We’re coming up on 5 weeks out now. Over the next 3 weeks we have a 40K and a 50K LSD training run and then we start tapering 3 weeks out for our Rocky Raccoon 50M.
My knees, specifically the tendons on the back of my knees are being a bit of a bother and have been off and on since our inaugural entry into Ultra territory 6 weeks ago. I’ve been using voodoo witchdoctor stuff, i.e. CBD oil as both an ingestion and a targeted lotion. Does it help? No way to know without a time machine to go back and not use it.
Will I be able to go 50 Miles in Huntsville Texas on February 9th? No way to know without a time machine to go forward to February 10th and ask myself.
Some days 50 miles doesn’t seem out of the question, other days it seems and feels pretty daunting. I know people that have done 100 miles, multiples, I even know by second runner (same thing as a second cousin which I just made up) people that have gone 200+ miles in one session.
But take for example our 30K run this last Sunday. We started off well and had some really good negative splits on the back half, hitting 9 and 10 minute miles for the latter half. To put that in perspective my best 5K time is 8:50 (ish) minute miles. (Remember I weigh around 60lbs more than the next heaviest ultra runner I’m aware of). So hitting 9’s after already having run 15 miles is for me an accomplishment.
Last night at midnight I did a 5K, Race into the New Year by Runners World in Tulsa, with an average of 9:14. I didn’t feel like I had much more to give at the time. A race at the end of the day is not the same as a race first thing in the morning.
After the 30K run did I have another 32 miles in me? Sheesh consider that statement. I ran 18 miles as a training run but will be running 32 MORE miles after that point in 6 weeks. That’s when it becomes rather daunting. At the end of the 30K I was feeling okay but not really a ‘let’s do another 32 miles’ kind of way.
The results of our training runs are focusing my pace plans for Rocky and as they should. I’m using the data to dial in what I think is a sustainable run / walk pattern for 50 miles.
A problem I have is the first time I go for a new distance I make the same mistakes. Set a goal time that’s only really obtainable under optimal conditions – nutrition and hyrdation perfectly on point, well rested, well motivated and in the right mental place. Go out too fast and literally, almost, crash and burn around the 2/3rd mark as a result with blown quads or calves suffering from major over-stress cramping.
I’ve mentioned it before but this time my primary goal time is 14:59:59, my secondary goal time is under 14:00:00. As long as I finish the race by coming in under the 15 hour cutoff that’s my goal.
To give us some slack I’ve calculated our personal cut off times for every aid station based on flat distance with a 14 hour finish time. This gives us an hour’s leeway. It doesn’t take into account terrain or darkness because I have no way of really knowing any of that. The best I can do is say, on average, we need to leave aid station X at X:XX o’clock in order to maintain our goal time. I know we’ll get some extra time on some splits because the terrain will be easier and I know we’ll lose some time on some because it’ll be harder or in the dark. Overall though I have a chart of times for all 14 aid stations including the start and finish.
Which is another thing, we’re not going to count miles, we’re going to count aid stations. We’re going to count up for AS’s reached on the first lap and then count down for AS’s left on the second lap. I think mentally that might be some minor boost “We’ve knocked out X of these things, go us!” early on and “We only have X more to go.” on the back half.
Another thing to look at is no matter what we finish, as long as we finish it’s a 50 mile PR for us. As long as we run more than 31.5 (ish) miles it’s a PR for distance. And as long as we run longer than 8 hours it’s a PR for time. And it’ll be the first race in Texas, not really a PR but it is a first. So that’s 3 PR’s we are likely to walk away from Rocky with.