Almost there…

But it’s wafer thin, sir. ~ Waiter

Sat 10 April: 00:36, 3.5 miles, Casa trails to Firehouse loop
Sun 11 April: 1:19, 7.91 miles, P2P to Gap to Raccoon, around Thorne Lake

Well, that was not a stellar week but I did manage to get in a few miles despite continuing to shed weight and have little-to-no appetite. Ugh. That food bout of food poisoning kicked my ass. Today is a new day, however, and I am bound and determined to get back on that pony and ride. (“Pony,” in this case meaning “running schedule,” NOT “dirty food eating.”)

As I mentioned, Friday’s run was fairly miserable. Saturday was better in regard to gut-pain, but energy levels were pretty “meh” and it wasn’t like I felt like doing long surges. I tossed in a couple of very mild, very short bursts and didn’t feel completely like jumping off a bridge, so that was nice. There is still a ton of snow in the woods around the house. We need a couple good rains to compliment the already massive melting going on due to warmer temps to really start to take a bite out of the biggest drifts but we’re getting there.

Yesterday, I tried to get out for a couple of hours but the energy levels just weren’t there to support that kind of effort. Managed to make pretty decent time up to the park where I dropped down Raccoon Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park to test the (frozen) waters. Still a lot of snow on this loop as well wis MASSIVE drifts toward the bottom. My plan was to spin a lap but once I started up the climb from the bottom, decided that idea was for the birds. So I just headed home on another route.

Met up with a young fella (probably about 4-years old but I am terrible at estimating the ages of kids) on my way who came bursting out of his driveway inquiring frantically, “Why are you running?” I stopped and explained that I run for fun – an answer that apparently didn’t jive with his 4-year-old world-view. “But why?” I laughed and he quickly moved on to asking, “What are those things in your ears?” (My earrings.) “Why do you have them? That tree attacked me. Can I come with you? Who’s that dog?” All delivered shotgun style. I explained that he needed to ask his mom before coming with me and he agreed that she would probably not be down with that action. I was then instructed to walk, don’t run and we parted ways. Funny exchange, to say the least.

Eating was still not breaking into my “top-activities-for-a-Sunday” list (try as I might) and so I whacked down what I could and decided to just roll with it for now. Hoping that today produces a marked change in my stomach’s ability to deal with solids. I am approaching race weight from 1989 when I was a skinny cyclist. Not really where I planned to be at this time in my life.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

~stubert.

Ka-PLOW….

Venting prevents explos-i-on. ~ Homer Simpson

Tues 6 Mar: 00:51, 6 miles, Boulder Creek Path tempo
Wed 7 Mar: 2:01, 13.5 miles, Watson tempo
Fri 9 Mar: 00:18, 2 miles, Beav’

This week started well. I recovered quickly from Sunday’s effort and jumped back into the fray on Tuesday with an excellent, albeit windy run in Boulder. Headed west on the Creek path (into the wind) then spun at 2.5 miles and did 7, 1:20 surges. Felt great. Got a new pair of skids too, which is always a treat. Garett Graubins set me up with Boa lacing systems on some Brooks Adrenalines and I must say, “Stu likes.” Very easy to use, feel lighter (for whatever reason) and are definitely trick.

Wednesday, I headed down to Boulder early to meet up with the group for a tempo run. Started out on my own and spun a big lap in more clothing than necessary even in sporadic snow flurries so I shed some layers and queued up for the tempo portion of the day’s event. Art Ives and I hung together for about 4 miles then he cut me loose and I finished the last two miles solo. I am still not the fastest guy out there but have managed two weeks in a row with negative splits each mile so that is quite nice. All in all a great run.

That’s when things went pear shaped. I had to take a meeting in Denver and grabbed some food on the way at a restaurant I have frequented over the past 20 years without incident. Well, my luck apparently ran out and though I felt awesome for the rest of the day and went to be a happy camper, I was rudely awakened at 2:00 with a “not-so-terrific” feeling coursing through my bod. “Not-so-terrific” soon turned to much, much worse and for the next 6 hours I alternated between puking up my toenails and full-body convulsing. Rach even dreamed that we were at a dinosaur exhibit and my ralphing was the sound of one of the creatures that was a) a bit too loud and b) wouldn’t stop. Lovely.

I spent all of Thursday in bed, lost 5 pounds in 12 hours and am just now getting back on positive terms with solids. My abs look awesome, however.

So though Thursday was a bust, I was able to get out for a brief, relatively unpleasant run on Friday and am hoping to extend the duration and minimize the unpleasantness today. All will be taken in stride, sometimes these things happen, but don’t ask me to join you for Middle Eastern food anytime in the foreseeable future.

~stubert.

Rocket Man…

Charles Corfield
The biggest buckle ever was Charles' award.

I’ve got some of this Mendocino Rocket Fuel, that’s supposed to be really… ~ Viv Savage

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Charles Corfield – LT100 3rd place finisher, Everest summiter, and all-around great guy. Charles took the time out of his busy schedule (I get the impression that he runs at 4 in the morning every day) to meet with me to discuss some ultra tips and tricks, his experience running and his famous Rocket Fuel mix.

Charles placed third at the 2007 Leadville Trail 100 race after being talked into running it by some friends. He had no real intention of running the LT100 and so just jumped into the fray and treated it like running two consecutive 50s. Apparently that worked pretty well as he finished without a crew or pacers in 19 hours 42 minutes. Solid effort.

During the course of our conversation, I learned a lot about how to approach racing, training, hydration and nutrition and discovered that Charles really thinks things through, does extensive research and, perhaps most importantly, experiments to find out what works. He is practical as well, often offering simple solutions to common problems vs. recommending expensive or cumbersome alternatives. He asks questions and then thoughtfully presents solutions. For example, when he inquired about my ’07 LT100 attempt and what, in my opinion, went wrong, I mentioned that blisters were an early issue that then escalated to other, larger problems. His solution: Superglue a sock into my shoes to work as a gaiter and superglue the tongue to the upper to keep dirt and grit out. Not particularly elegant but cost-effective, light, and efficient.

One item I really wanted to discuss was his hydration and nutrition regimen. Charles is very scientific about his nutrition needs and calculates exactly what he will need during any given race (or training event) to be sure that he is able to consume the right amount of fuel during the event. This keeps him from getting bogged down by too many calories or bonking from too few. Charles relies primarily (in fact, exclusively, I believe) on a mixture of amylopectin (Waxy Maize) and maltodextrin which has found the name “Rocket Fuel”. I started experimenting with the mix in January this year to see if the solution worked for me and I have found, thus far, for it to be a great supplement to, if not replacement for, my “normal” on-trail nutrition. Here is the formula for 3000kCals (~750g of solids):

  • 340g amylopectin
  • 340g maltodextrin
  • 25g protein (Charles uses whey. Being a vegan, I use soy.)
  • non-sugar flavoring to taste (cocoa, Kool-Aid, vanilla, almond, etc.)
  • some electrolytes (I take care of this with nuun) and antacids (ground up)
  • ~3 cups of water (to the thickness desired)

During my initial experiments, I was mixing about 3 Tablespoons in a bottle of water. Though this worked well, it was not concentrated enough to work as a stand-alone fuel source. I checked with Charles and he indicated that he mixes his to produce a fairly thick, gel-like consistency that then can be delivered via a fuel bottle vs. in a more “drinkable” form. I subsequently tried this as well and it definitely is the way to go.

During the Moab Red Hot 50K, I used Rocket Fuel from the start. I did make the mistake of mixing it a bit too thickly and this, coupled with very low temperatures, made the fuel a bit tough to work with during the race. I should have added water on the go, but in my hydration depleted state didn’t think of that. So really, had I been smarter about it, I know that the mix would have worked even better for me than it already did.

On top of all of this great information, one piece of advice Charles had for me was to listen to what your body is telling you. If you are craving salt, you probably are low on electrolytes. If you are feeling bloated and too “full” you probably have eaten too much too quickly (there are studies that show that we can only process 240-280 cal/hour). Just listen to what your body is telling you and you should do well.

~stubert.