True words…

Nothin’ to do, nowhere to go. ~ The Ramones

When one stretches the fabric of the possible, it tends to help to narrow one’s focus as the big picture can become overwhelming. In ultra running, this is often spoken of as “relentless forward motion” or even focusing on each individual step. Where making thousands of steps seems impossible, focus on just moving to that next ridge/tree/fencepost or even just taking one more step can provide results.

Greg Joder, an amazing wildlife photographer, avid sea kayaker and fervent environmentalist sent me a link to Katie Spotz’ post about how to approach endurance challenges as she paddles – solo – across the Atlantic.

During some of my first endurance challenges I wasted too much energy questioning whether or not I could complete the challenge I set out for myself. The truth is that you never know until you try, and the worst thing you can do is not try. I learned to redefine failure, not as a failure to complete the feat, but a true failure as to not try. Fear of failure was one of the most difficult “mental walls” I faced.

Break it down. You don’t row across an ocean in a day so it’s important for me to break it down into daily, sometimes hourly, goals and focus on that one step ahead. If I lose sight of that one step, I can become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge.

Know all things will pass. No matter how tired, hot, seasick, bored, lonely, etc. I get, it will pass. For some of my more grueling one-day challenges, like my ultra marathon (100k run), I can expect to go through all sorts of highs and lows all in a matter of hours.

Do not make it personal. Here on the ocean weather will do what it wants, equipment will break, things will not go according to “plan”. But it has nothing to do with me. So often I can think and feel that things are happening “for”, “against”, “to” me. Things are just happening and I can choose to accept it or put up the fight.

Understand the real challenge is me. The only thing that holds me back is me and it’s not about what happens but how I chose to react.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Read more about her adventure.

~stubert.

Hungry for more…

I’ve got ants in my pants! I’m discombobulated! Give me a calmative! ~ Grandpa Simpson

Wed: 1:32, 10.5 miles, East Boulder tempo
Thurs: 00:40, 4.6 miles, Boulder Creek Path recovery
Sat: 00:40, 4.14 miles, Neighborhood surges
Sun: 4:12, 26.24 miles, North Boulder backroads

A crazy week got in the way of updates so I am playing catch up a bit. Things have been going relatively well… I am still nursing a tight hamstring and mildly sore knee but that doesn’t seem to be holding me back too much. Wednesday’s run was a bit of a cluster. My splits were okay but by the end, I was really just done and my knee hurt and so I cut that one a little short. Thursday was a bit faster than I should have been running but I felt okay so just cruised. Saturday was a squeeze run early. Went to the opera mid-morning so it was good to get out for a quick run while it was still quiet and calm. Sunday was the mad man of the week…

Headed to Boulder early hoping to get in a few miles before meeting up with the crew but that didn’t happen so we started together shortly before 9:00. We wound our way around part of the Backroads course and I ended up way north on CO66 before heading back to Boulder. Not too much to talk about other than really working on managing lingering ailments and getting in the miles. For the most part, I was successful. After 3 hours things started to get a little ouchy for sure but nothing that sparked tremendous concern – mostly just the standard fatigue and soreness that comes with the territory when logging that much time on one’s feet. These small increases every week are paying off, however. I am feeling super fit and recovery happens quickly.

People ask about nutrition during ultra running a lot and aside from some of the standard items (gels; “real” food like pb&js, wraps, fruit; etc.) I have started working in some fluid-based nutrition as well. I have been using nuun exclusively for the past year or so and find it to work really well. I recently started working Charles Corfield’s famous “Rocket Fuel” into the mix. I’m trying to get more info about that so check back for a full report. Thus far, however, it seems to be working really well for me both during and post running. I have been using a 1:1 mix of Waxy Maize and Maltodextrin coupled with a tab of nuun per bottle. I have the feelers out to Mr. Corfield (3rd place in the ’07 LT100) and will let you know what more I find out.

Most of the top talent whack down gels throughout the races. I am not quite sure how they handle this but it seems to work well for them. I will supplement with gels and do use gels exclusively during shorter, faster events like marathons (maybe that is the key – make 100 miles short and fast and you are golden!) but for longer runs, I tend to stick with more solid fare and try to work in as much real food as possible. When I did the LT100 in ’07 and the Silver Rush in ’08, I relied pretty much exclusively on real food. For the LT100, I relied on food my crew made for me: PB&J wraps, avocado wraps, bean burritos, fruit, trail mix, tomato/avocado soup and the like. I had decent success with this and found, for me, the avocado wraps worked really well (1/2 of an avocado and some pink sea salt wrapped in a tortilla). Being a vegan, I didn’t want to rely on aid stations and didn’t want to get into a situation where I needed nutrition but was unable to find anything that suited me.

I took a slightly different approach to the Silver Rush in ’08 (mostly because I wanted to approach this event more casually to take some of the pressure off) and actually did use the aid stations which provided chips, pretzels, fruit (melons and bananas) and soda. I made the mistake of filling up with some energy drink at one of the stations that did NOT go down well, so definitely beware. I supplemented with my own food for the start (pb&j and avocado wraps) and put more in my drop bag for resupplying at the turn. The best practice is to well… practice! Grab a burrito and go for a run. See what works well for you. Be prepared for wacky cravings during events but try to stick with foods and supplements with which you are familiar and have tried in training. Nothing worse than stomach problems during an event.

~stubert.

Hydrate or die…


Simplify, man! ~ Recycle Center Guy

Spent the day today waiting for a delivery which finally arrived about 3:00. Then I got to move a bunch of building materials around and stash 2400 pounds of stove pellets in our garage. Good, good times. Now we’re definitely set for winter, however and I can also finish up work on the shed. SO psyched.

So today, since I have no running to report, I’ll toss another review your way. Today’s product review: The many awesome flavors of nuun.

I discovered nuun sometime last spring and thought it sounded like a great idea. It removes all the crap packed into common sports drinks: the waste, the high fructose corn syrup – the unbearable taste – and slams it into a compact treat that is not only yummy, but is super convenient. nuun comes in a wide variety of flavors to appeal to virtual any taste. My current favorites: Cirtus Fruit, Cucumber Mint, and Banananuun. nuun doesn’t rely on artificial sweeteners (actually, all nuun is sugar-free) so it is a perfect compliment to your hydration/nutrition regimen.

nuun is portable and super easy to use. You just drop a tablet into 16oz of water and watch it go to work. It turns any available (potable) water source into an instant sports drink. Another upside to nuun is that its mix of ingredients keeps one from having to rely heavily on salt tabs during long runs. Sweet! One less thing to have to keep track of when my brain is run-addled anyway. I love being able to re-use bottles without adding to the landfills and being able to create great tasting sports drinks on the go. Each tube contains enough tablets to make 12 bottles of electrolyte drink and costs a LOT less than the equivalent volume of sports drink.

Full disclosure time: I was so thrilled with nuun after first trying it this spring that I contacted them to see if they had room on their roster to sponsor an athlete such as myself. For the ’09 season, I was a proud member of their pro program. In 2010, I am happy to announce that I will continue to fly the nuun flag!

~stubert.