Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Big Cedar Plan

10 days until Big Cedar. My second attempt at running 100 miles. And now, the plan.


First of all, my hope is to just keep moving. No matter what. Just keep moving forward. Trying to compare how I will do is hard. I have never completed a 100 mile race, and comparing any of my previous races does not seem to help me too much. Since I took up running in late 2011, I have PR'd a 5K in 18:30, placed in 2 10Ks and several 5Ks but that means absolutely nothing here. I have fun a 50K in 6:11 and a marathon in 7 hours. If I take a linear regression of my ultra races and apply it, I should run 29 hours but the data in the model has too many variables. A quick look at my major races over the last two years with some variables (excuses).

Pandora's Box of Rox
May 2, 2014
Up and down a granite dome in Central Texas.
Was just getting training ramped up, and this course has my number. Also pretty hot.
July 19, 2014
Deceptively Hilly and somewhat technical.
After a very fast start, the 90 degree temps plus my sucky night running slowed me down.
Hell's Hills
April 5, 2014
Single track with some hills, especially at the end of the loop.
Was barely trained after starting back up post break in January.
The Ranch
June 10, 2012
Granite dome.
I did not know until later, but when I twisted my ankle on mile 6, I tore my peroneal tendon, which would plague me for quite some time - I hobbled (barely walking) the following 12 miles in extreme heat on a granite dome. They also had run out of water and I went to the ER with heat exhaustion.
Rocky Raccoon
February 4, 2012
50 miles
Flat dirt.
ITBS from a run in January lingered. After about mile 2 on, I dealt with ITBS the entire way.

What this shows it is very hard for me to predict based off of my previous trail races how I will do. I have placed top 10 every time I run the Hell's Hills 10K, so I know I have top end speed on the short distances. My times at all of my longer distance races have been slow, but I think they are a little slower than I really am. My final long run was done at a pedestrian pace and I completed 42 miles in 9 hours. That includes a bathroom stop and several stops I had to make to stores on the route as well as CVS and an insanely long stoplight at the trial.  So that is why I have a set of 3 plans for race day.

Where I have been training and doing all of my long runs.

The plan

The Pace:

I am coming into this race more trained, lighter, more experienced, and more injury free than I have gone into any distance race, ever. So I feel like I will finish and I am setting my primary goal around that: 29 hours.
Loop 1 - 6 hours
Loop 2 - 7 hours
Loop 3 - 8 hours (power hike at night)
Loop 4 - 8 hours at most 

But I don't want to feel held to that if I am having a good day. So I also have a "unlikely" goal of 24 hours. If I finish 50 miles in 11 hours or under, I will probably start shooting for this. I also have a final goal of 32 hours. With the recent removal of a final cutoff, if I come close to this, I will finish. 

I plan to pretty much power-hike the hills from the get-go and see where that lands me. If it makes loop 1 take 8 hours, then I will probably want to get moving a bit quicker in loop 2. I plan to have a group text message going with  my pacers and "crew"/loved ones. I plan to text everyone after loop 1 to let them know what kind of pace I am on, especially my 50-75 mile pacer who will start driving down from Austin around noon. 

The Pacers:

I have two pacers:
Mile 50-75: Bryan. Bryan was an intern for me at my work who we recently hired. He has done triathlons and went to a meditation camp in Thailand where he had to sit up and eat only rice or something for two weeks. I expect this to be a night time loop, where I am at my weakest, so we will be hiking and hopefully getting me feeling good enough for my final loop. If I come in from my second loop in under 11 hours, I may want to run more sections of this than otherwise. 

Mike 75-100: Jason. Jason offered to pace in the Big Cedar pacers/runners group. His race results show his race times are much faster than mine which is good. He is experienced enough that I am confident he will be able to help me mentally push through the last lap.

The Nutrition:

The race will have NUUN, which many people like, but it is not one of my favorites. Rob and I have split a contained or Perpetuem and I also will be bringing Heed. I think Rob is bringing some Ensure. 

My plan will be to do the same thing at each aid station and have serving size baggies of my Heed and Perpetuem ready to go:

Fluids Plan:
Aid Station Name
Aid Station Approx Mileage in the Loop*
Aid Station Split*
Powerline Start
Truth Corner 2.0
Water or Nuun
Truth Corner 2.0
25.3 (give or take)

I plan on having Red Bull and Ensure ready to go at the start/finish as well to drink as needed. I plan on getting all of my solids and gels from aid stations, with my dad bringing me food and coffee before my final loop. I hope to mix it up on what I eat for a while with lots of potatoes and salt, oranges, and anything peanut butter. My favorite at Rocky Raccoon was peanut butter and gummy bear sandwiches. 

The Crew

I really am not operating with a "crew" per se. My dad will be dropping me off in the morning, and then I won’t have anyone there between loops 1 and 2, but that is fine. After loop 2, my dad will be there and Bryan will be there ready to pace. My dad plans to come back out between 3 and 4 with breakfast and Jason will be there to pace. My wife is driving down Saturday morning and hopefully my wife, kids, and parents will all be there to see my finish, with my son pacing me the last little stretch like he did at Hell’s Hills. The good thing is the person who puts these races together knows what she is doing and I will know some of the people at aid stations. So even without a full crew, I think I will do fine. Rob will also have resources there and we plan to share as much as possible.

The Lessons Learned

Every year of running has kind of had a theme to it. 2011 was the year to start up. 2012 was a year where I started placing in 5Ks – and even placed 2nd in a large 5K a week after finishing a 50 mile race! I was on fire. 2013 was the year of injury and DNF. 2014 has been about slow but steady training to get back into shape without being injured. I have completed 3 trail races including 2 hard courses and an ultra-marathon. I feel good. I can also look back at my 2013 DNFs and see some lessons:
El Scorcho – don’t start too soon… but was also still injured.
New Year’s Double – was injured… don’t ignore your doctor.
Cactus Rose – don’t wear different shorts then you are used to… that was very bad. And I just was not trained enough to have the will to go on once the chafing started to get bad. Also LUUUBBBEEEE up. I might be the most lubed runner ever next week. Another item is if I don’t have someone waiting on me, it is a lot easier to quit. 

If you see me….

So everyone has different needs and ways they like to be handled. If you see me during the race, please say hi. Realize I am somewhat shy in person (at first, then I don’t shut up) and I might be focused and just grunt at you. When I was running in Rocky and I was at a bad point and obviously limping with ITBS, a lady I do not know told me I should quit. If you are not someone the race has asked to make those kinds of suggestions, please don’t make them to me. 

This guy... but bald.
If I say I want to quit. Always suggest walking/eating/drinking for a while. Remind me I have time. I have felt awful on a run. Usually a good walk break with some fluids and foods gets me right out of it. Hopefully when you see me, I will be laughing and having a good time. But no matter what, I really do well with encouragement.

The Excitement

The House... My life is good!
I will spend the next week and a half obsessing, planning, changing my plans, tweeting, and just being excited. My wife and I were talking about why I want to do this the other night. I think it is because of what my boss said the other day. He said “if you have only run 50 miles before, and only a 42 mile training run, how do you know you can do this?” I don’t. And that is what excites me. So little in life presents itself before me that I do not know I can conquer anymore. I am not in the military any more. I don’t go to work not knowing if I will make it back. I have a job I am good at, a wife and kids who love me, and things are pretty good. If I do ever have trouble that I cannot get out of my family and parents are such a good support system that I really have no legitimate concerns of failure. My career is headed the right direction… but this. This is a challenge. And when I complete it. I will know that every step of the way was another opportunity for failure that I conquered. 

An unrelated note.

You might notice that my old blogs are back up. Some of them. And they did not post in order. For a while I thought I was about to be in a position at work where I did not want certain things to remain out there. That type of position is in my future and I am going to be cognizant of that… but I am who I am. I like craft beer. I am a goof ball. And I have a 12 year old’s sense of humor. I am an imperfect Christian. Some times these things show. I may not keep this up forever, and I may be less likely to write some things I have before, but in the end, I am me.

Always have been a goofball...

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