I ran my first recovery run last night with my favorite Running Buddy (RB), we took our time and I experienced no discomfort. The rest of the week I will do a bit of cross-training and probably will run with our running club on Saturday.
Looking back at my race on the weekend, I thought I would attempt to list my thoughts or lessons learned from my 24 hour run experience:
I didn’t train specifically for this event, the last training plan that I followed was for the 80 km (50 Mile) run in June, since then I ran a 52 km Ultra on July 17, and four long runs of 26-30 km, the last run 3 weeks before the race. Two weeks before the race I ran a half-marathon at 5:45 min/km average pace. My total yearly mileage prior to the race was approximately 50% compared to pre-2011 training years. My average weekly training was in the range of 50-60 kilometers, with almost no speed work.
I ran my first 10 km race of the year 6 days before the race, with no prior speed training, it destroyed my legs, not a good idea, but I don’t think it had any major repercussions.
Other than the half-marathon and 10K races I tapered properly, reducing mileage, fueled well and did my best to get lots of sleep prior to the race.
I picked up my start number the night before the race, had all my bags packed and everything ready to go. I had a bit of a restless sleep the night before the race; due to the large number of race participants I was worried that I wouldn’t get a park place along the course. I arrived almost two hours early race morning and there were still a few places available.
I didn’t have any specific race goal per se, but hoped to complete 120-130 kilometers if things went well, anything over 80 km would have been acceptable. I planned on a 20 minute run/5 minute walk strategy from the beginning, but figured the last 8-10 hours of the race would be mostly walking. I did not train with walk breaks, but had enough experience through the 5 ultra-races this year to feel confident this strategy would work. I brought most of my own food and isotonic drink, I did not know the isotonic drink being offered, so stuck with true and tried. I did nibble at some of the food at the aid station, and frequently drank water from here.
Based on the 1.2 km loops, I quickly adapted my 20/5 run-walk strategy to approximately 3.4 km running and 200 meters walking, beginning the walk break at my car after fueling. This worked very well for quite a long time, but at some point as my walking breaks started to increase I noticed I was having pain in my back and right leg, a result of a pinched nerve in my back. This is an old injury that using doesn’t bother when I run, but can quickly flare up when I walk on hard surfaces too much. Sitting a few minutes with my feet propped up every 3 rounds kept it from getting worse. The thought that remains is if I had stayed in the race and was reduced to mostly walking would I have spent more time sitting than walking? In any case I need to work on strengthening the back and stomach muscle to hold this problem in check.
I think my fueling was a success, the only incident seemed to be with the salted potatoes from the aid station, I think the heat of the day either reduced their quality or caused my stomach to reject them, but luckily I noticed this before it became a real issue.
If I Would do it Over Again
I would train accordingly, more races, more asphalt, more and longer runs. You get what you train for.
I think I would put together a crew to assist. During the event I watched those around me, those without crews had to scramble to get what they needed as they passed their cars, or fed primarily from the aid station. Those with crews usually ordered what they needed from their crews as they ran by and it was waiting by the time they completed the next round. When problems arose the crews responded working on blisters, offering massages, and suggesting what the runner may be lacking. Due to my experience and relaxed goals I did well without a crew, but if I was out to maximize my race results an experienced crew would be worth their weight in gold.