A day out the office

This is a guide to what I can expect on a typical day. The “Average” day is 45 miles of running though this ranges from 26.2-59.4 miles. Most of it is just to remind me to do things. I’ll forget.

I want 45 miles to take me around 10 hours. If I were to try and smash this distance I’d probably be running it in not much more than 6 hours. To do such a thing would be silly though.  Essentially what I am aiming for is a bit faster than half smashing it.

10 hours of running gives me 14 hours of not running at least 8 of which I would like to spend asleep. Having followed the Jogle race for the past 2 years I know how important it is to have plenty of hours to recover each day. It’s a fine balance between taking it easy on the run and having more time to recover. It’s a trade-off that I don’t normally have to think about in a 150 mile one-off race. A few hours added on one day because of a problem means less recovery and then compounds into the next day. 20 hour days are not sustainable for long.

So here is what I want a day to look like;

Each stage starts at 5.30am (at least early on). I want to wake up as late as possible each day. I have no fancy rituals (other than the very basic dump-coffee-dump-food-dump). If allowed I’d happily get out of bed and start running right away. I think there will be stage briefings that I’ll have to attend so that may not be possible. With that in mind getting up an hour before the run should be fine.

I don’t normally stretch before I run a long distance but if I am feeling the effects of previous days I might do some. Giving myself a bashing with the stick should also help.

I want to weigh myself each morning (and evening) and keep a log. Partly out of interest but mainly to settle bets back at home. I have scales to do this. I anticipate losing a few pounds along the way but would be using this as a guide for dehydration. If I am half a stone lighter than the previous day then I’ll know that I need to get a lot of fluid down me (or have lost a limb).

Kit – I have a selection of tops and shorts for all weathers. A blazing hot day I’ll wear one of the really lightweight white Columbia tops. Otherwise I have warmer long-sleeve tops and jackets if it is windy and cold.

REMEMBER Sweat band and/or buff. Too many races recently I’ve spent the whole time trying to wipe salty water out of my eyes.

Lube and Hygiene – I MUST remember to lube. I have forgotten this lots of times in the past and my future Grandchildren nearly would never exist to tell the tale.  I must also remember to brush my teeth. Sounds stupid reminding myself of this but I will be spending 10 weeks eating and drinking the kind of stuff that a dentist would be horrified by. Peter Gavuzzi in the 1928 race had to pull out with incredibly painful mouth problems. If possible I will shower before each stage too.

Breakfast – Coffee and whatever food is available. The organisers will supply a basic breakfast for most days and some will have a café to have food at. I really don’t care what goes in me, my nutritional strategy is to obey the First Law of Thermodynamics; What is in me >= work done by me + heat loss. I have worked for 10 years on this belly that should be enough to get me through this. I have at least 15kg of fat which translates to 15000*9=135000 calories. Burning say 120 a mile I have 1125 miles in my gut. In theory I don’t need to eat until I hit Oklahoma. I do like food though.

I also am not bothered by a particular timing of breakfast. If I end up eating 5 minutes before I start then so be it. In fact if I have to eat it during the first few miles of the run/walk then that is fine too. I think generally the fewer rituals and specific requirements I have the more likely it is that I’ll succeed.

But I’m not eating mushrooms though. They really are evil.

When running;

I hope to run along at a comfortable 9 minute mile jog, not too slow so it feels unnatural but not burning myself out either. This will be punctuated by walking breaks. I don’t have a specific “minutes running minutes walking” time split in mind, I’ll see how the land lies. I’ll slow/walk if there are significant uphills, if it’s really hot or when I am having an eating or drinking break, during road crossings or navigational parts, when overtaking someone who is walking for a chat.

It’s possible that I might walk the first few miles of each day so that I don’t get carried away or to eat. I plan on walking the last few miles too so that I can start eating and get the recovery process started early.

When supported I don’t need to take too much stuff with me, just the required water. I must make sure that I add my Elete water to everything I drink (and eat where possible). I am not yet sure what food the organisers will supply along the route (the guide says sports bars). If it is of the recovery/protein variety then I will take one of these towards the end of each stage.

I don’t really suffer from blisters (I get them but they are my friend) but it is likely that I’ll have to deal with a lot of these along the way. I probably won’t bother with them during a stage but at the end I hope to pop them and clean then properly and hopefully they will dry out enough so that I don’t need to tape them. I will take some compeed with me but I have never successfully managed to get the stuff to attach to my foot.

I DON’T want to take any painkillers. I didn’t in Badwater and have not this year so far (apart from hangovers). I am debating whether to even take painkillers with me.

I want to take LOADS of photos along the way, I’ll have my camera phone with me and hope to do lots of facebooking too.

When I have finished running I MUST remember that these next hours are as important as the running ones. Hopefully I will have already stuffed my face with food and that magic 1 hour window of my body metabolising protein at a faster rate will be taken advantage of. This is the time for stretch and massage. I’ll replace my shoes with the minimal ones or flip flops to walk around in. I’ve found this is great for loosening my legs up after a run.

Weigh myself again and drink accordingly.

NEVER had an ice bath before. Apparently they are essential though I don’t recall reading that the original Bunioneers had them so maybe they are an extravagance. Who knows. If it’s easily available then I might have a go.

Though I am taking lots of clothes I’ll probably aim to wear each item 3-4 days in a row then discard it. For this I need to wash them as much as is possible in the hotel rooms and dry them.

Skyping and calling home may be tricky. Before I start running at say 5am will be noon in the UK. When I have finished running at say 5pm it will be midnight in the UK. It’s going to be hard keeping in touch with Gemma but we’ll manage it somehow.

I want to blog as much as I can. I will write a book about all this (I’ve almost written it to the point just before the this race) and want to remember every detail so that I can draw upon it later. But also because I like reading back on it all. Hopefully I’ll get internet access and can upload photos and words each day.

I want to capture some of the more inane details too like all the food I ate, temperature and weather and all that.

I hope to keep track of the races that others are doing and it would be great if everyone can post stuff on my facebook about how everything is going. The Western States 100, UltraBalaton, Badwater, Thames Ring, UTMB, Leadville, North Downs 100, Davos and many more are happening while I am out there. Please let me know how you are all getting along. The worst thing about doing a big long race is that you have to miss other big long races L

Alcohol – Now we are talking. I’m not going to seek to drink but neither am I going to avoid it. If it’s a nice sunny evening and there is a bar at the place I am staying at then I see no reason why I should not reward myself with a couple of beers. Normally 4 is my limit before feeling a bit groggy the next day but I think the American beer exchange rate is similar to that of dollars and I can probably get away with 6 J

But I must make sure I drink plenty of water too. Boring.

Evening meals will be mainly in restaurants and I’ll have to take what I can get. Hopefully there will be plenty of steaks to choose from.

And then off to bed. Hopefully I’ll be tired enough to want to sleep around 8pm. I’ll just lie back and think of Ealing.