Thursday, March 6, 2014

Way Too Cool 50k Tips

I've broken down the WTC course for some athletes and thought I'd share them here.

Miles 1-8 (Single Track)
It's going to be a conga line like you have never experienced (1200+ people). After the first 3/4th of a mile a bottleneck will happen. It will be single file on rolling hills for 6 miles. You won't be able to run the pace you want, take that time (approximately 1-2 hours depending on pace) to fuel and hydrate (drink often and eat at least twice, 100 calories or more before mile 6). Get on top of it early, front load it, because later in the day when it gets hot you will likely underestimate the needs of your body. Temps are to be roughly 68 degrees, a bit a of wind and clear. This is a humid 68 not a Reno 68, drink often!!!!!

Miles 8-11 (The Downhill)
This is a big downhill (1,000 foot drop in 2.5 miles). Don't burn yourself out on this. This will be the first time you get to run free (fire road not single track) and you are going to want to let it loose. Be patient, the race will come to you much later. Do not run more than 1 minute a mile faster than you would on the flats. That will seem slow, but unless you have aggressively trained downhills it is where you need to be.

Miles 11-16 (Quarry Road)
There are a couple of tricky hills that last less than a minute in this section. If you have a walk/run strategy use it on every hill. If you are a sub 5 hour 50k runner you probably should be running these, however, don't go into any lactate threshold type efforts. If you feel the burn start, slow down and walk for a couple steps. It will pay off big time later.

Miles 16-21 (The Climb)
Buckle down, this is a 1,000 foot climb in 7 miles (make sure to eat once, twice if you can). This is when you will start to feel like it is getting hot. It is not all climbing, rather it comes in waves. You need to get to the ALT (Auburn Lake Trails) aid station before you start accessing your time/finish goals.

Miles 21-25.5 (Drag Strip)
This section is where you will start separating yourself from the masses. Its a sharp DH followed by some flat and another sharp DH. It is very easy to over run this section. You are going to feel great because to the difference in elevation, stay true to your plan. Do not start thinking "this is the day the rules do not apply to me!" Use the flats to eat and drink. You'll hit Goat Hill at the end of this section and any over exuberance will be on full display at the top of it.

Miles 25.5-29.5 (Roller Coaster)
Up, Down, Up! This is where your training and patience will pay off. If you can run here, you are going to make up a ton of time. Stick to your strategy on the uphills and do not kill the downhills too much. You will hit Hwy 49 at the end, get into the aid station, and out quickly. .

Miles 29.5 to the Finish (31.2)
This climb will be tough, try to visualize a climb in Reno you have done numerous times. This will make it easier. You will get to the top and start to hear the announcer, that means .75 left. Give all you have at that point.

Go straight to the food, you will be under nourished and if you stop to talk to friends it will be a half hour before you get anything into your body. Go get that cupcake, pizza or soup that this race is known for then come back and talk to friends and family...better yet have them come with you and purchase anything they can it all goes to a good cause! A, 3 to 1 carb to protein ratio is ideal, but realistically shove whatever you can in your mouth!

Can't wait for the 2014 season to start, hope to see you at Cool!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Ultimate Pace Card - Way Too Cool Edition

With technology, specifically wrist GPS devices, pace cards for races are not nearly as important as they once were. However technology has its limits, battery life, GPS accuracy, satellite linking and an array of other issues can impede the usefulness of these devices. With a handy pace chart in your pocket you can always be assured of having the information you need on hand.

My biggest problem with GPS is a lot of the races I compete in take me longer then the 18+ hours my Garmin 310xt will last. I started running ultras before I owned a Garmin so I compiled a list of things I wanted to know at all times when I was on the course. Some of them can be calculated or shown on your watch, but many of them cannot.

The essentials
  • Aid stations and mileage point
  • Which aid stations have drop bags
  • Full aid or partial aid (sleep station...etc)
  • Distance between aid
  • Pace for a given finish time
  • Pace to a given aid station
  • Any cutoff times if you think you will be near them
  • Elevation chart to see what is ahead of me
  • Time of  day (used for 100 mile races)
  • Mantras and/or strategies to remember

You can download it here. That is the full copy from a 3:30 finisher to the cutoff at 8:30. Feel free to use it for WTC 50k or just use the format for any event of your choice. I'll also be posting all the pace cards of the events I do on here as the months go on. Simply take out the times you know you won't be hitting. For me I'm shooting for 5:15-5:30 so I want everything from 4:30 to 6:00 on there.

I use to calculate the times. Their pace calculator is easy and quick. I’m sure there is a nifty excel formula one could put in but I don't know it. Kudos to anyone who wants to relay that info in the comments section.

If the elevation chart is online I copy that and cut it out in paint. Then I print it and paste it to the back of the pace card. I also use the extra room on the back for my various mantras or strategies that I want to make sure to remember.

Of course the chart is no good if it’s not water/sweat/and snow proof, plus it needs to be durable beyond that. I like to fold and bend them into smaller squares so they fit into my pocket. This problem is easily overcome by the beauty of clear packing tape. Cut out your pace card and place it on the table. Grab your packing tape and cut a piece so that it is a half inch longer on each side of the card. Apply the tape to the front of the card and then flip it over. Do the same to the back. Cut around the edges leaving only a small border. Make sure not to have any 90 degree edges as they tend to dig into the skin through fabric, I round the corners instead of squaring them.

Now you can fold the chart into any size you wish and you will always have all the information you need for any race!

WTC is only 10 days away and I feel like I'm running about as fast as ever. I'm only doing a short 2-3 day taper since it's not my goal race for the year so I'll be going in with tired legs. That week should be the largest week mileage wise I've had in years.

For more tips and tricks of the Ultra world head over to Facebook and like DeyFit Endurance Training. As always if you'd like to venture into the Ultramarathon world but are not sure where to start, I do offer coaching services. Head over to either BrandonDey or DeyFit Endurance Training and shoot me an email. Happy trails and fast feet!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Branching out and waging war on sitting!

One of my resolutions for this year was to branch out and help share my knowledge of fitness in the hopes of inspiring others to get active and improve their health. I've had the opportunity in my many years of competing in various sports to work with many talented trainers, athletes and coaches.

I decided in December to stop thinking and start doing. Over the next few months I'll be launching DeyFit Endurance Training.  My focus will be helping those 8-5ers, the working athletes, the cubicle cowboys and cowgirls learn more efficient ways to work fitness into their lives. 

We as a nation sit far too much. I’m considered active, yet I sit for at least 50% of my day. The only way to combat the health consequences of a sitting lifestyle is to be active more often.  Choosing not to sit is not an option for most of us so we need to come up with practical techniques that are engaging and fun.

I’m currently creating a workout program to counter the effects of sitting in our lives. I intend to give it away free once I’m done. It is going to be simple and comprehensive. I'd love to know if there are any techniques you use in your life that I might be able to include.

If you'd like more information head over to my website Learn a little bit about my journey, what I'll be up to this year and what is in store with my racing.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Change in Perspective

My 10pm walk with Queen Doom and the dogs last night was awesome. While totaling only about a third of a mile and still in my boot, I had no pain and actually started walking semi-normal again. It seems (as long as I monitor it) walking on my heel is behind me now and I can gradually start flexing and stretching the arch to the toes. Within seconds the smell of the wet asphalt, newly watered shrubbery and fragrant flowers filled my head. It was almost as if the torrential downpour in Golden Valley last night was a sign from nature, clearing away all the smoke in the air. Things that are broken, burnt or hazy will be become new and clear again with some care and of course, time. It’s ironic to think of all the epic runs I had this year a third of a mile walk around the block could be so thrilling. I was moved by the walk, so much so at 1am I woke up, got out of bed, grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled some notes.

I awoke this morning feeling fresh for the first time in months and hopefully ready to change my perspective, I looked at my notes tucked into my wallet before I did anything this morning.
October 25th
Burning Man
My two buckles
Nelson Family Clan

I've written down good things in my life (in no particular order), the things of which I am proud. Not everything of course, after all I did this in a, just awoken stupor, but the big stuff none the less. None of those things are perfect, but they all in their own way have helped me create a wonderful life. I've had trouble recognizing the good in things for a while now. I’m choosing to change; I’m going to look at this list once a day for a month first thing when I wake up, before the reality of the trials and tribulations of life creep in. I've found myself over the last 6 months or so not smiling and generally not terribly happy. I've allowed life’s issues to bury my positivity; I once sought the good in everything. Lately I dwell on the bad, unable to see the light.

Last night I was reminded of perspective. I could only walk a third of a mile, a relative blip on the screen compared to the 30+ mile jaunts in the wilderness of early in the year. I could (and lately would have) dwelled on the fact that a third of a mile is insignificant to me. The thought process of “all I can do is a measly third of a mile” would have been my go to thought. Instead, half way through the walk right after I said to Dominique “I’m glad we did this” my perspective changed. I’m not sure why, but the thought “I get to go around the block with my three favorite beings” dominated my mind. It was a perspective epiphany of sorts I guess.

I thought this foot thing was going to be 3-4 weeks, which in hindsight was idiotic and based solely on the amount of pain not severity of the injury. It’s been 4 weeks and I’m nowhere near close. It’s clear now; we are talking more like 6-10 weeks (you what I was actually told, but chose not to believe). 2 weeks from now I was hoping to do a double circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe, I had hoped to have been coming off the heels of an epic 130 mile solo journey to my most cherished city in the world, instead I've been blessed with time. Time to get my house in order; I've been amazingly productive on that front. Time to help my fiancĂ© with wedding plans; time to sleep in on weekends and time to learn how to ride that road bike I bought the last time this happened, a massive change in perspective indeed.

I love to run and run far. I miss my mornings on top of Peavine as the sun rises, for the first time since I started running in 2009 I could not run to my spot on Peavine and watch the hot air balloon races. I know those things will come back to me, hopefully I've learned that I cannot constantly push the envelope with my health. Because when I do, inevitably I will lose those things I love due to injury. 4 stress fractures, plantar fasciitis and a torn tendon in 4 years with 1.5 years being the longest I've gone without an injury is just not acceptable.  I do not have just myself to worry about anymore; I need to be healthy for my family. I need to step back from some of my selfish ways and start thinking about the how I can make this work. I need to stop doing what I want and start doing what is smart. If I’m to continue on with running, and achieving my considerably lofty goals, I have to make changes all over the place.

Life is a roller coaster and sometimes when the dips are long enough I forget that they will not last. I become cynical and negative. I make it hard for those around me to care for me, because I retreat back to my safe place. I think by looking at this list first thing in the morning I’ll be reminded of how truly fortunate I am. There have been times in my life when I could not write even 1 entry on that list, I’m blessed those days are gone. I know a lot of people who would struggle to find anything good going on for them right now; I am blessed to not have those problems.

I’ve got it good…real good. It’s time I started reminding myself of that more often and of course, cutting myself some slack. If there is one dominating thought I brought home from Burning Man this year it is this; the pursuit of perfection (ie my constant pushing of all things) is fine and dandy but you’ll always be disappointed if being perfect is the only acceptable outcome. I’m changing my perspective, it's my choice and that's the way it should be.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The End of the Rainbow

With my head down and ego bruised I finally made my way to the doctor yesterday.  Looks like I’ll be taking 3-4 more weeks off from running while my foot heals up from this Jones fracture. Bleh… BM run for this guy in 2013, maybe I’ll shoot for it in 2014. At this point it seems a little like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…..I can see it but I’m never actually getting closer to getting to it.
Lessons probably not learned (once again)…..
I should have gone to the Dr 4 weeks ago when I first felt a minor amount of pain; I Really should have gone after TRT when it hurt to run the next day, I REALLY should have gone last Wednesday when I fell after my first step out of bed. Stubborn much?

I probably should not have run so much for 8 weeks with a filled pack, 1 day a week probably would have sufficed not every run, or I should have ramped up to the full weight slower, maybe over 6 months.

So with that, I’m no longer sure what 2013 has for me in running. The wise move is switch to shorter stuff once I’m healed, we’ll see if I’m wise.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Running Home

Running....well that might be a stretch to call what I'm going to do running. More like walking briskly with some running thrown in there. I've finished the aid station chart for the adventure. Now it is starting to get real serious! I'm running from my house in Reno to my home on the Playa. The best I can estimate is 130-ish miles for the journey, in the heat of August smack dab in the middle of Nevada. Nearly all of it is pretty straight forward. Nothing terribly difficult to complete with the exception of the one 38 mile-ish section. In terms of terrain I would call this pancake flat. There are some rolling hills, but the entire course will have less than 3000 feet in climbing and a little over 3500 feet of descent.

From the last NDN Taco stand to Empire, it is roughly 38 miles with no water or aid of any kind. A completely exposed and shade-less straight line. This is the section that has prevented me from doing this run all these years. Last year I called the run a week before, because quite frankly I was scared out of my mind to attempt it. I got the last minute jitters. This weekends issues in the heat have only fueled the need to conquer this challenge even more. I'm not yet ready to write or talk about my first voluntary DNF, at mile 18 no less, of last weekends 50k, but I'm going over it in my head relentlessly. Heat has been the one true limiter for me in running. Every "hot" race I've entered, I ended up blowing up due to dehydration or some kind of salt issue. I can think of no way better to fix my heat issues than successfully completing this journey. Everything I do from now to run day will be to learn, fix, and obliterate my heat tolerance. I'm eager to see the growth I can foster in such a short time.

I have 28 days left to prepare, fear and insecurity are creeping in, but I believe this time I'm ready for the challenge. A 130 mile self supported run in the dead of summer across the Nevada desert,  daunting challenge that I look forward to slaying a month from now.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TRT 50k

This weekend’s exploits in the heat were a wake-up call. My definition of drinking a lot is obviously nowhere near enough. I've clearly neglected heat training so it's back to long sleeves and blasting the heater on the way home (while drinking lots of water!!!!!).

It's odd how much more you learn from failure than success. I made it 18 miles and had to pull myself from the race for the first time. It was the shortest trail race I've ever had, yet I probably learned more at Tunnel Creek Aid Station than all the rest of the Ultras I've run combined. I came into the aid station in rough shape from the left knee down. They got me back out on the course only to have the other leg go south on me a mile after I left, at that point it was a "turn around and tuck your tail between your legs kind of thing" day was done. In the end it was all user error, I did not keep up on my fluids and from mile 4 on I should have made that the priority.

Instead I boldly, foolishly, stupidly kept on chugging along drinking only small portions. By the time I realized how dehydrated I was getting, I was in between aid stations and set to go up the Red House loop. The turning point came just before the end of the sandy downhill. I tripped over a rock and both my calf muscles locked up sending me head first into the sand like volleyball player going to a diving dig. From that point on it was a 2mph slog back to Tunnel Creek.

I've got a lot of work to do in a month! My run to Burning Man is only a month away and this weekends result does nothing for my confidence of tackling the 125 miles on my own. More planning is needed for sure.