“Dear Meghan…” Take Four
This is the fourth in a series of synchroblog posts regarding the Western States Endurance Run (WSER).
Pooped Out asks: I’m a first 25% of the pack ultrarunner who prepares himself well for the one 100 miler I run each year. At least I think I prepare myself well. Everything goes well until the last 30 miles. At that time my perceived effort is huge, yet I’m barely moving. I can’t run any uphills, and even on the flats I struggle. So, my question is how does one prepare for the last thirty of a hundred mile race.
I would need a lot more information in order to really help you, but I’ll try a few different scenarios that might be leading to the problem or solution. You obviously train yourself well for the first 70 miles of the 100 miler, but what good is that? Do you do any training that remotely simulates running 30 miles on tired legs? I personally find that back to back long runs help me get ready for the last long pull of a 100 mile race. Do you continue to feed yourself appropriately from the start of the race? Getting behind in nutrition can set you up for an everlasting slog-fest late in the race. I have passed a few such victims just after No Hands Bridge. What kind of effort are you putting out early on? Have you run with a heart rate monitor? Better to start slow and stay steady. I have also been passed early in races, only to reel in the same eager beavers in the last 20-30 miles of the race. Maybe rather than focusing on the last 30 miles, you should focus on the last 100 miles.
The Seed asks: I am a fairly solid 50M runner but can’t seem to collect much more than yellow buckles (or, if not States, the particular race’s equivalent) when I step up to the 100 mile starting line. I do have one token silver buckle but it is more of an anomaly, an outlier if you will, compared to my standard performances which, among others, include the following: 2 DNF’s at AC in ’98 & ’99 (I mention those for The Jiz’s benefit); a 28 hour at Western, wait, I mean, States in ’02 where I spent 2 1/2 hours in a beach chair at Hwy 49 aid (mile 93) and it wasn’t because the aid station folks were in pear-adorned monokinis serving margis either; and a 30 hour Wasatch in ’08 in which I got to Brighton (mile 75) in 18 hours (you do the math on that one). Is there any hope for me to have a 100 mile performance on par with say, a 7 hour High Sierra 50M or should I stick with the “warm-up ultras,” as Karl calls them, and maybe try and become a permanent member of The Jiz’s crew to make sure he never DNFs (because only Sky daddy the knows the ripfest that would ensue after that).
Well Seed, are you training for 100s or 50s? How many long runs at super slow pace are you getting in? Are you racing 100s by running the first 50 as hard as you run 50 milers? Rather than be part of Jiz’s crew, why not be a Jiz-wannabe? Train the like Jiz, race like the Jiz. Seriously, you probably need to get a coach. Bryon Powell just assembled a very good list of coaches and description of services.
Horatio Lovejoy asks: I win almost any race I enter. I’m young, a well established entrepreneur, drive a nice car and have a great fiancee. What else should I be doing?
You cannot be considered a success until you write a book. It could be titled something like “Double Cougar Endurance Man” or “Born to Stalk Cougars” or “I Don’t Know About You, But I Run to Win”. After that, it is time to make it into a movie. You’re good looking enough to cast yourself as yourself, and the same for your fiancee. I think there are plenty of cast members in your town for a major motion picture. Finally, open up a national running store chain. With your fame you can carry your own shoe brand, have tracks named after you, and have oil portraits hanging in stranger’s homes.