that, but I do it every time now.

About to munch on my favorite pre-race meal now, quinoa and beans. Then I’ll just try and zone out for a while.

It’s go time boys and girls!

Almost Race Day

20140515-195715.jpg

I’ve made it to Key Largo in Florida! This is where the race will start Saturday morning and we will head 100 miles to Key West.

Right now, it’s pretty humid, as thunder rumbles above. Looks like a rain storm will be here shortly. On the bright side though, the weather looks like it will be in favor of the runners for Saturday. The forecast is calling for temps in the low 80s and winds from 15-20 mph. I believe in the past it has been in the 90s for the race, so we are lucking out.

I’m feeling calm and collected at the moment. Yesterday and even this morning I was freaking out about this colossal challenge. I told a friend that I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around 100 miles. He told me that I cannot think like that. I have to keep my mind in the moment and to break the race up into little pieces. Eventually the miles will be covered, I just can’t think of the big picture or else I’ll just make myself nervous.

Usually it’s me that’s speaking the words of insights, but sometimes I need to be reminded of these valuable lessons.

I am happy and absolutely relieved I’m finally here! Just need to stay off my feet until Saturday and keep my thoughts in the present.

100 Mile Taper

I have finally reached the official taper phase of my 100 mile training. It seems like not long ago I started training for this. And 6 months later, here I am.

I have had some awesome long runs this past month. I took what I learned about nutrition from my last 50 mile race and applied it to my training runs and it has helped out tremendously. Instead of only doing about 200 calories an hour, which is what I was doing before, I have aimed to intake about 300 calories an hour.

Since my last race I have done a handful of long runs. 28, 32, 26, 27 milers. Some of those were fast finish long runs and the 32 and 26 were back to back. Not once did I have a bad moment or “bonk.” And I think that all had to do with my new nutrition goal.

This was the first time I trained with solid food this past month, finding what works and maybe finding what does not work with me. I’m not sure if I was fortunate or unfortunate that I didn’t find something that didn’t work with me. I guess we will find out on race day…

My favorite thing I tried on the long runs were bean burritos. I used canned refried beans and small flour tortillas. They made my stomach feel full and satisfied. And the canned beans were high of sodium which helped with replenishing from so much sweat. I also really enjoyed PB&Js, Oreos, trail mix and pretzels. This was also the first time I used a sports drink too during a long run.

Another thing that I’ve added this past month is an extra off day. Fridays has always been my off day from running. So I can feel fresh going into long runs. And Mondays I have used as short 30 minute recovery runs up until recently. The last Monday I ran, I never felt “that” feeling when all the stiffness and soreness from the weekend runs melt away after about 15-20 minutes of super easy jogging. It actually felt like the recovery run took me back a step, bringing up a few niggles that could have possibility turned into something serious.

With the extra off day, I have felt more recovered. Which I believe has made me even stronger as a runner. And it has aided me finishing up my training feeling healthy and rested. Meaning I’m not injured and not burned out. I’m excited for this race!

Fingers are crossed that my successful streak of long runs continues on into my race. I feel I am in the best shape and my confidence is as high as can be right now. But anything can happen in 100 miles. After the half way point, I will be in unknown territory for myself.

All my long runs are done. I still have a track workout and tempo run to do in the next week. Other than that, just some easy runs for me. I’m so damn ready to run this 100 miler in Key West!

My Next Adventure

20140417-120310.jpg

At the end of May, and right after my 100 mile race, I will be taking off to spend the summer in Wyoming! I will be a hiking guide in the Big Horn mountains for Paradise Guest Ranch. I’ll be close to Buffalo, WY, which is north central of the state.

For the past 4 or 5 years I have really wanted to move out West. The two times that I’ve made the attempt to move, they ended up being long road trips. And any visit in between was just enough to satisfy my desire for the time being.

Most days I spend daydreaming about being in the mountains. And on days where the weather is absolutely perfect, I wish nothing but to be outside rather than in, working and looking out the windows.

Not only am I excited to be living in the mountains but also that I’ll get to hike almost daily. Before I got into running, hiking was a big hobby of mine. Running in the morning then hiking all day seems like best day for me.

The Big Horn 100 course is out my back door. Maybe that will be my next big race I’ll train for…

“To my mind, voyaging through wildernesses, be they full of woods or waves, is essential to the growth and maturity of the human spirit. It is in the wilderness that you really learn who you are. It is facing the challenges of the wilderness that the thickness of your wallet becomes irrelevant and your capabilities become your truer measure of your value.” -Steven Callahan from Adrift

Food Training

Training is really starting to ramp up heading into the Keys 100. I’m very surprised how quickly I recovered after my 50 mile race two weeks ago. I took 3 days completely off afterwards and felt great going into my last phase of training.

I have a lot of long runs this month and aside from covering the distances there are a few things I want to focus on. Since the Keys will be flat and all on the road, I want to do most of my long runs on a similar profile.

Atlanta, has the Silver Comet Trail. Not sure why it’s called a trail because the whole thing is paved. But the cool thing about it is that it stretches for about 62 miles. Even though a lot of it is shaded, unlike what I’ll experience in Key West, it is flat. Most of my remaining long runs will be there to get my legs use to running on pancake flat roads.

This past weekend I did 4 hours there. I did about 28 miles. This run was the first time I ate real food on a training run. Which is the other thing I want to really focus on this month, eating during my training runs. I brought a few PB&Js, trail mix and bananas, in addition to the gels and salt pills that I always have.

I did a bunch of out and backs and used my car as my aid station. I could tell the food was helping keep my energy up and my stomach full, but I will need to change up what I eat. By my third stop, it was hard to get the sandwiches down. Probably won’t a good thing when I’m already forcing things down just a few hours into a race that will take me close to 24 hours to do.

I think I’ll experiment with bean burritos and maybe some chicken broth this upcoming weekend. I have back to back long runs, 32 and 26 miles. Hopefully I’ll find something that really works for me and can be a go-to during my race.

Anyone else eat solid foods during a training run? What works best for you?