Tuesday, November 20, 2012

End of the Old, Start of the New

Running the last race of the season is a bittersweet event for me.  I’ve been truly blessed with a great year.  I was injury-free and have had only one race I would consider “bad”; and that turned out to be a 50-mile PR, making “bad” a relative term.  My 2012 races:
I know.  Three lousy races.  I am hardly king of the trails.  It is kind of weird, but I take those races pretty seriously; fuel for my type-A personality.  Afterward the transition can be kind of abrupt:

Spring-Summer-Fall schedule
  • 5:00 am: alarm goes off
  • 6:30 am: get out of bed
  • 7:30 am: endless miles, lots of hills and stairs
  • Remainder of the day: eat like a horse, complain about my aches and pains, fight the dog for the best sun patches, take some vitamin-I and go to bed
And then it ends: The Winter schedule
  • 10:00 am: no alarm necessary, I can set my internal clock to “sloth”
  • 10:30 am: do a few squats and core exercises until I get bored
  • Remainder of the day: eat like a horse, complain about my aches and pains, fight the dog for the best sun patches, take some vitamin-I and go to bed
And plan for next season.  I like to up the ante and then regret about it later, and am faced with the choices of trying to improve speed, distance, or course toughness.  I choose the first two for next year.  I’ll save Superior for the following season.  Chicken, I know.

A New Diet – To help me to take it to the next level, I am considering a change in my diet from non-existent, to low carb/high-fat.  The intent is to convert myself into a “butter burner” after about a two week transition.  I read a great book called The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.  Zach Bitter introduced me to the concept on his blog; the science looks sound and the concept just makes good sense to me.  I may also start adding Vespa to my training and racing nutrition.  Maybe.  I’ll wait until AFTER the holidays though; fudge truffles will be impossible to resist.  My main purpose trying this diet:
  • Steady flow of energy by tapping into an “endless” source of fat-based fuel, instead of the rollercoaster ride that is carb fueling.
  • Better mental clarity by reducing central fatigue – I’ve read that bonking comes at a time of battle between your brain and muscles for your depleted glycogen reserves.  Since you need those muscles to outrun the lions, your brain attempts to perform at a reduced energy level.  Kind of like my laptop.  Bonking may have something to do with aromatic amino acid uptake as well (whatever that means).  I’ve always felt that if I could eliminate one challenge from running, it would be central fatigue.  I’ll take tired muscles and an upset stomach before I start feeling like I want to pass out.  Mental morass just sucks.
  • Reduction of CO2 in my bloodstream – Seems that when exerting yourself in strenuous exercise, C02 can accumulate in the bloodstream as a byproduct of lactic acid buildup due to carb metabolization, reducing your blood pH, and placing yourself in a state of hyperventilation.  This has happened to me a few times and has been incapacitating (blog post).  Fat burning causes less lactic acid to build up, and thus less CO2 in my bloodstream.  This is my second choice for elimination.
  • Quicker Recovery – Burning fat causes less metabolic stress than burning carbs.  As I get older I am finding that the tough runs are harder to bounce back from, causing me to reduce my training volume immediately following.  I’m lucky if I can do a 70 mile week.  To do well in a 100 mile race, I think I want to increase my training volume, which means I need to recover quicker and more thoroughly.
  • Sour cream, butter, cashews, coconut oil, bacon, eggs, cheese, cream, lard, …
Which gets me to the races I want to do next year – For some reason I get great comfort from running the same races year after year.  I’ll try to force myself out of this rut a bit next season with a race longer than I’ve ever run, and one shorter (and hopefully faster) than usual.
  • Kettle Moraine 100m – This will be my first 100 mile race, and I think I’m ready for it.  The race is run in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine in WI; trails I’m very familiar with and love (blog post).  The biggest challenge, I think, will be getting in the long runs though the winter months.  Training starts in February.  Brrrr.
  • Afton Trail Run 50k – I just love this race and cannot fathom a year without it.  I did pretty well last year (blog post) and hope to hit those hills even stronger next year.  The big challenge will be recovering from Kettle Moraine in time for this race.  Is 5 weeks enough time?  If not, this turn into a fun run.
  • Hartman Creek 25k – This race has been on my radar for a few years now.  I took my kids camping here a few times; very nice.  The trails are nice and flat and well maintained.  This should be a fast and fun 25k, and I can take my family camping to boot.
  • North Face Endurance Challenge 50m – This will be my fifth time running this race and I’m ready to be done with it.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a fun race, but it is getting expensive and I think I’m outgrowing it a bit.  It is flat and fast and beautiful; and I have some unfinished business (blog post): namely a sub-8 hr 50 miler.  This race is at the same time of year as Superior, with which I hope to replace the following year.
  • Willow River 10k – Just a low-key, fun and hilly race on my home turf.  I train here every week and enjoy my unfair local advantage.  Plus it is pretty cheap and supports a good cause.
  • Surf the Murph 50m – I really like this race, after I’ve (kind of) figured out the course.  If I can stay on the course I can do pretty well here (blog post).  Plus it is close by, relatively cheap and becoming an end-of-the-season tradition.
Should be fun!


martykc said...

Nice schedule for 2013. We will see each other at our first hundos. Your 2012, while it had 'only' three races, were very competitive. Nicely done. I look forward to seeing you at Kettle!

stillwaterrunner said...

Fantastic Marty! Two hundo virgins. It will be fun. I'll look for you there.