Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dirty Dozen 12 Hour Endurance Run Strategy

So my first 12 hour event is just under two weeks away –the DirtyDozen Endurance Run; however, I am having a difficult time coming up with a good strategy.  The course is a somewhat flat loop in Point Pinole Regional Park ( maybe 100 feet elevation gain each time) for a little over three miles. It is along the San Francisco Bay and through a eucalyptus grove.

This is a race that my wife has wanted to do for some time; however, it never matched up with our family summer schedule.  It did this year though, so we skipped the SF Marathon so that we could be fresh for this event.

My challenge with this type of race is that the goal is to last for 12 hours instead of a stated distance.  I know, after running my first 50K in 10 hours that mentally I can last the full time, psychologically, I am a little concerned with the monotony of covering 3.1 mile loop a given number of times.

No race, though is good without a good strategy, so I went online to have answered the following questions and gleen from more experienced runners.  The questions were:

  • What are some good strategies? 
  • What is a good refuel strategy since there is an aid station every 1.5 miles for this one? Go triathlete and drink coca cola and GU? 
  • What are good goals to set?
My sources being from Trail Running forum on Redit and the Ultramarathon forum on theRunner’s World Site.  Below are some of the responses I received.


“Fuel is the most important drink early and often, eat light but frequently whatever you can stomach, know what sits well before race day and plan accordingly. My preferences are pretzels/chips, nuts, snickers, fruit pastries, soups, rice, burritos, typically I try to go vegetarian during the race find my stomach handles digesting on the run better. I usually pop in the music when it starts to get really monotonous. Don't look at the whole thing just take it aid station to aid station/5 miles at a time/hour by hour, don't look at it as having 4-5-6-7 hours left just break it into chunks and concentrate on section at hand.”


"A few suggestions from experience:

  • Start slow and introduce walking breaks from the start. I like to walk for a few minutes every 15 minutes. On a loop track you can walk at same point each loop - eg. through the aid station and directly afterwards.
  • Stay off caffeine until later in the race. At the start you don’t need it and it gives a real boost in the later stages. I find no-doze helps every 3 hours in the "second half"
  • Keep eating consistently - but not too much. I can only stomach 200 calories or so an hour. But have a routine to eat (and drink) every 20-30 minutes from the very start.
  • Have a variety of non-sweet foods. Sweet foods only work for the first 3-4 hours. Try salty and (some) fatty/protein foods. I really like boiled potatoes, but whatever takes your fancy.
  •  Have some strategies for "low" periods. Find friends you can run & talk with, have some music ready (run without until then), have some interesting pod-casts.
  • Fix foot problems early. If you have a "hot" spot, sort it out immediately rather than waiting. It will only get worse.
  • Beware the chair. You will have down periods, but keep moving forward. If you cant go forward, try a 20 minute nap (but get somebody to wake you and get you going again). Alternatively get somebody to give you a massage. Anything is better than just "sitting". Naps probably won’t be needed for a 12 hour race, but it's surprising how much it can help."

John M.-rw

"Don't know about the Coca Cola and Gu idea -- not as a standalone thing.  Just about anything that will put 300ish calories per hour in you would seem to be adequate.  I would tend to eat plain old aid station food--what do they say will be there?  The electrolyte replacement riddle--water with some sort of electrolyte replacement...Endurolyte, SUCCEED!,  Heed, plain old Thermtabs... as needed.

If it is only twelve hours, you won't have time to get bored--meet folks, have conversations, pass them, get passed, meet more folks... stop to eat and drink... 12 hours is gone and you are done."


"Start slow and don't overeat. Also drinking water is better than Coca Cola. I try to wait with Coco Cola as long as possible but surprisingly that is a good race drink for me.

Did I mention starting slow, which is the key to a 12 or 24h race, a slow and steady pace. Don't waste time on the aid stations.

You actually should have 4 goals:

1. A very high almost impossible goal

2. A realistic goal

3. A minimum goal

4. Most important, keep going until the 12hours are over, no excuses.

1-3 means distance goals.

Keep moving is the most important part. Walking is good, to get a break or while eating after an aid station. As said before, aid stations are the biggest time waster. And you shouldn't change shoes at all in a 12 or 24 race unless something weird happens."

In response to the last paragraph by Ultramarkus, RoxieRuns adds:

"Especially if you are racing with friends, or there are many friends crewing/spectating - avoid getting sucked into the festivities at the aid/crew station. If the loop is short enough, you can pass off your empty bottle and place a food order as you run/walk by, then pick it up the next time around.

I've only done two 12 hour events. It was a moderately technical/hilly 5k trail loop, and it was very easy to get sucked in when I saw friends (crew and racers) relaxing, hanging out, and drinking beer, especially later in the day."

My Goals

After the above responses, I am a little more comfortable with what I need to do race day.

Learning from my experience at my first 50K and taking the suggestions from Ultramarkus, my goals are:

  1. A very high almost impossible goal: 50 Miles!!!
  2. A realistic goal: 40 Miles !
  3. A minimum goal:  36 Miles 
  4. Most important, keep going until the 12hours are over, no excuses.

Also, I think the best recommendation to meet goal 4 is what John M stated: If it is only twelve hours, you won't have time to get bored--meet folks, have conversations, pass them, get passed, meet more folks... stop to eat and drink... 12 hours is gone and you are done.

That shouldn’t be a problem with so many good Brazen friends and family running this event!

P.S.  For a little while, unbeknownst to me, Google had switched my commenting to a Google+ format.  After a little research I was able to switch it back to the way it was.  So feel free to comment and you will not be subjected to Google's version of a Friends and Family Plan

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Smokers and Running in San Francisco

Source: theawl.com
This post is a long time coming.  As I have mentioned numerous times on this blog, I run the Embarcadero towards AT&T Park as well as to the Palace of Fine Arts.  And I know that this isn’t a true running trail it is a side walk that is used by thousands each day, just hundreds of runners use the Embarcadero for that reason.  I also know that tourists use this route on a regular basis many coming from countries where smoking is more the social norm or that on day games at AT&T park folks need to get their fix before the game.  Yet,  I still go back to being considerate to those around you.
So one of my pet peeves is folks that smoke when the rest of us non-smokers have to live in their wake.  Mind you I have family members who smoke, that is the decision that they have made for themselves. That said,   I have a problem with individuals who a puffing away as you are passing them (walking or running) without a consideration of who is around them.

Really, I do understand that it is felt as if it is their right to smoke in public; however, if done indiscriminately it infringes on the rights of those around them.

And this being San Francisco, keep in mind, when I talk about smokers, I am not just referring to the cigarette kind.  Pot can be such a problem, especially on game days, which I don’t wonder why I get the munchies after my run!  I mean really, I will be considerate to you, please be considerate to me! Even if Trail Runner magazine recently talked about some trail runners smoking pot does not mean I am one of them!

What’s the worst is when you are really running hard, focused on everyone around you and their goes the puff of blue smoke!  Within a moment you feel as if you are Alice talking to the Caterpillar! Sometimes it’s intentional as if to say, “yea, I know you think your special acting all healthy and all.  Let me slow you down a bit.”

Yeah I am ranting just a bit.  And I do not have this problem on other paved running trails (Walnut Creek’s Iron Horse or Contra Costa Canal trail) and definitely not when running the hills.  And maybe what has triggered this post is that I am currently sitting next a smoker right now (clothing reeks!) and it is giving me a headache.  

So as stated above, no ill intent on this post.  Oh well, the damage is done and I can go back to writing more positive posts.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Great run to Fort Point

I had a great run at lunch today, one of those you just don't want to end.  Even though I had a head wind all the way I made it to Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge.  This meant I had a tail wind all the way back, which meant a really good and fast pace through Fisherman's Wharf.

Definitely a fun run!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Need for Motivation

We all hit the wall sort to speak at different points in our lives.  Right now I am in one of those time periods.  How this has manifest itself has been me being a little bit more tired, a little more forcing myself to run, and really cutting down on my blogging.

In a lot of ways I have used blogging to keep me motivated when it came to my fitness endeavors and vice versa when I run I come up with my blog ideas.  I also found that if I can get a post have a lot of readers, by directing them to something to write (through Redit, LinkedIn, or the Runners World forum) it holds me accountable and keeps me motivated.  

Lately though I have been struggling.  I have been getting the miles in and I am now logging my bicycling rides on Strava.  However, I need to add more other types of workouts so I can enjoy my running.  I had my wife come up with a workout plan, which I have only done once, but it is what I need.  I just need the motivation.

Most of my miles are also coming from running flat, boring, trails in San Francisco.  Also, I am running at lunch which means my runs are compact to 50 minutes which means a maximum of 5 to 6 miles.  I have wanted to include weekend trail runs into the mix but I haven't been motivated enough to get up at 6 AM (still gives me 30 minutes of sleeping in) to run the trails near my house.

So why am I saying all of this?  To whine or complain?  No, just to lay on some accountability and kick myself in the rear to get going.  I need to, at a minimum to be putting in 30 miles of running a week.  This needs to be my running base.  I am currently at 20 miles a week.  I also need to be riding my bike a minimum of 4 days a week for 65 miles.  I am averaging two to three days a week with 32 to 48 miles a week.  This is just to keep a good base.  I also need to focus on my nutrition.  I have my calories at about 2200.  It is my mix that is out of whack.  I need to experiment to get back on track.  I also need to manage my stress better.  There a lot of little items that I am making big issues when they need not be which prevent me from doing the best thing to alleviate the stress - exercise.

I have a twelve hour event coming up the first week of July that I am by no means ready for.  I have set some pretty lofty goals; however, at this point in the game I am not sure if they will come to fruition.

So pay no mind to this post, this really is for me to get motivated and be accountable for that motivation.
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