Let the race season begin!!!

Well, my recruitment to go to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is throwing a small monkey wrench in my race plans for the summer so I decided last week to "drop" myself into a 50 mile trail running race on May 3. Luckily, my son's soccer team has a bye that week (I am his coach) so I took full advantage of it by signing up for the Collegiate Peaks 50-miler in Buena Vista, Colorado.

Yes, 5 weeks of training to a 50 mile trail race. It's doable, trust me. I have decent base and just need to get my mileage up and get on the trails. Speaking of which, here's how my training has been going so far...

During the week of March 17, I fit in a 17.6 mile trail run in Arizona which took about 3'14" to finish and followed that up by a 17 mile road run on Easter (I ran from my wife's sister's house back home). Felt pretty good aside from my little achilles tendonitis I have been battling since last October.

This week saw a busy schedule at work so I was only able to get in 2 weekday runs. Yesterday I had to drive down to work to give a Nutrition Periodization presentation to a group of National Olympic level coaches at the Olympic Training Center. Then, I zipped back home to coach my son's first soccer game (my little stud scored 4 of our team's 5 goals and had the assist on the last goal-yes I am a bit proud!), came home to make some dinner, hang out with the kids, help put them to bed and then the fun began!

Much to my wife's surprise, I suited up for my long run at 8pm Saturday night. She had a momentary lapse of thinking I was crazy but I politely reminded her that we have been married for almost 12 years and have I not always been like this?! She was of course cool with it and I do my best to try to spend as much quality time with my family as possible. Hence the long run beginning at 8pm on a Saturday night!

My plan was to go out 6.5 miles to a state park that I live close to then come back up to my house, fill up fluids and continue on. However, I was feeling so good on my first out that I kept going and ended up turning around at 10 miles. The night was absolutely beautiful. No moon but a sky full of bright stars. Just me and nature which is absolutely heaven for me! I was armed with my Petzl headlamp, 2 hand bottles filled with First Endurance EFS drink with their Pre-race (for a little caffeine!), a couple of Carbboom apple pie gels (yum!), my cell phone and of course, some toilet paper (you never know when you will need that!). I had to stay low on paved and dirt roads because I am not that stupid to go on the trails at night by myself! I know I have some loose screws upstairs but I am not crazy! :-)

Prior to leaving work this week, my colleague who is a PhD exercise physiologist wanted me to try loading with sodium citrate (a buffering compound used by athletes that is supposed to buffer lactic acid) before we started giving it to our athletes so I loaded starting at 1:30 on Saturday. Off to my run under the Colorado stars and I found myself clipping off miles faster than I had imagined and with a lower heart rate. Hmmm, maybe this sodium citrate really works! I finished my first 10 miles averaging about 7:15 pace with some good climbs and noticed my heart rate was 3-7 beats lower on these climbs where I was really trying to open it up to test out the sodium citrate.

I turned around at mile 10 to head home and sucked down a gel. In the next 5 minutes my stomach began to let me know that that was not a good idea. My body and legs still felt unbelievable but my gut was a bit upset at the introduction of the gel. A quick bathroom stop in the bushes helped but it was still a bit uncomfortable during the last part of the run. At mile 19.5 my body began feeling fatigued. Well, really it was more my joints (time for new shoes!) and my achilles as I still felt like I could run fast but I listened to the body and slowed down to about 8:15 pace.

23 miles and 3'15" later, I rolled up to my front door, did my dynamic exercise cooldown and headed straight to the kitchen for some post-workout food. As you can imagine, I was starving at this point so I went straight to my pre-made First Endurance Ultragen drink (by the way, the best post-workout drink I have ever tried!) and poured it over some Honeycomb cereal. Yes, you read that right! Mmmm, mmmm was it good! Then off to a bowl of Fruity Cheerios (with vanilla soy milk this time!) and my belly was finally satisfied at almost midnight!

Upstairs to take a hot shower to put my uncontrolled shivering at bay then slipped on my compression socks and floated into bed for an anticipated 6 hours of sleep before my kids pounced on me!

Here's my nutrition scoop during my run:
40 ounces of First Endurance EFS drink with 1 scoop of Pre-race in each bottle
1 Carbboom apple pie gel

24 ounces of Ultragen with Honeycomb cereal
Fruity Cherrios cereal with vanilla soy milk

And I can't forget the 2 cups of water at about 3am when I woke up very, very thirsty!

What a great start to my 50-mile trail race training! Until my next long run...

Coach Bob