Thomas Jefferson, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
This great finish was a very long time in the coming!
I have three 25K finishes, three 50K finishes of five attempts before this night. (This finish makes four)
After not finishing the Traveller AGAIN last year I knew if I wanted different results I needed to do things differently. So this year has been about starting over. Different diet, different training philosophy, different body care, different focuses, keeping what did and does work, of course
Diet - Ketogenic
Training - Heart Rate (180 - age (52) = 128) keeping my heart rate in this range as much as possible except for targeted runs.
Body Care - Fascia Blaster and Fascia Yoga
Focuses - Prayer, Scripture, Meditation/Self-Hypnosis/Breathing Exercises (These are the things that do work that I kept from years past)
Chris offered an adventure for our annual anniversary trip. In July 2015 I ran half of the Appalachian Trail that is within The Smoky Mountain National Park. He suggested that it is time to do it again, but the whole thing. This idea scares the ever-living everything out of me! But I said "sure"
So now the training. Starting mid-June I started doing at least 10,000 ft of climb a week, usually mostly on the treadmill staying in my desired heart rate zone. It has been slow going some miles as slow as 2 MPH, but the climbing has been done. I have been working hard to keep up with the miles even with the extended time needed for the climbing. I have been staying close to the designated miles in my training plan.
I have been running 90% of my runs in a fasted state. I'm using intermittent fasting along with a ketogenic diet to get things under control with my weight and eating issues. Its working.
I have been allowing carbs on my long run days.
I have been using the Fasciablaster as directed at least twice a week throughout this training cycle. My feet do not hurt! Yes you read that right, my feet do not hurt!
So along comes race week. I didn't taper on my miles. I did taper on my climbing. Every mile was on the flat.
My plan was to do an experiment. I wanted to see what it would feel like running at least the first 1/2 without taking in any carbs. If it was working I could keep it up, if it wasn't I could add carbs on the second half. I made a beef/fat food item called Pemmican to have as a food source along with some bacon and pepperoni.
In my hydration pack was water. I had a 17 oz Ultimate Direction Body Bottle with a full Nuun tablet dissolved a pocket of the hydration pack. I had a dropper bottle of Sole' Water in another pocket. The Nuun and the Sole' Water (salt water) were to take care of my hydration needs.
My plan: keep at my desired heart rate for the outbound. Walk the hills as fast as I can and run the flats and the downhills. I have been extending my heart rate runs so I can run longer and longer at that desired heart rate, this race would test the training.
|Chris Beason, Krista Buck, Susan Beckwith, Emily Riecker, Shauna Veazey, Lisa Gunnoe|
I live so far away from my running friends. It is always good to see them at the start/finish. I wish I could run with them more often.
|Lisa Gunnoe, Elaine Gimblet|
Elaine is my hero. I want to be like Elaine when I grow up!
When the starter goes off, I walk! There is no reason for me to expend the energy running uphill from the start. Fast hiking training is for this very purpose.
|Right before first aid station|
Photo Credit - Yoni Fiser Johnson
There is a huge hill before the first aid station. Fast hiking with trekking polls serves me well. I do need to be more fit to be able to fast hike for the Traveller, this was a good confidence builder.
|First Aid Station - Jeff Beason and Friends|
Aid stations are little oasis of love out in the forest. Many races have more volunteers than runners. The races wouldn't happen without the volunteers that is for sure!
|25K Turn Around Aid Station (Second Aid Station)|
Christine Melroney was going to be at the second aid station. She gave me a great pep-talk before the race about attitude, gratitude and how it makes the difference. She challenged me to be grateful for the hills, every challenge is a reason to be grateful. I promised her I would consider it. She was right! It was great to see her at this aid station out and back.
I was tired and I wanted carbs. I had two dill pickle slices and some V8 Juice (17g of carbs). I was maintaining my pace and effort.
|50K Turn Around Aid Station|
Its was relief to see this 50K turn around aid station. You know you are half way there!By the time I got there I was tired. I wasn't bonking, it was a slow down not a crash. I wasn't pouting in my head or in a dark place or anything. I just didn't have energy and I was tired. I chose to partake of carbs. I had a Cutie, a small bit of watermelon and some Mt Dew. I set my timer for 6 minutes and sat down. I didn't have enough time to do a mini-self hypnosis session so I did 6 minutes of 7/11 breathing (7 seconds in breath/11 seconds out breath). When the alarm went off I got up and left. I felt revived and my stomach was dealing with the carbs and the Mt Dew very well. It was time to get on down the road toward the finish line.
|Back to the 25K Turn Around Aid Station|
Right before the 25K Turn Around Aid Station there is a hill, a very big hill. It is easy to dread and think about this hill during the whole race, I know because I have. Well, it's a better race day strategy to distract myself from the hard climbs when I start thinking about them, dreading them before getting to them. That mental energy spend on that hard thing up ahead is wasted energy that won't be there when I need it. So when I would start thinking about the hills I purposely started thinking about the conversation Christine and I had pre-race. I would start listing the people I know who would love to be running that hill right at that time, (or their equivalent like cycling, playing with grand-kids, getting out of bed without pain). This changed my mindset to preserve that energy so I would have it when needed. I was able to climb the hill just fine and maintain a good attitude.
|Last Aid Station Less Then 5 Miles To The Finish Line - Jeff Beason|
Photo Credit - Yoni Fiser Johnson
It is always I mean always so great to see this last aid station. Jeff Beason has been the aid station captain there for a number of years and he knows just how to help one get on down the road toward the finish line. Thank you Jeff! and Friends & Family for such a great pit stop on the way to finish.By the time I got to this aid station they were out of soda. I was in need of some caffeine so I accepted the offer of diet soda. I never, never, never drink diet soda. Well, I paid for it. With maybe 2 miles left my stomach went full on revolt! Just wow, I wish I could have puked it would have felt better, but nothing happened in that direction. I just couldn't run any more. I walked 30 steps, jogged 10 - 30 steps to the finish. I watched my goal time of 8:30 come and go, but the race overall went so well I wasn't upset by it. It was all lessons learned in managing a race.
My second half of the race was about the same time as my first half. That is a win meaning I didn't go out too fast. My stomach was in the game up till I poisoned it with diet soda, that is a win. With needing less carbs, even though I did need carbs, I have less chance of stomach upset, that is a win. Not needing to eat as many calories during the run means less chance of stomach upset, that is a win.
|PR on this course by 10 minutes|
That upset tummy stuck around through Monday. Monday night I felt a head cold and a sore throat settling in. So today is Wednesday and I haven't run a step or worked out. I'm trying to rest this cold out of my body. I might go for a slog tonight and just see how it goes.
I'm still scared to death of the AT/Smoky Mountain Adventure, but it sure does feel good to have a well managed race in the books.