Friday, June 13, 2014

Freaky Taper Week

Not even including the fact that it's Friday the 13th today and a full moon will be in the sky this afternoon/tonight, but everything leading up to it has been freaky. By freaky I mean TWO encounters with the serpent I most hate in the world and aching muscles during a period of reduced mileage. I've been behaving quite well and taken a few extra days off and have kept my runs around 6 to 7 miles. One priority for the week has been to get to a trail somewhere to try out my new Brooks Pure Grit 3's. A big no-no is to wear a new "anything" on race day so I needed to run in them. I found a twisty, rooty, gnarly trail nearby my home that is actually a mountain bike trail and hit it up.

Storms were looming, humidity was high, but the trails were dry and fast...maybe too fast. Since I hadn't run a lot, my body and mind just took over and I was flying. Every angle, twist and turn was out there so perfect to break in the shoes and find out if the laces needed adjusted, hot spots were forming, or anything bad needed to be addressed. There was none of that. Right out of the box, they were fantastic. Over the 10 kilometer run, I didn't even have to stop and re-tighten them. I wore the socks I'll wear tomorrow for a true prediction and they did well. My one and only complaint: the tongue. In the other previous Pure Project shoes, they have integrated the tongue into the upper which prevents any kind of sliding left and right. They returned to the traditional tongue here and while doing that, didn't put a loophole on top to secure it. By the end of the short run, both had slid down to the outside. I can't think of any way to secure it in place so I'll just have to keep an eye on it and straighten it up now and then. Come on, Brooks...why would you return to the traditional tongue but not put a loop on top? As for the distance of the run that day, it was a 10K because I was turned around by Serpent #1. If you know me, you know I HATE snakes with a passion...like no other creature. As I entered the rocky section of the trail, I jumped over a root...well, I thought it was a root. Actually, it was a 4-5' long black rat snake, about 1" in diameter. I froze in my tracks! I turned around and there it was...stretched across the trail. Hairs on end and goosebumps formed, I decided it was time to prove my encounter and Facetimed my wife to show her it slithering across the trail. She was kind enough to capture a screen shot of our exchange. Yea...kind, eh?! After we hung up, I, being the foolish one, had to get a photo (I'm a blogger, ya know) and this nasty creature, having already moved off the trail decided to coil up, turn, and lift its head at me. That was enough of that! I was off and running in the opposite direction and NOT looking back. Every hair on end and goosebumps formed...blazing a trail of fear behind me. The joking texts followed me all the way back to my car like "it'll be waiting at your car for you...".  hahaha

As for #2, I got home from work yesterday and while walking out of my man door on the side of my garage, a yellow and black snake, assuming a garter snake, was slithering alongside the outside of the house...about 2 feet in length and mocking me as it slid towards the back over the mulch. Seriously?! No picture this time...my phone was inside and inside is the only place I was going...not to return this time. No need to invoke a coiling reflex yet again.

I've also spent some time reading up on articles revolving around race day hydration and nutrition from Hammer Nutrition, my sponsor. A big point of it all is the misconception revolving around replenishing one-for-one fluids. In other words...we need to take in ounce for ounce what we sweat out. That's simply not true. As we sweat, we lose salts and electrolytes. We need to keep electrolytes coming in. Take in too many fluids, we could overwhelm our system and cause trouble. We just need to keep our bodies operating in the best way possible. The best way to describe this, as written in the most recent Endurance News, is to look at electrolytes like the oil in your car. While oil/electrolytes aren't the fuel for your "engine," the lack of them or dangerously low levels will certainly give you a "check engine" light and if not addressed, you will stop. From all I read, I'm doing it right. Tomorrow, I will once again employ my process of the following: One Endurolytes Extreme per hour, one Hammer Gel per hour, one Perpetuem Solid per hour, and sipping Hammer's Heed throughout. This will provide some calories and a variety of electrolytes in different forms. Everything will be staggered as to trickle in the nutrition and not overwhelming my systems at all. At the aid stations, I plan on eating very little. The plan will be to refill my Purist bottle with Heed and if offered, snag an orange or banana piece on the way out. I don't plan on feasting like most ultras. At my last two ultras, I have put this strategy into place and it's proven successful. Tomorrow will be the ultimate test.

So...ultra marathon #30 is on deck! Start time at 6am tomorrow morning at the entrance to the Dolly Sods National Wildnerness and 41 miles to run. Forecast is pristine: 0% chance of rain and a high of 71. Perfect. Below has been my Facebook timeline for the past week...photos from last year's Highlands Sky 40. More running and less photography tomorrow. Last year's photos are timeless so I'll keep the iPhone stashed for the majority of the day. See you on the other side!




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