100 Mile and 100K Races: Getting it Done

Lets establish a logical approach to getting to the 100 mile run. Progression should be: 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, 50K, 50 mile run, 100K then the big boy 100 mile run.

I started running with my dad and mom in our neighborhood when I was little about age 8-10. At that time I remember getting the "side stitch" or 2nd wind. I went on runs in middle school and high school and then a little in college. I've always enjoyed running. I could run 5-6 miles regularly during college, and I ran my first marathon at the 2nd annual Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Marathon in 2001. I followed the training schedule outlined in 4 Months to a 4 hour Marathon by David Kuehls.

After speaking at a local running club, I was introduced to a great guy and solid runner David Bernstein, who was already running big distances. He really inspired me and after our introduction in 2013 we never looked back. I have been running consistent marathon plus distances, cross training, dieting/eating healthy, cycling and swimming for over 3 year.  

 

100 Mile Prairie Spirit Trail: Ottawa, KS   April 2, 2016

I decided that I would never be 100% healthy or fully trained to run a 100 miler. It's mostly mental rather than physical, and I was mentally ready, relatively healthy and really wanted it. Because this race started at 6am, we had a running light/headlamp to begin. It was about 90 minutes until the sun came up, and we were moving ahead and feeling good. I wanted to prevent any type of sun burn, so I put on a layer of sunscreen and wore a white long sleeve shirt. I wore a North Face Hydration Back and carried a hand held water bottle as well. Also, Every 5 miles there were water stops and every 9-10 miles there were full aid stations. 

I was running with a buddy, Jory, who was with me on the 100k a few months earlier. We both had a few ups and downs mentally. There will be a time when you just "fade" or "get weird". Every time we experienced this we paused to eat, and wow we felt so much better! Remember, eat and drink early and often because soon you will not want to eat.

We continued our progress and kicked some butt. We made it to the 50 mile turn at about 6-7pm, about 12 hours after the race started. This part was extremely tough. Because of the course lay out the previous aid station was at mile marker 42, which made for a really long haul without food. We were both exhausted and a little pissed!

The turn was major though: mentally and physically every step was a step toward home. Right after the turn I took a little extra time to re-tape all spots that might get a blister. This was priceless for later that night.

We refueled and started back. Again, after food and drink and a short rest, we were feeling good. I have to mention that at most of the major aid stations (25, 50 and 75 mile markers) I had no desire to eat and knew that would be a costly mistake. My solution: I packed a zip lock bag with food and brought it with me. This was great! Jory and I both enjoyed the food. 

Night began to fall, and it was the first time we both admitted to having fun. The stress about getting to the turn was gone, and it was fun to run at night. Once it became dark, Jory and I both had head lamps (Petzl brand), and I carried a back up bike light just in case. As we moved along in the dark, aid station to aid station, our ability to run slowed to a walk at about mile 75. Any attempt at forward progress is what we promised to each other and that is what we did. As long as we averaged about a 16 minute pace overall we knew we could finish the race in under 30 hours. With any race I recommend setting goals. For example goal A: 24 hours, goal B: 27-28 hours and goal C: just finish. 

About 4-5 am in the morning we were going hard, and Jory was really fighting. He would whisper, "hey man, I'm starting to fall asleep". I knew he was fighting hard! We decided it was time for some music, so we both put in our ear buds and kept on going. As the sun was rising, I had to make a very hard decision. I felt like a solider leaving a brother behind in a gun fight. Kind of like a scene from Lone Survivor. A nasty blister had taken Jory to his limits, but I had to keep moving forward. 

What I haven't told you is that there was a cutoff time. These are times posted that a runner has to check in or pass in order to keep racing. The longer you have been running the more crazy the cutoff times become. You might think 4 hours to go with only 9 mile left is easy but not after running 20 hours straight with no sleep. In the night, we had a 6 pack of buddies all fighting together and pushing on the group to reach each aid station before the cut off times. There was one aid station 16 miles out from the finish line. The cut off was 7am and we had a few hours to get there. I remember getting so mad about the stupid cut off times that I yelled out "%^$@# cut off time", and started hauling butt. It got the group pumped up and we made it with one hour to spare: time in the bank.

At the aid station some one had dropped off a fresh dozen of donuts, man those were good! As the sun came up, we had more aid stations to get to before we knew we could make it in time. The last aid station was 7.3 miles from the finish, and I had 4 hours to do it. Once i went through that station, I knew I could make it, and man the flood gates opened up. I was so emotional and started crying. I wasn't expecting to get emotional, but wow! It was awesome! I called the wife, and it was ugly. (You guys can't hold this against me.) I was speed walking as fast as I could, moving at about 15 miles per hour. I crossed the finish line in 28 hours 27 minutes. It was awesome, and yes, I will do it again!

Recovery:

Let me tell you quickly about some important pearls.

Warmth: You can get hypothermia while running at night. If you slow down and/or stop at an aid station you will get the cold chills. Dress warm. Have a good couple base layers: pants, jacket, hat and gloves.

Blisters: As a foot and ankle surgeon, I will post a dedicated blog about blister prevention in detail at a later time. But for now, the short version. You will get blisters in two forms. One, blisters from running and two, blisters from walking. You'll get these two different types because of two different gait patterns. I have had both and know exactly where to tape for prevention.  I use KT Tape over all previous blister spots. In my drop bag, I carry every kind of blister prevention I can think of: lube, band aids, duct tape and new socks. The KT Tape worked best for me: pre-taping and then applying to any hot spot along the way as needed.

Swelling: Yes, you will have swelling, and it could possibly be bad. I noticed that my hands were swollen at about 24 hours of running. Just being on your feet and the body's physiological process causes swelling. Expect it. ASAP I put on my recovery compression stockings and elevated as much as possible. Expect pain and discomfort for the next week. The first 48 hours will suck. My legs didn't swell bad until about 48 hours after the race. Over all, your going to heal and recover, but it takes time. It has been 8 days since my finish with a busy active weekend and only have mild right side calf pain. I will continue to recover and maybe squeeze in a swim or bike ride. I'm hoping to be running next week, but only if I'm 100% pain free.

Thanks guys! This race will be one I will never forget.

Remember: just forward progress and keep running.

 

 

 

 

 

Surviving a 50 Mile Marathon Distance, Tips and Pearls

After my recent races at the Prairie Spirit Trail 50 miler in Ottawa Kansas in March 2015 and the Osage Hills Trail Marathon in June 2015, I wanted to share some tips on how I survived.  This post will talk about pre race nutrition, muscle strengthening exercises, training and about racing strategies, fuel, supplements and shoe gear.   I was able to successfully survive both races injury free and live to post and share my experiences. 

Prairie Spirit 50 Miler

The decision to try a 50 miler should be on your mind after you have completed several marathons and a few 50K races. My decision was fueled by my two "Okie" running buddies who both signed up, so the decision was easy. I got to run my first 50 miler and train with two good friends. For training, I kept it easy: the goal was 50 miles a week, which was obtainable and challenging  depending on my work schedule. This is what worked best for me. I wanted to go hard Thursday through Sunday, completing ten miles each of the four days, and any extra mileage obtained Monday through Wednesday would be a bonus.  I didn't incorporate strength training, and I had minimal cross training during the two months prior to the race. Basically, just lots a logging miles.

Hydration:

For hydration I like Skratch Labs out of Boulder Colorado. For distance and hot events I choose the Exercise Hydration Mix. They state, "It replaces both the fluid and electrolytes you lose in your sweat while providing just enough calories to help fuel your working muscles." I add the mix to the water inside my hydration pack. If I'm going further, like a 50 miler or the Century 100 mile bike ride, I will also use Hyper Hydration Mix. They promise, "The high sodium content helps increase your body's reserve of water and sodium so you can perform at your best when conditions are at their worst". 

I could not have finished the race without Hammer Nutrition's Endurolytes Tabs.  Endurolytes  S-tabs fulfill such a crucial component of your fueling by supplying your body with a balanced, full-spectrum, rapidly assimilated electrolyte source. I started taking the Endurolyte tabs at 6-8 hours into this race and 3 tabs every hour until finished.  This was appropriate for my weight (I was over 200lbs) during that race as the dosing is weight based. The S-tabs help with cramping during exercise and helped me finish my race. I'll note that when I became nauseous I drank ginger ale at the aid stations. It helped.

Fuel - Calories:

I'm going to tell you all the food I tried and what worked and didn't work. The main fuel I used for calories and energy was Hammer Nutrition's Sustained Energy. Sustained Energy with its 7:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio and a few carefully selected micro-nutrients all work synergistically to provide consistent, long-lasting energy. The concept is called "hour bottles". You add enough powder into a hand held bottle based on your running hours to give you enough calories/energy. I calculated mine and made hour bottles to use and refill at the designated aid/drop stations. 

So I had Skratch hydration in my pack and fuel calories in my hand. I had several other actual foods in my drop bags. Tanka Bar Buffalo Bar was good early, but didn't set well after 3-4 hours. Stinger Chocolate Wafer is an excellent choice for the entire race. Zico Coconut Water was excellent the entire race also.

Carb loading and Hydration pearls:

Carbohydrate loading is an important part of storing energy pre race.  Carbs are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is your body's most easily accessible form of energy, and when you run out of it you "hit the wall". The agreed upon recommendation is to start carb loading 2-3 days before the race. You cannot load/fill your muscles with just one meal. Same with hydration. I have had success with trying to drink more water two days before the race. Also, the day before the race switch or add sport drinks and coconut water. Personally, I'm not a fan of sugar. My own hydration mix is pink sea salt and stevia sweetener. This works best for me, as well as plain coconut water.

Now to the race... In the past I have ran hard until I hit the wall then walked it in, which resulted in good time overall but wasn't very satisfying. This race I wanted to keep the most consistent pace possible. The early plan was to run until the turn around at 27 miles, then start a 4/1 technique (walk 1 minute run 4 minutes) until we finished.  During the race, at mile 24 we were going the same pace as the other groups already utilizing the 4/1 technique. So, we joined them. Wow! I'm a fan. There is something magical about the 4/1 technique. After running 6 plus hours and knowing you have 6 plus more to go, it's nice to give your mind and muscles a break. I found that 1 minute was enough of a break to walk and that 4 minutes of running worked well. Late in the race we switched to 3 minutes run 2 minutes walking as needed. We were able to pass most runners after the turn and no one passed us. We finished under 12 hours.

On a side note: from March to June I decided to try a weight loss boot camp. In another blog I'll explain my journey. I lost 25 pounds from weighing 205 to 180.  I've read that for every 10 pounds lost your time will drop on average by 30 seconds per mile.  Well, so far so true. After 25 lbs. lost, I'm 1 minute per mile faster on average.

Osage Hills Trail Marathon.

This race preparation was very different from my past pre race training.  I had just finished a 42 day weight loss and strength training boot camp. Therefore, I was lighter and stronger.  I had not put in the typical amount of mileage for marathon training, but my core and legs were still strong due to weight training. The strength training and core exercises that I did for the 42 day boot camp was noticeable in regard to running form and running hills. In the past I would experience musculoskelatal fatigue in the quads. The way to prevent this fatigue is to incorporate more hill training or leg strengthening work outs. The result of my weight loss/more strength training was a 3rd place overall finish and 1st place age group finish. 4th and 5th place were only five minutes behind me and it was a race for the last ten miles. The down side of having logged less miles for the marathon is that the recovery took longer. 

 

Hydration and Nutrition

The hydration for this race was Skratch and Coconut Water.  The fuel I used was Sustained Energy with 3 S-tabs every hour or as needed to prevent cramping. 

Gear

Hoka is the best for long distance running over rocky, rough technical terrain. I wore the Hoka Stinson ATR for this race and all races.  I have tried multiple types of Hoka shoes including the Conquest and Speed Mafate, and I prefer the Stinson. 

Tips and tricks to take away:

Have a tested fuel and nutrition plan. Never try any thing new during a race. Always practice it before and during training. I feel I have an advantage over the other runners because I have proven fuel and hydration plans, which for both races was very successful. 

Incorporate core and full body muscle strengthening exercises into your pre race work outs.

Buy a pair of Hoka's... joking. Have good pair of running shoes that match the race profile in regard to technical terrain, water, mud, ect...

Lastly, try and practice active recovery, which basically means slowing down and resting while still making forward progress. Allow yourself time to walk and rest.

Hope this helps you, and remember running and racing are fun and should be a way to get out and explore.

Until next time...

 

 

Marathon Training Fall 2014

It's that time again...Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa Oklahoma on November 22nd and 23rd. The Williams Route 66 Marathon is a Boston qualifying race, ran through the historic and scenic Tulsa area.

Let's begin with the race last year. The conditions were the coldest I've ever ran in. It was 6 degrees.  Yes, 6 degrees. The big question is what to wear when the temperature gets that cold, and how to manage wind, rain or snow. The answer is layers.  The first layer should be a compression base layer, for upper and lower body, and needs to be closest to the skin. According to a study by Dr. John Jakeman,  “Although the precise mechanisms are still uncertain, physiologically, research has suggested that compressive clothing may affect the rate of cellular membrane turnover in damaged muscle following exercise, and alter the inflammatory response to muscle damage, accelerating the repair process.” Basically, quick recovery. The next layer needs to be some sort of wool or fleece. Fleece is a wonderful fiber that acts like an insulator. It keeps you warm or cool depending on your needs. The body puts off heat which becomes trapped in the fleece keeping you comfortable. The last layer you need is a wind/rain block AKA the shell to shield you from the elements.  My personal choice of brands for each layer, and what I wore in the 6 degree weather, are as follows: Nike Pro Combat for compression, Pearl Izumi or Brooks for thermal lined running tights, and North Face or Columbia for a wind/rain shell.

Essential accessories include, stocking cap, wool socks, wind block gloves and the cannot-run-in the-cold-without... Neck Gator. If I didn't have this one piece of gear, I would not have finished the race.  Hand warmers are a nice option for the beginning, until you get going. From my personal experience, I had a very cold toe. You might experiment with sock layers, such as a thin running sock and a thick wool sock. Smart Wool would be my choice.

Marathon Training.....

Begin with this book, 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon by David Kuehls. This book is simple and gets the job done. The basics to training are broken down into 3 phases: endurance, stamina and taper. Kuehls states about the first phase, that it lasts 8 weeks and focuses on endurance with a focus on leg turnover. The second phase lasts 6 weeks with a focus on stamina, while continuing to increase endurance. The third phase lasts 2 weeks and focuses on resting the body before the marathon.

Lets start with the endurance phase, weeks 1-8. The key is a weekly Saturday long run starting the first week at 7 miles and building up to a 19 mile long run by week 8. So, lets say 3 days a week (M W F) jog, and T TH cross train. Biking or swimming are good options. This allows the legs to become stronger, increases muscle memory and the cross training allows for recovery.

The stamina phase last for weeks 9-14. In this phase, you'll be increasing the distance on Wednesday's run and continuing the Saturday long runs with longest run of 24 miles on week 14.

The taper phase lasts for weeks 15 and 16. MWF jog 30 minutes, and T TH cross train with a 10 mile and 8 mile Saturday long run.

This training schedule was how I obtained my best PR in the Memorial Marathon with a 3:48.

There are several marathon training guides available online.  However, I recommend training with either the Oklahoma Land Runners, Edmond Running Club, Red Coyote running groups or Southside Runners who meet in the parking lot of the south office.

In the future, I will post more about running gear, nutrition, hydration, recovery, stretching; what works and what doesn't.

 

Kevin Durant Jones Fracture

Kevin Durant sustained a Jones fracture in his right foot and will likely miss the first month of the season. Sam Presti said no apparent injury caused this injury and that it happened over time. Kevin will likely miss the 6-8 weeks needed to recovery from this type of injury. Thursday, KD announced that he had successful foot surgery and will be re-evaluated in 6 weeks. He will miss the first 16 games. The procedure, which took place with Thunder medical personnel present, was performed at the OrthoCarolina Foot and Ankle Clinic in Charlotte, N.C. by Dr. Robert Anderson.

So what is a Jones fracture, is it common, and could it happen to you? The Jones fracture is a fracture to the base of the 5th metatarsal. It is classified in the Stewart Classification System: Type 1 Jones fracture is a transverse fracture 1.5cm from the base of the 5th metatarsal. The Jones fracture is notorious for "non union" that is where the bone does not heal. The reasons the fracture is unlikely to heal is the vascular or blood supply to that particular area and the pull of the Peroneus  Brevis Tendon which can lead to gapping of the fracture sites. Surgery is the go to option since KD is a  professional athlete and needs to get back as soon as possible.  They will likely place a screw inside the shaft of the 5th metatarsal bone to support and bring the two fracture ends closer together.  The "Gold standard" is if the two fracture ends are more than 2 mm apart you should go to surgery but the possibility for non union makes his situation a "Lets go to surgery case." 

The recovery period is standard.  Keep the foot clean and dry for the first 2 weeks.  At that time, the stitches will be removed and he will be able to get the foot wet and start to shower. KD will be non weight bearing for 6-8 weeks until the x-ray's show good bone contact. He will be using a walking boot, crutches and/or a knee walker. We have performed many successful surgeries exactly like the one KD had done.

Could this happen to you? Sounds like the sources are saying that KD's injury just happened and he does not remember any injury of fall to the area. Most of the times I hear the same story in my office.  A patient will tell a story about moving over the weekend or starting a new exercise or running regimen.  They will have pain in the foot and have noticed swelling to the top or bottom of the foot.  After they are seen in the office, one or two x-rays will confirm the fracture. Sometimes a stress fracture, which is a fracture in normal bone due to repetitive load, will take 14-21 days to show up on x-rays.

So yes, it is possible, if you do any activity that is repetitive in nature, Most of us are not NBA players but treatment is the same. The Dr. will look at the x-rays to see how bad the fracture is to determine if you will need surgery or conservative care.

I thought I would leave a few topics to choose from in the future.  Most of the information on this blog page will relate to ultra running, biking gear, nutrition, hydration and race information that I am training for or have completed.