Monday, June 13, 2011

Preparing for Mohican Trail 100 Mile Run

T minus 5 days until the Mohican 100.

Ok, so I'm kind of nervous... Actually, my emotions switch back and forth from being nervous as hell to complete panic mode to spurts of confidence.

Ultimately, I know I've trained as hard as I could have trained with out pushing myself to injuries. I'm confident that I can do the mental aspect of it. I'm also confident that my body can do the physical aspect of it. I guess I'm nervous about all the things that are outside of my control: Will it be scorching hot? Will the night be too chilly? Will my stomach cooperate? Will I get lost (new course)? Will my girls be at the finish line? What about blisters? Chaffing? Dehydration? Sleep deprivation? Hallucinations? etc...

Then I yell at myself: SHUT UP!

I can only trust that the training I've done up to this point will allow my body to finish. I can also put trust in knowing that I'm a stubborn mule when it comes to finishing something that I've set my mind to accomplish. I push myself too hard sometimes, and I think it is for this reason that I love running ultra marathons. Go hard or go home.

My Training
These last two weeks have been my taper weeks, so I've not run hardly at all. Usually I hate taper weeks, because I just want to get out and run. However, this time I was actually looking forward to it... I was starting to get burnt out trying to find time for my runs and planning my weekends around my long runs. In my peak weeks, I was running 50 - 60 miles a week. That's more than I've ever done before. I felt strong on those weeks, but was ready to bring the mileage back down.

My family has been doing my training with me. While I'm out on my runs, Jennifer's at home with the girls. I didn't feel so guilty when she was out on the town with the girls, because I wouldn't have to just up and leave while we're all sitting around enjoying each others company (yes, we actually do enjoy each other's company). :P I do feel sometimes that I've had to separate myself from the family a bit while training for this race. It's the one thing that I don't like so much about ultra marathon training. I'm sure there are ways that I could have fixed them, but ultimately it becomes a part time job. For this, I have to thank Jennifer for putting up with me and all those times that I said, "I'm going to go run". Which meant, "You're on your own for the next 2 hours with the kids". Thanks babe! <3

I did find that running early-early in the morning was the best all around answer for everybody. It helped me get out of bed and got my blood flowing immediately; it was a great way to start the day. I didn't have to try and squeeze my runs into the late morning or early evening hours, which meant they were open for "whatever". However, my biggest problem with early-early running is that I'm a complete night owl. I suffer from a mild case of insomnia. I can lay in bed for hours and be soooo tired, but never sleep. If you've never had this problem, trust me, it sucks! Therefore, running in the morning was hard sometimes because I'd go to bed around 10pm, fall asleep at 2am, and then still try to wake up at 5:30am and run for 2 hours before work. I did this for a while, but it put me into a zombie state after lunch. I must admit though, morning runs are very therapeutic and I will be doing more of them. :)

My Plan of Attack
The only way I can think to break this race down is to run the entire race in 6-7 mile increments. There is an aid station every 6-7 miles, and I know that I can 7 miles in my sleep, even on my worst day. If I keep this mental state throughout the entire run, there's no doubt I'll finish. I'm going to carry two water bottles at first, and then ditch one if it becomes too much of a hassle. I'm going to have a drop bag at the Covered Bridge and at the Start/Finish. In there I'll have fresh socks, vaseline, a thermos of home-brewed coffee, and a few other small things. I trust that the aid stations will have most of the things I would need (bandaids, food, water, etc..).

I'm running in my New Balance Minimus shoes for the entire race. I'm packing my VFF's just in case my body tells me to switch, but I'm leaving my Cascadia's at home. All of my training has been in my VFF's and my NB Minimus (more like running slippers). The fact is that I've not ran in "real shoes" in a long time, and my body has adapted to my new running style. Running in shoes actually hurts. I'm a minimalist runner, and I want to know that I can make the 100 miles as a minimalist runner. The longest distance I've ran in my VFF's was 38 miles. Last fall, I ran Oil Creek 100K in an old pair of Brooks Cascadias, but in hind sight I could have ran in my VFF's just the same. Fear won that decision and I opted for shoes... This year, I'm not letting Fear have a say. (remember: Stubborn Mule)

To make sure that I make it through the hardest miles, I've recruited the best pacer in the World: Jamie Farley. Farley is an up and coming marathon runner from the great state of Michigan. He and I are old college buddies. We are both hard-core metal-head / party animals, turned barefoot trail running geeks. I ran with Farley on his first 1/2 marathon back in September. He rocked it! I told him that if he signed up for it, I'd drive to Michigan and run it with him. He returned that favor and said that if I signed up for the Mohican 100 miler, he'd drive down to Ohio and pace me. Well, here we are! He will be helping me through my "unknown mental state" miles. He's probably going to join me around mile 75 - mile 80. I'm not quite sure who I will be by then, but his job is to keep me awake and focused on the finish line. When I cross the finish line, it will be a direct result of him pushing me and kicking my ass on the trail. Can't wait to run with this guy!



PJ said...

Good luck Luc. I will see you on Saturday morning at the start line. You have given me some good advice. I am going to wear my Merrell trail shoes with the vibrams as back up. See you Saturday!

Luc said...

Awesome PJ! Let's plan to push through a few miles together. Look for me Friday night. If not, I'll see you at the starting line and will try to keep up with you on the trails. Godspeed sir! :)

Michelle said...

Good luck Luc!!

Warrior Dash said...

Wohoo! Goodluvk on your trail race! You better finish the race or all the training is invain. Go warrior!