Five days to my first competition of the season and boy am I worried! I firmly believe, and preach, the saying, “if you are not nervous, you are not ready” and while I am nervous I am just a bit worried about my feet, Achilles and overall lack of preparation. Not to worry though, I’m still charging ahead full steam this Saturday for the Collegiate Peaks 50-miler.

I have significantly reduced my frequency of running in the past 3 weeks to try to allow this heel blister I have to heal and it has been working as it is almost gone. I ran virtually pain-free yesterday but running two times per week hasn’t done much for improving my physical and mental preparation for the race this weekend. I have a 23-miler in my bank along with about 4, 19-22 milers so I have some decent mileage but never got the 30-miler that I had hoped for. No worries, the first loop of this course should be okay. The second loop is where I get to see what I am made of!

Here’s a recap of the weekend:
Saturday: prep bathroom flooring to put down a new floor, coach my son’s soccer game (it started snowing at halftime!), drive fast to the Bicycle Village Triathlon Expo to speak about performance nutrition, hustle home to lay primer on the bathroom floor and have dinner with the family, play with the kids, get the kids ready for bed, hop on the PowerCranks for 20 minutes, work a bit and finally put my head on the pillow at 10:30.

Sunday: up to make a special breakfast for the kiddos (chocolate, chocolate chip, cinnamon, oat, flax pancakes-yum!), get ready to go to my niece’s first communal, over to the bro-in-law's for the post-first communal party, race home to get in a 22-mile trail run before the sun went down.

Whew! I get tired reading what I just wrote! Anyway, props to my wife for “allowing” us to leave the family function early so I could get my run in before bedtime. She is unbelievable and is the most supportive person EVER! I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without her!

To my run. I loaded again with sodium citrate 5 hours before my run and headed out my door about 2:45pm to do the same course I did last weekend to try to better my time with my normal nutrition routine. I felt very tired (in fact, I slept for about 5 minutes on our 15 minute drive home from the family party) before my run and wasn’t too motivated. Nonetheless, I made it out the door with two bottles in hand and two on my body. I felt very heavy with fluids slushing around everywhere and didn’t really have a good feeling about the run. Fast forward 23 minutes to my transition from dirt road to singletrack and it was night and day. Once I stepped foot on the singletrack, it was like another athlete showed up. Proof that my home is on the trails! I ascended the 1500 vertical foot climb up to Carpenter Peak 30 seconds faster than last week and felt good, even with all of the extra fluids I was carrying. Throughout the next hour of descending some gnarly switchbacks and narrowly escaping some close calls with mountain bikers coming at me, I was feeling really good. I was running up stuff I had to walk on last week and was just attacking the climbs one after another.

After I dumped out at the top of Waterton Canyon, I took a small photo break to flip some camera-phone shots of four bighorn sheep (to show my oldest who is a wildlife lover) and proceeded down the 10k canyon, averaging 7:10-7:20 miles. It felt as if I was floating on top of clouds most of the time. No bonking, no dehydration, no nothing. It felt great up until about mile 21. I could practically see my house and then the feeling of “I really have to go to the bathroom” hit hard. I had to walk a few times but there was luckily a bathroom within a stone’s throw so I made it, did my thing and finished up running uphill to my house feeling good.

Ran into the house, gave a virtual hug to the kiddos (my daughter said I was too stinky to hug), mixed up a bottle of Cappuccino First Endurance Ultragen and ate a Vegan Chocolate Chunk Baker’s Breakfast Cookie and went out in the backyard to teach my oldest how to swing a golf club (he's such a natural athlete as he picked up the golf swing very quickly!). Then I donned my very stylish pair of black compression socks, of which my wife always makes snide comments, to help with my recovery.

My legs are tired but not as tired as I would expect them to be after a 22 mile run. By the way, did I mention that I finished this run 27 minutes faster than last week? Yeah baby! My joints are a bit “tender” which is an indicator that I haven’t been putting in the miles but I expected that.

Overall, it was a very productive weekend but now I understand why I am feeling so tired! J

Here are some take-home messages from my long run:
1. Sodium citrate loading continues to be unbelievable.
2. I need about 20 ounces of fluid every 50 minutes to ward off dehydration.
3. I need to lube the entire bottom part of my foot and in between my toes to offset the friction I get on long runs (I use a product called Hydropel).

4. I love being on singletrack enjoying nature!

Looking towards this week, my blister will hopefully be okay so that will not be an issue. My broken foot from last year feels as close as it will to being healed although I will still keep an eye on it and I will try to get 1-2 short, on-dirt trail runs in before Friday. I've been wearing some "beefier" shoes to protect the bottom of my foot where I broke it last year which, while they are a bit heavier, seems to be working. My Achilles seems to be doing much better since I added the heel lift in my shoe, decreased my run frequency and am running more on dirt now. It’s not completely gone but I think I can hold it at bay, at least for 25 miles.

Only time will tell what will happen this weekend from mile 25-50! Stay tuned for my next entry after this weekend and don’t wish me luck. I don’t believe in luck. I believe in physical and mental preparation. I’m about 70% there on the physical side and about 90% on the mental side. I’ll hold it together, just wait and see!

Until next time…

Coach Bob