As I began June, I was one week into my commitment to run no less than 5 days a week. I had not really set any distance goals for June, just the goal of consistency. I am so pleased that I did not miss my goal of running 5 days, and in fact hit 6 days most weeks. By the end of last week, I was looking at numbers and became very excited at the prospect of actually hitting 200 miles for June.
I felt compelled to make an effort to reach 200, however, Tuesday night running didn't fall into place, so I missed my goal by 10 miles.
My goals for July will remain with the focus on consistency above all else. If I hit my weekly mileage goals, 200 miles will be easily reached.
The big scene this month will be Captain Karl's 60K. While it's a shorter distance than the 50 miler I love to run, I am really looking forward to this race. The terrain will be challenging as it is in the hill country and I am not. Therefore, my training on silly little bumps we call hills here can't truly prepare me for what waits for me there. This race is a night run which will be a good precursor for me to run Cactus Rose 100 in October. I love running at night, I love running trails. I even love running trails at night! What a combination! I've been running some trails here at night with little to no light. I try to allow my eyes to adjust and they seem to do a pretty good job of it. I don't plan to run any races without light, but in an effort to be prepared for a possible light disaster, ie...I forget the light, the batteries die, the thing cracks and breaks...etc, I won't be too freaked out by it all.
This month I have seen a more consistent long run pace and what's even stranger, my tempo runs have become quicker! Last night, thanks to rain associated with Alex, I was only able to get a few miles in. I decided to run hard after a warm up mile. I ran an overall pace of 8:35, with the tempo miles I ran at 8:00. For some, this would seem like a recovery run, for me, I was hauling butt!
My acclimation to the heat seems to be in place, though I am afraid to say that because it has a way of coming back to haunt me. I am running the "hills" at a nice clip and try to not let my pace drop while running them. Maybe this will help with the more challenging terrain.
Nutrition has been fun to play with as well. Here is what I am currently using... most of this comes from the suggestion of Brendan Brazier and his book Thrive. He addresses what I have been trying to figure out for some time. The question of how to eat whole, healthy foods while running and racing and not sacrifice all that I do in training as far as eating goes just to through it in the toilet during a race. Somehow shoving gummi bears and cookies into my gut at mile 40 of a 50 doesn't seem like the right thing to do. And it doesn't work well for me. Stomach problems ensue and I am miserable.
Before the runs I am sure to hydrate with water. Every single run. I also am doing the smoothies in the morning or afternoon to give me the extra energy that I get from them. Vega's Whole Food Health Optimizers have single-handedly fixed many issues I was dealing with from fatigue to girly problems. They are, quite frankly, gone. Take that for what it is worth.
Right before running, I use my inhaler for prevention of EIA, then I eat a nice big handful of golden raisins or about 3-4 dates. I fill my water bottle and go! I usually carry a fruit strip (fruit leather) with me if I need a little extra boost, usually for my 8-10 milers. When I get home, I like to drink the recovery drink that Brendan's book gives the recipe for. It's amazing and it tastes great!
For my weekend long runs, I have been using his energy pudding before the run, his recipe for a sports drink on my run, and then the recovery drink. I carry golden raisins, cashews, dates, and fruit strips with me. I also bring along a honey packet and S-caps. I use the S-caps beginning about 2 hours into a run to be sure that I am not losing too much in the electrolyte department. I've run 18 miles as my longest run with this nutrition, so I need to make a longer run before I give it a 100% approval, but honestly, what product or combination there of would I be able to say works 100% perfectly each time?
I am hoping to set a time goal for Captain Karl's. Not sure realistically what it should be. My pace has dropped quite a bit so I don't even really know my training paces very well right now. I know I should run a 10K to figure out my new paces, but I don't want to take time away from my mileage to do this. Insanity would best describe my thinking.
Again, I've come to the conclusion that ultrarunning is a truly personal event. You can take advice from many, but no one but me can know how my body will respond. I don't even know that most of the time. I suppose with experience, this will get better, but as I read the blogs and experiences of those who have been doing this for a long time, every race, every run can be a new adventure.
I love the social aspect of what we do. I don't think I could stay with it if it weren't for that, but in the end, learning to be alone on the trail is where my race will be. To that end, I am running my long runs with people for some of the mileage and alone for the rest. Trying to get the mindset I will need to finish my race in October.