I’m scripting this put up from the consolation of our Airbnb in Cave Creek, Arizona. It isn’t fairly as heat as I wished it to be down right here, however the desert is as lovely as at all times, there is no such thing as a snow and it’s a lot hotter than again house in Colorado. Final 12 months was filled with journey and a variety of bike coaching. We had a blast on our fall gravel bike journey to Slovenia and Croatia. I attempted to jot down up a put up about that journey, however I discovered I simply couldn’t summarize such an epic journey. Suffice it to say we beloved the Julian Alps in Slovenia and extremely advocate driving in that space. The journey was a lot more durable and rougher than anticipated, particularly in Croatia, however it undoubtedly improved my potential to journey by means of rocky terrain on my gravel bike. After 6-10 hours on the bike every single day, I got here house with a fairly robust base health.
Transitioning Again to the Run
Once we received again on the finish of September, we signed up for the Moab Run the Rocks three-day stage race in March and it was time to get again into working form. And if we have been placing within the miles for that race, we would as effectively hit up the San Tan Scramble 50k in January. And since I apparently had no recollection of how bad it was the last two years, we determined to return so Josh might get redemption at Black Canyon 100K in February. I paid all my entry charges and hoped it could be a greater winter of coaching than final 12 months. Coaching by means of the winter of ’22-’23 was fairly tough for a number of causes.
After the Leadville 100, I had not been mentally ready to leap again into full coaching. I used to be by no means actually emotionally invested in doing Black Canyon 100K once more. Josh had wished to observe a 100k coaching plan from TrainingPeaks (the place he works), and he picked one which ended up working very well for him however, as a perimenopausal feminine athlete, was a really unhealthy match for me. There was not sufficient restoration and manner an excessive amount of tempo work, and because the weeks went on, I felt an increasing number of fatigued. All the things damage on a regular basis, and I felt that as an alternative of getting stronger, I used to be getting slower and extra damaged. On prime of all that, path situations have been the worst I’ve ever seen. We spent most of our time working the identical dust roads, and it received actually previous…which didn’t assist with the psychological aspect of coaching.
This 12 months, once we determined to go again to Black Canyon 100K, I knew I wished to do issues in a different way. Camille Herron, who is a professional ultrarunner my age, and nonetheless breaking world data, is a robust proponent of fixing the way in which ultrarunners prepare, particularly feminine ultrarunners. I made a decision to take a web page out of her playbook and alter my coaching technique. Usually ultrarunners do back-to-back lengthy runs on the weekends. Camille strongly advises towards this, and as an alternative, she recommends “skipping the long run” and getting in that quantity over your entire week. After years of doing large coaching weekends with totally different coaches, it’s a scary idea to not do actually large mileage lengthy runs, however I knew I wanted a change. I additionally made dietary modifications, upping my protein consumption to 80-100 grams per day, and growing to 80 grams of carbs per hour on any run over 90 minutes.
Making use of the Work
Final week, we headed right down to Phoenix for the primary large check — San Tan Scramble 50K. Main into it, I had performed one run longer than 18 miles, and that was a brilliant gradual 25 miles — a 4.12-mile lap each hour for six hours, so a variety of run/stroll, after which standing round chatting with pals and consuming snacks earlier than the subsequent lap. I wasn’t certain how my physique would maintain up for the 50K race, however I anticipated to be fairly hurty.
The day earlier than we began our drive to Phoenix, we received COVID boosters. Was the timing supreme? No, however for a wide range of causes, that was the one time it actually slot in. I’ve performed poorly with each booster, and though not as unhealthy as earlier than, I nonetheless had a fever, physique aches, and insomnia the evening earlier than we left. This put me in a fairly unhealthy mind deficit, and once we stopped for the evening in Albuquerque seven hours later, I used to be a catastrophe. Regardless that it has been over eight years since my TBI, my mind nonetheless can’t deal with being within the automobile for that lengthy, and I forgot to be proactive in limiting the overstimulation. I didn’t put on my ear filters or noise-canceling headphones or take breaks to shut my eyes. I received myself into a nasty damaging loop, the place my mind was too overstimulated to sleep, so then it was a second evening of insomnia, and by the top of the second day of driving, issues have been fairly ugly.
We have been in Phoenix for 2 days earlier than my vertigo resolved and three days earlier than my imaginative and prescient was not blurry. My physique was stiff and tight after not getting out as a lot as deliberate. I solely received in two brief runs throughout the week and principally targeted on sleeping lots. By the weekend, my mind was virtually again to my baseline.
The race at San Tan was a a lot enjoyable, and my physique felt robust. Though 34º at the beginning wasn’t precisely the nice and cozy Arizona race I had deliberate for. The race is a 10-mile loop course that modifications path on every lap — “washer fashion” as they stated at the beginning line — with a variety of rolling hills and one tremendous steep, rocky, free climb and descent. I truly loved the loop format greater than I anticipated, and it was enjoyable to see individuals coming again, particularly attending to verify in on how Josh was feeling. It was additionally actually nice to have a number of pals out cheering for me, filling my bottles, giving me hugs and sending me out for the subsequent lap.
The third lap was my greatest, and as I cruised into the end, I felt like I might’ve stored going for hours. Might I’ve run it quicker? Completely, that was apparent on the end, however I wasn’t actually on the market “racing” this weekend. What I wanted was a enjoyable lengthy day trip to remind me why I do that and show that the change in coaching and excessive carbohydrate fueling truly works for me. Feeling nice on the end was the arrogance increase I wanted, and I’m glad that my ultrarunning days usually are not over.
Large Issues on the Horizon
That increase is additional useful as a result of Friday evening was the High Lonesome 100 lottery, and I received in. There may be a variety of work to be performed earlier than July, however I’m excited to get an opportunity at one other large mountain 100 miler. I’ve to type by means of what I would like my coaching plan to seem like, however I do know that I’ll persist with Camille Herron’s recommendation. I’ll be doing my velocity and hill exercises, and avoiding the 25-30 mile Saturday runs and 20+ mile Sunday runs that was once the norm for my 100-mile peak coaching weekends. As a substitute, I’ll attempt to unfold the amount out over the week and possibly get in some doubles (morning and night run) days. We’ll see the place that will get me.
It’s 4 weeks till Black Canyon 100K and solely 27 weeks till the subsequent TBI to 100. For now, I’ll take pleasure in one other week of desert working earlier than heading house to winter.