Monday, November 06, 2006

I can count to 10 now!!!

My last race of the year happened just last weeked. Autumn Leaves is more or less a road race really. After all, there is only about 1.3 miles of trail on each five mile loop. Man do I look forward to that section each time around!!! It is 10 loops of five miles each.

Why do I do this 50 miler? Three years ago it was because I used it as a qualifier for States. But now I just run it because it is only about 10 miles from where I live and it is another way to see friends for the last time at the end of the racing season.

Weather for the day was predicted as rain all day. It would not hold true. Thank goodness, I ran in the stuff from start to finish the year before.

Race... Well, the plan was to run 9:00 minute miles in the begining. That went down the toliet right away as I ran with Mark and Brad running 8:30's. I knew that was a bad thing but did I fall back? Heck no, I am not smart enough to do that. Did I pay for it? Heck yea, terribly. I set up an aid station on the back of my tailgate of my pickup in the morning as I would pass it 10 times during the race, hopefully. 10 handhelds, 20 GU's, two bottles beans would do.

At mile 20 I could feel my stupidity. I was feeling the effect out going out too fast. I slowed terribly. I looked at my split chart that a friend made for me and I was ahead of schedule, not where I really wanted to be mind you. I would get to the second aid station and Sarah introduced herself to me. Very nice. I decided to use the GU they had and would do this throughout the race. One of mine, two of their's.

At mile 30 I felt like a slug. Time to change plans. I grabbed my i-pod just like 90% of the other runners. I liked this. Listening to nothing but Techno from here. I felt like it helped me go faster but I am sure that was an illusion.

Everybody would exchange a wave or grunt of encouragement the next 20 miles as the race continuted. Gotta love the grunts at 40+ miles. At 41 miles I would loose my lunch for the first of four times. Status Quo I figure.

I stopped looking at my watch long ago. At mile 40 I did catch a glimpse of the start/finish clock and it said 6:56! Crap, that means an 8:30 for the day. I was bummed. I knew I had slowed but that slow? I just kept going, eating and drinking. I have to admit, I was ready to be done. That darn pavement is hard. I got to the aid station and I see Sid but no Sarah. Maybe she called it a day? That is fine, she was out there a long time. It was good to have her help.

I take a picture with Olga. Heck I don't mind stopping. I already through the race in the toilet the first 20 miles.

I come around the last lap and a 50k runner passes me the last 100 yards. He is happy. Sorry dude, doing the 50 miler. I finish. I am glad. My feet hurt.

Low and behold Olga says the clock was for the early starters. Cool. I finish in 7:34. My 7th PR of the year. I ran this in 7:59 last year.

The race... Was a struggle for me. But it was nice to finish and be vertical.

And the best thing... I didn't loose count like the year before!

I have learned to count to 10!


Sarah said...

Congrats on the PR! It was nice to finally meet you. I can't believe how much GU you ingest. Do you eat anything else?

Yeah, I had to leave at one. Next time I'll make sure I can stay to see everyone finish!
: )

mtnrunR said...

I had two Pediasures and one can of baked beans. Pediasures at mile 10 and 15. Beans at mile 20. Planned on eating beans at mile 35 but that wasn't happening that day. Can't eat solids very well if running hard. GU is all that works. I eat 300 calories an hour minimum. I was probably eating 450 calories an hour. That is why I got sick. Not nauseated mind you... Just the stomach couldn't process that many calories an hour. I also had 7 S-caps. (don't do E-caps, they are a waist of time!)

Oh, a nice cold Pyramid Snow Cap at the end! Had to give Olga a Mirror Pond Ale. Hope she liked it.

See you at Hagg!

olga said...

Tom, that beer saved my wet freezing ass! thank you! You ran a good solid race, and you seemed to be coherent and optimistic all the time, despite the signs of pain. Congrats on yet another PR - get used to them, man:) Now time for a bit of a break, like a couple of weeks would freshen you up - especially after 50 pavement miles. Next year will be a blast for you, i can see it!

backofpack said...

Hey - that's cool that you met Eric! Did you recognize him from the pictures on my blog?

Tell me about the S caps. Eric uses Ecaps successfully, but they make me feel sick. So does gu and gatorade. Right now I'm working off Sharkies and zipfizz. During this last marathon I also ate a nutrition bar and I was so hungry at 19 that I ate half a multigrain tortilla with pnut butter. Neither one bothered me, but I could still use some nutrition tips.

Congrats on a great race and a PR! Those PR's that sneak up on you are the best. Again, thanks for introducing yourself to Eric and maybe we'll see you at more races!

Rose said...

Wow - great pr! I am so in awe of those of you who do these ultra events.

Thanks for the input on my injury issue - you had a couple of points I haven't considered yet.

mtnrunR said...

As for Gatoraid...

mtnrunR said...

As for food during an ultra, it is like shoes, we are all different and you need to do what what works for you.

Michelle, yes, I kinda knew who your husband was from other races and did confirm it with the picture in your blog.

Food again... Basically, the body can only process about 300 calories an hour. Less when it it is super hot because the blood is shunted away from the stomach and is more on the surface of the skin for a radiator effect. The blood is cooled on the surface to keep the core cooler thus protecting vital organs like the brain and heart. The stomach can wait.

But I use beans early on in a long ultra (i.e. 50 miles, 100k, or 100 miler) Lots calories, tons of sodium and some protein along the way. Pedisure for great source of Potassium and still more calories. Easy on the stomach. Heck they use it for babies, can't be bad for an old guy like me.

Ultra drink... I can drink most anything. Why? You don't have a choice in races. You have to use what they have. So, I just look at it as a mental thing. Really, the only drink I don't really like is Heed. But even that I will drink religiously during a race. Drinking water will not do. You have to drink electrolytes.

S-Caps... Well they have 341mg of sodium. Plenty. The body can process 600mg of sodium an hour without exercise. So, it is hard to take in too much sodium in a race. E-caps only have 40mg of sodium! Why waist your time when you have to take 7+ E-caps per hour? Just doesn't make sence. Plus, they are like fricken horse pills! Also, S-caps have a buffer in them for the stomach. I am not sure that the buffer completely works for nausea but that is fine. Sometimes you just get nauseated no matter what. Also, S-caps and E-caps are about the same price per pill. But since you have to take 7-8X the amount of E-caps to S-caps you are paying 7-8X the price!

So, let's do some math... I took 24 S-caps in my last 100 miler. How many E-caps would I have had to take? 204.6 to equal the amout of sodium in the S-caps! That's like haveing two bottles on ones self while running... Aint happening.

Again, do what you need to do as far as nutrition goes. We are all different. Some eat burritos, PB&J, Soup, turkey sandwiches, GU only, it doesn't matter. The only thing I know is you can't drive the car without gas in the tank. You have to take in calories because you are burning so many of them.

I use any electrolyte drink and any "GU" product. I use Crank products because it has 150 calories a pack and 150mg of sodium per pack. That way I can count to "two". After taking two an hour that equals 300 calories and 300mg of sodium an hour. Almost perfect with the electrolyte drink. The only bad thing about Crank products is the taste and variety. The taste sucks and the variety is minimal. But I just look at the math. It is simple and that is what I need. I can count to "two". Heck after last weekend I can even count to 10 now. Yea!

Good luck! Do what works for you!

backofpack said...

Wow Tom, thanks for all the info! I've had a very touchy stomach for the last four years - it's still bothering me but seems to be slowly recovering now that my gall bladder is gone. I have a hard time getting anything down that has made me sick before - but I can use the numbers you gave me and find something that will work. I'm sending Eric over to read this tonight!

Sarah said...

I came back to see your response to Michelle. Thanks for the great info! I use the S-caps too, but I've never really worked out how many calories I should be shooting for. Thanks!

mtnrunR said...

More on Sodium intake...

Some people think that if their fingers swell during an ultra they are taking in too much sodium. Not true. Finger swelling is a bad gauge. Hand swelling would be a better gauge.

Most likely if you are swelling it is because you are taking in too LITTLE sodium! Really. You need sodium to process the water in the gut. Hyponutremic, not a good thing. Look at the lady that died at Boston two years ago. She took in nothing but water for 23 miles and collapsed. She took in NO sodium! Her body couldn't process the water! Look at Brian Morrison at last years states! Same thing. (although he was taking in sodium, it was just darn hot! 85 degrees still at midnigt!)

So, again taking in some sort of salt is a good thing. Remember if you are eating potatoes and dipping them in salt that is only 40% of Na. Sodium Clhoride here. So, table salt, crackers, pretzels are fine but they too don't have enough for finishing a long ultra.

Nausea is a puzzle. Some use crysalized ginger to help. The just drop it in their water bottles and it slowly dissolves. I have used ginger caps from a health food store. Ginger ale is another alternative. Clem LaCava used Pepto tablets at States. That worked for him.

Don't have an answer for nausea. All I do know is that it will eventually go away if you take care of yourself. Maybe slow down. Do a checklist on your eating and drinking.

The other thing, is your training up to snuff for the distance? I found getting ready for my first 100 that the added training fixed all nausea issues in every race. Now I don't get nauseated. Yes, I still get sick at times but that is only because I am pounding too much food or it is hotter than what I am used too. (Yes, heat training helps but that is another blog.)

But really, I don't think anybody as a direct answer for nausea. Bummer.

hope to see you at a fat ass this winter. I will probably go to the Capital Peak fat ass in January.

backofpack said...

Tom, again thanks for the info. I'm going to have to experiement a little. The medications I'm on are going to dictate how much potassium/sodium input I can take - too much or too little will mess with my heart. My heart's response to heat will probably keep me from running any distance races during the summer months - I did do my training during the hot months, but would start at 5 am and be done by 9 - way before it gets hot around here!

You've given me a lot of info that I can use to find the balance that I need - thanks!

robtherunner said...

Nice job and way to cap off the year with another PR. No doubt there will be more to come next year.

Anonymous said...


I personally avoid all electrolyte drinks on the course. Seems to me if I'm taking E-caps I don't need more electrolytes. The electrolyte drinks usually taste like camel piss and end up upsetting my stomach. Why do you drink them?

I usually have a mix of concentrated Hammer Products Perpetuem (six scoops in one hand carry) that I drink before I hit water/aid stations. That’s three hours worth at 260 calories per hour. I supplement with whole-wheat peanut butter tortillas and snack on potatoes w/o salt and bananas.

I definitely need to try s-caps before Seattle Marathon. I took 23 E-caps during Autumn Leaves. I was afraid someone was going to mistake me for a pharmacist.

I'll conclude by saying thank you for introducing yourself at AL. I look forward to seeing you at more runs. Great job at AL; even with your self proclaimed fast start you did very well. I typically go out too fast in every race I run but this year I ran with "Slug" for the first two laps which helped set the pace for a very comfortable finish.


Pixie said...

Congrats on the PR! Great race. :) Reagan

Ben, aka BadBen said...

Good job!

JeffM said...

Those are mind boggling distances for me!! I was planning on doing the Autumn Leaves 10K, but didn't preregister and it sold out. Next year. I'm planning on working up to a half marathon or full marathon next season- 50 miles- wow!

stephruns said...

Reading your story I thought "Boy, bad race for tom"...hehehe....until the end!

YOU got an PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marty said...

Thanx for the advice, mtnrunr! I'm not quite ready for the big boze!! But again, I tried your advice, and it works!! Huh? You got a follower! Great race report!!