“Dear Meghan…” Take Two
This is the second in a series of synchroblog posts regarding the Western States Endurance Run (WSER).
BK asks: “How do you take care of your feet in a 100 mile race? Tape, powder, lube, socks, blister care or not, water crossings (sock/shoe changes or not). Toe paint?”
Some runners have their brothers tape their toes to kingdom come. Personally, I experiment with socks during training to find those that serve me well for the miles, and I suggest you do the same. Train in a couple models of shoes that work well for you. Then have at least one back up pair you can change into if you start getting a hot spot, or they get too wet for comfort. I like to change my shoes after crossing the river just for comfort. Stay on top of your sodium status, as hyponatremia can cause swelling in the feet, which will lead to increased friction in your shoes, thus the likelihood of blisters. My first WS experience included a long episode of hyponatremia, followed by heavily blistered feet, and resulted in walking most of the last 10 miles of the race. To diminish the amount of fine grit that gets in your shoes, invest in gaitors.
I think the most important thing is to pay attention to the symptoms early on. If you feel a hot spot, attend to it ASAP. It isn’t going to disappear by ignoring it. The aid stations are well equipped with volunteers to help you out if you don’t have crew, expertise, or supplies.
I use toe paint to make these ugly dogs feel pretty for one day.
Joe Lee asks: “I’m currently training for WS100 2010. I’m kind of weird about the whole pacers and crew thing because I prefer to run alone and I don’t have much use for a crew. I kind of want WS to be virgin territory for my first attempt at it so I’m not planing on training there. I guess my question is: How much time am I going to sacrifice by taking this meathead approach? Is it easy to get lost on this course?”
You may not lose any time if you can refuel and rehydrate throughout the event with what is available at the aid stations, so at least try to have a grasp on what they provide, and know what works for you. Plan ahead for scenarios that require problem solving (blisters, hyponatremia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, fatigue and lack of motivation). Be prepared for running in the dark with your own back up lights. Runners have gotten off course, even if they have experienced the course before, either in training or racing, so I suggest you don’t go in so blind as to not study the map. Having to be searched and rescued would be a pretty big price to pay.
GG to PHS Runner asks: “Do you think that riding a bicycle, in addition to downhill/heat training would be beneficial? I was thinking about doing a 100mi mountain bike race a few weeks after WS, and that the dual training might be beneficial. Of course, I don’t want to break my ribs or a pinky or something like that, where it might hinder my running. But then again, I can a bike without falling down repeatedly- I mean, who can’t ride a bike without falling, know what I mean? Any suggestions you have, would be appreciated.”
Get your priorities straight. Cross training is for sissies and for runners who need an excuse for poor race results mid-season. The excuses I have heard make my eyes roll (“my legs are trashed from my 30 mile bike ride”, “my pinky is crooked”, “it hurts to breath”). Run Western States, then train 2 weeks for the bicycle race. A 100 mile mountain bike race should be a Cream Puff if you are as talented as you say.