Go long…

Don’t bail: The best gold is at the bottom of the barrels of crap. – Randy Rausch

Sun 14 Mar: 4:41, 29.18 miles, North Boulder road/trail loop

While running on the dirt road system North of Boulder yesterday, I commented about the amazing feeling one gets when 2 hours of running just ticks by. We were about 12 miles into what would eventually become a 29+ mile Sunday jaunt and I realized that I had reached the point in my training where things are starting to really click. My mileage has increased to the point where I can go out for hours at a time without too much stress and a lot of satisfaction.

Yesterday, I started solo then hooked up with Art Ives. We then met up with the group to form a solid pack of about 10. It was chilly and a bit windy but everything just felt right. Cloud cover built throughout the day but nothing seemed to get in the way of forward progress and Art and I quickly settled into a nice rhythm that saw us slide off the front of the group. It was just one of those days where I was able to sustain a steady pace without a ton of effort. Good times.

We made our way back West and jumped on the Foothills Trail. What a joy to be back on trails, if only for a short period of time. Soon we hit the Boulder Valley Ranch trail system then split up, leaving me solo, once again, to complete the run.

In increasing drizzle, I spun through mile 26.2 in 4:14 and polished up the final 3 miles in 27 minutes. Finished strongly, on target and smiling all the way. A great early-season effort.

~stubert.

Patience is a virtue…

But I’m angry now. ~ Homer Simpson

Tues 9 Mar: 00:48, 4.8 miles, ‘hood surges
Wed 10 Mar: 2:01, 14.3 miles, Westview tempo

Janet’s call for patience seems to have paid off as the last two days featured pretty fantastic running. I tend to want to get after it when I slip on the trainers and, subsequently, find myself in a hole later in long runs. So I really worked on starting things off slow and easy (yesterday, especially) and it seems to have paid off thus far.

I focused solely on keeping my heartrate down during the warm up phase of yesterday’s run and, aside from one section that was exclusively uphill, was successful. Then I did a bunch of surges and felt fairly mechanical. In a good way.

Today, I jammed down to Boulder to meet up with the crew for a tempo run. I was a bit late getting started so my warm-up splits were a bit quicker than I intended and I also hooked up very quickly with another runner who is close to peaking for the Paris Marathon. So yeah, he is quick. We ran together to the start then got our tempo on.

Honestly, I felt great today. Really just worked the patience mantra and focused on breathing until Art cut me loose at about mile 5 out of 6.5. Timed my kick pretty well today and finished strongly then ran another half an hour cool down and mileage. Great stuff.

Tomorrow is an easy day then I jam on into the weekend where I am hoping to get in a couple more good runs in. Long on Sunday. Should be a blast.

~stubert.

Altitude…

Molly
And now, for no apparent reason... Molly.

He who argues for his limitations gets to keep them. ~ Richard Bach

Sat 6 Mar: 00:39, 4.31 miles, Neighborhood surges
Sun 7 Mar: 4:12, 23.19 miles, Casa to Ned loop via Mag and P2P

Did my first long(ish) solo run in the mountains this weekend and it went. I was a bit hammered by the end but did manage to stay out almost as long as I wanted. Temps dropped a bit in the last several miles and this, coupled with my starting a bit too fast, contributed to the suffering at the end. Not sure that my elevation gain/loss numbers are anywhere near correct either but the entire run was done above 8000 feet. Good altitude training for sure.

Also saw Alice in Wonderland on Friday to celebrate our anniversary. Rach has put up with my shenanigans for 19 years now and frankly, I am not sure how she does it but I am grateful that she does! Hoping for another 19, fun-filled years with my sweetie.

~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.

Back on that pony…

Ya gots ta sass it. ~ Homer Simpson

Mon 22 Feb: 00:19, 2.375 miles, track barefoot
Tues 23 Feb: 00:48, 5.58 miles, North Boulder loop with surges
Wed 24 Feb: 1:41, 12.19 miles, Watson Park tempo
Thurs 25 Feb: 00:41, 4.2 miles, Neighborhood snow run

Great training so far this week supported, as usual by Rach’s yummy, vegan cooking. “Yummy” modifies “cooking” in case you mis-read. No vegans were cooked. It might be interesting to keep track of actual caloric intake sometime but given that everything Rach makes is from scratch, that might prove to be more of a challenge than it’s worth. But I am guessing the number is large. And probably a little scary.

I got back after it on Monday with a short run on the track. Opted to go with the Vibram KSOs to continue to hone the barefoot stride as it seems to not only be more efficient, but causing my calves to want to secede. Guessing it will just take a little time to get them to fall into line and actually, as runs progress, they start to loosen up. Anyone else out there running barefoot with advice? Any would be welcomed.

I also hit the weights for a couple of quick circuits. Really think adding strength training to the regimen is helping out. Thanks again to Duncan Callahan for the info.

Tuesday’s run, as Marcia Brady would say, was just dreamy. Dropped Sharkey III off at Super Rupair and spun a lap in North Boulder. About a quarter of the run was on the snowpacked Foothills Trail then I moved on to the slab for some surges. Really continued to work on the barefoot stride and I believe that the results were positive. Great run overall for sure.

I jammed back down to Boulder Wednesday morning for a run with the group. Warmed up around the Res for about 45 minutes then joined Art and Scott for tempo. We spun low 7s until Scott dropped the hammer and the group split up a bit. I continued to roll low 7s for 6 miles total then cooled down for about 15 minutes. Terrific run.

Today I headed out again, this time in a pretty serious blizzard. Felt good to get out there in crappy conditions and I spun easy sub 10s for about 40 minutes around the ‘hood. Felt great. Depending upon how much snow we get, I may have to head up to the slopes tomorrow morning for a few turns. Will play that one by ear and keep you posted.

~stubert.