It's less than two weeks until the Pinhoti 100 Mile Race, and heavy training is over for our trusty Race Team members Lee Wilson and Beth Meadows. Let's get a current status check on them, shall we?
LEE: Less than three weeks out from this 100-miler. I'm typically not one to do more than bullet point write-ups because I typically delete emails much more than that (be it from an old boss or current vendor). It's probable that mentality will haunt me come Nov 4th!
Yet, as I take on this endeavor, I feel a few more bullet points are pertinent. If you've been reading along the past few weeks, I don't follow a specific training plan, but I feel like I'm 87% physically ready for this race and anything over 51% anymore is great news. Mentally, we'll see. I haven't run this much since college, and luckily, I've stayed injury free throughout even with more road running than I would've liked to do. As great as Nashville is, if you haven't noticed, the traffic has increased so it's much easier to run from the front door than spend an hour dealing with the worst drivers I've ever seen on my way to a trail to get miles on the dirt.
These past few weeks I've been able to hit 80+ miles/week three of the last five and four of the last nine. I'd never hit 80 in my life prior to nine weeks ago. Like most of us, I'd always like more of a base and more miles/week but the hays in the barn at this point. Injury free is key, and I'm tired so the taper over the next couple of weeks will hopefully make me feel 15 years younger. Every morning I wake up...sore, need more coffee, aches...rinse and repeat. Going into some of the bigger, for me at least, training days is always a drag for me, but I've been pretty happy with them -- a couple of 20/10 runs where I'll do 20 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. Those have gone well and running on tired legs for the 10 has hopefully made me stronger. This past weekend I did 40 on Saturday and 17 on Sunday. With the continuing humidity I was pleased with both runs.
I ran with Beth for the majority of both runs this past weekend and tried to really hone in on nutrition during the 40...using what I'll use race day...GU Roctane Energy Drink with 250 calories and a combo of Spring and Huma gels. I took down a PB&J and some jerky to mix it up and all went well. My main focus on the 40 was to run slower and try to stay at an 11+ minute pace, which happened. It's difficult to run at a pace that isn't my typical speed because it works so many different muscles and parts of the body hurt that I haven't utilized in years.
As for gear, for shoes I'm going to end up starting the race off with Inov-8 Parkclaw shoes...they've got more cushion than I typically use, decently wide toebox and great grip. I love Inov-8 shoes, although I'm a bit worried I might need a bit more shoe than the Parkclaw provides. At some point in in the race I assume I'll want pillows under my feet so I'm going to have the Brooks Caldera on reserve, if needed. I've used that Caldera on the back end of my 20/10s and the plush feel has been nice. As you might know, I've trained with the Salomon 5-set pack and that pack is money so that'll be my go to. I hate wearing a pack especially in the TN heat...just something extra to make me even hotter than it already is...but, it'll be needed for the majority of the race, if not all. My shirt and shorts will depend on weather...maybe sleeveless shirt with arm sleeves if the weather is cool.
I say cool weather, but I'm going in to this race assuming it'll be 85 degrees with high humidity, I'll have 15 blisters, I'll puke 10 times, need a full roll of toilet paper, and want to quit after mile 10. So, I'm preparing for that the best I can. I hope it's cooler weather...snow would be great. If it's warm, I'll start out very slow, hike more than I'd like, and stay on point with hydration. I've tried not to overanalyze what the past Pinhoti runners have done and dive into where I should be at a certain mile because there are so many variables in a 100 it won't help me to do so. That doesn't mean I haven't listened to tidbits of recommendations from ultra finishers. I'm throwing the competitive nature out the window for this bad boy unless it's me vs Karl Meltzer coming around the track at the end...then it's elbow to the ribs...circa 1999. 99.9999% chance I won't be near the top, let alone beat Karl Meltzer, but if, by chance, it happens I can guarantee he won't out kick me!
One thing I didn't do months ago but wish I would've started is lift a few weights. The goal wouldn't have been to gain mass but build a bit of muscle and feel stronger going in. I've only been on a weight training plan once in high school and it seemed to work for me. Some runners use weights, some don't. To each their own. Same as runners and yoga...if you feel like it helps you and you remain injury free then do it. Maybe for Georgia Death Race, if I qualify, I'll get back to the gym.
I'd also like to point out that I'm not throwing these brand names out because I have a store and like to sell their products. Over the years, I've had multiple brands ask me if I'd like to race for them with their gear and I've declined. I like to rep NRC and those that support us. Maybe someday I'll sell myself back to the MAN!
BETH: Well, I never thought I’d be the shorter-winded of the two in this friendship/running partnership, but Lee summed up everything really nicely. My “current status” is tired. And sore. And did I mention tired?
I can’t believe it’s less than two weeks away. I’m simultaneously underprepared and ready to go. I haven’t put in the super long runs like I intended, but I’ve hit a handful of 80+ miles. I was able to get in 35 miles of red loops (some with Lee, one glorious one with Scott Bennett) followed by 16 the day after. That topped off an 88 mile week which is the highest weekly mileage I’ve ever hit. However, the week after, which was supposed to be another high mileage week, I hit a whopping 28 miles. So, I’ve been more inconsistent than I’d like, but it is what it is.
A couple of good things came from my long weekend which gives me hope and a little bit of comfort:
- My ankes held up pretty well. After 35 miles, you’re going to feel your feet at least a little, and with my past history of ankle mishaps, that’s always the case for me. I could certainly feel some twinges, especially in the OG hurt ankle, but it was definitely an improvement from years past.
- I finally found my race day shorts! Short liners are the bane of my existence as nothing can bring you to your knees quite like chafing from your liner. Luckily, it’s Oiselle to the rescue with their Stride Short of the no-ride compression variety. This seems pretty unimportant, but it’s something I’ve been worried about during my training.
- My nutrition and hydration plan is as dialed in as I’ve ever had it. GU Roctane every 10 minutes with a Spring Energy or Huma gel every 40 minutes. I didn’t bonk once during my 35 miler which is HUUUGE since I would bonk on 15 milers with Lee earlier in training.
- The Altra Lone Peaks are still the best shoe for me. The 3.5s threw me off at first with a seemingly higher stack and slightly less wide toe box. Coming back from ankle surgery, my proprioception has been off, and the more “minimal” shoes have been better at compensating for that. However, for the distance, it doesn’t get better than the Lone Peaks. I’ll start with those and have an extra pair or two in the car.
- Other gear will include: Balega socks to start, Swiftwick 12s in the crew bag, Salomon 5 pack, and Petzl Nao headlamp. Food will include: Little Debbie cakes, clementines, grapes, chips, and Cheetos.
I had a stellar crew going into Pinhoti last time, and I have an equally awesome one lined up now. Phil, Jobie, Jess, and Jobie are all skilled and knowledgeable in the art of ultras and crewing, and if something good and magical happens next weekend, it’ll be because of them. I’m lucky that they’re willing to give up their weekend to come schlep around in the Bama woods for me (and thank you families for letting them come!).
My race day strategy is threefold: Conserve, Struggle, and Survive. Finishing is the only goal; digging deep into the pain cave and coming out the other side is all I want to do.
NRC: Enjoy the taper time, guys, and good luck!!!