>After running on Saturday I was able to realize how far I have come. From training, to recovery, I feel like I have most of my bases covered as I enter the final phase of my training for Western States. In fact, after looking at pictures from the race one of my biggest concerns is figuring out how to look cute while I run. So I’m not doing too bad. My goal is a sub-24 hour finish at WS, (well, let’s be honest, sub-22) and I do not want to give myself any excuses. I want to prepare as well as I can in the next 8 weeks so that I have no room for blame. When I toe the line I want to feel as if I have done everything I can to prepare, so on that day I can relax, and concentrate on just moving forward and nothing else.
Of course, one of my main concerns (as always) is nutrition. In my past few races I have survived on loads of fluids and electrolytes and Gu. After the finish, I can sense that my blood sugar is low (mostly the dizzy/nauseous feeling I have) but after a handful of chips or pretzels I bounce back quickly. While the Gus are enough for a 50 miler or 100K, I doubt that they will help me survive 100 miles. Or at least if they do, it will not be a pretty sight afterwards (and that might disrupt me looking cute in the pics afterwards). So, I have 1 ultra and 1 half-IM distance race to find something more substantial that doesn’t make me vom or poo. First try will be Ensure (vanilla). I have had this at races before, but I have never felt like I needed it. However, I think I will be able to get it down, as long as I can keep it cold. I will also try pringles, as these seem to be relatively okay with me on a long run. Finally, I may try to get some soup at the NF50 and see how my stomach does with that. If those options do not play out well, I will be forced to try something new at WS, and just pray.
If anyone out there has suggestions for things to try on an ultra, please let me know. I have tried pretzels, sandwiches, quesadillas, candy, etc, but nothing seems to be appetizing. That’s what makes me think I need to go for some sort of nutritional supplement drink.
Next thing I need to work on is being comfortable carrying loads of water. I do not like to race with a douchebag on, as my back gets tired and they get hot really quick. However, even just carrying one water bottle makes me want to cry when I’m at the end of a 50 and I’m doing climbs. The plan for WS is to carry two bottles, plus have a spare in a mini douchebag thing made by Nathan. I will attempt the 2-bottle carry during my long runs on the AT this weekend, and then most likely try to race with it at NF50.
All in all, as I iron these two things out and get in my long runs the next month or so I am beginning to feel ready. I put in about 35 miles since the race, with about 50 more coming this weekend. Unfortunately, with all this running I am not able to get on my bike outside much yet, but I will try to squeeze that in on some week nights coming up as well. My hope at this point is that the strength I am building from these long runs will ultimately pay off on the bike as well.
We shall see.