Friday, September 5, 2014

All My Eggs are in One Basket and I'm Shooting for 50k from the Hip. MRTR tomorrow!

McKenzie River Trail Run is Saturday! 
I know, because I got an email reminder about bib numbers, bees, hotel shuttles, how not to get lost, and most importantly- where the food is after the race.

Am I panicked?
I've been through that over the last few days and am now past it. Dropping all three boys off at school for the first time ever has allowed lots of time to over-think things. ☺

I have asked myself a few times this week, "Why did I
sign up for a 50k?".

Lord knows I am probably not an endurance monster! My 1 mile PR, while training for 10k, is better than my marathon PR while training for marathons. By all indications, this 50K is the distance I will perform the least well at.

But there is something that brought me to the point of signing up for an ultra.
Insanity? Quite possibly!

What it comes down to is this:
I like the fresh air on a crisp morning in the woods, or some tall mountain.
I don't mind the rain or mud, and even poison oak is tolerable (though I always regret it a few days later).
I enjoy running and training with friends when I can, and training for this has made a very good excuse for it!
I like the scenery and the idea that I could run all day seeing entirely new things.
I love trail running.
I so enjoy the long run when everything comes together.
I want to see a new stretch of trail I haven't ran before, and I am excited to meet other people who are as into this as I am.
I wish I could say I am toeing the line in tip-top shape, but I won't be. Multiple minor injuries put some big Xs through important days, and even weeks.

Originally I had planned to follow a detailed schedule, but with the flexibility to shift things around and enjoy other opportunities as they came. The plan fell apart almost entirely after the first 8 weeks when I had (first) a calf injury (which I rebounded in 5 days from), and then a foot injury followed right on top of that (I still have the foot issue, but it is getting better, slowly). Because of this, my mileage per week is lower than any other race I have trained specifically for, including the 5k (By a long shot!) .

Over the last 6 days, I have NOT been running, in an attempt to heal my left hip flexor, which got a serious thrashing at Silver Falls state park on the longest trail run I did in prep for MRTR 2 weeks ago.

It's been a difficult decision to rest it, but one that makes the most overall sense to me. I have put on my running gear a few times to go run, only to talk myself out of it. If it's tendonitis, I need my hip to be as fresh as possible to go as long as it can.

 I loved the back country horse trails at Silver Falls. 
The rocks keep you focused while running downhill.


And uphill...


 And behind the waterfalls, where we had to duck, and I am sure I lost GPS a few times.

Overall, we climbed over 4,300 ft. and descended the same in (at least) 23 miles - which took us 5 hours including standing around trying to get our bearings straight a more than a few times. My awe-inspiring trail running partners outlasted me and I think they were ready for another 5 miles! 

You can read more about the Silver Falls trail run and see the rest of the photos HERE. Didn't quite get around to that yet...☺
***

My goals/strategies for this race?
  • I would like to finish my first ultra without a DNF (C goal)
  • Finish without my gait getting out of whack, and smiling (B goal)
  • Run the last 15 miles faster than the first 16 miles (A goal) (this may be unachievable, but a net downhill course helps!) I will definitely be smiling if this happens. ☺
  • Overall, I want to stick to my fueling strategy and fuel early and often. I will be using aid station gels (Gu) at each station and have one 24 oz water bottle and another 24 oz Powerade (or Gu Brew if it's a refill) 
  • I'm strongly considering walking for a minute at each aid station, or on a nearby uphill portion. Using run-walk, I might be able to extend the distance I can go before my hip acts up (if it's going to).
  • I plan to stop to pee at least once!
You may notice there is no time goal. That was on purpose. I will turn on my GPS watch and try to ignore it. it might even get strapped to my pack.  
Survival is top priority!!

***

There are a few things that I believe I did right in prep for this race.
A) I learned how to hydrate on the go, and got a very good idea of how much I will need to drink for a warm day. One mountainous 15 mile run at Brice Creek (hilly and near 90F!) took nearly 3 hours and I drank ALL 48 oz of fluids just as I got back to the car. I will not skimp on drink. 
B) I backed off running when it was clear that running was contributing to injuries. I increased my chocolate intake, but I backed off running... 
C) I ran on trails. For a longer trail race, that's pretty important. I got in many good trail runs, several with some serious elevation gains and losses. I do believe I hit a trail at least once a week, if not twice a week, on the weeks I was able to run. The Eugene Marathon was not a trail run and I did have to do some road running to prep for that long run, so if I missed some trails it was around that time frame. 
D) There may have been some blank spots on the calendar, but I actually managed to keep a reasonable schedule of suitable long runs despite the injuries.  I cut out speed work when injuries surfaced, but saved my legs for the distance runs. In a way, I put 'all the eggs in one basket', the long run basket, for this one.
E) Lastly, and this may sound strange, I did not let my running be more important than things going on with family, or important events, or a friend's race. This is not so helpful for this 50k race, but life-balance and honoring others is something I personally need to continue to work on.

***
What I will be wearing:
Altra Lone Peak 2 shoes! Size humongous!! I have hardly worn these, had to send back the first pair because my toes touched the end. The sizing is small, so order up a half size! 
A pair of black Oiselle Roga shorts that I cut off and hemmed to make a shorter Mac Roga pair out of ;) . I am not on the Oiselle team, so I can do that, right?? 
A tank that is old, but i absolutely love the cut and length of. Again, in BLACK.  
A long pair of socks to defend myself from bees and thorns/ferns.  
My Orange Mud double barrel vest pack. Love it. Can't imagine not wearing it! It's so easy to refill and holds a ton. 
A hat.  Unless I find a good visor in anti-bee colors tomorrow.
Highgear (back up) GPS watch .. because it has enough battery life to make it for several hours and uploads files unlike my dying Garmin 305.  
DEET The all black theme and DEET  might work at keeping hornets and yellow jackets away. Runners have been advised that this is the season for stinging insects and many runners are stung at MRTR every year, often multiple times. I'm doing whatever I can to reduce the risk! 
***

One last thing.

I plan to distract myself during this very long run by meditating prayerfully. If there is anything you would like prayer for, please let me know (with or without your name)! I will write your prayer need down and pray for you. My wish is to run to glorify Him tomorrow!

Have any last minute warm-weather ultra tips?

I could use them. And a pinch of luck.

34 comments:

  1. hey raina - have a FANTASTIC time! I tackled my first ultra this past july and hit the "C" goal (thanks to a good deal of help from my ultrarunning sensei who stayed with me the entire 56k!). stick to your plan and really enjoy the run - which I already know you will do!

    if you could, please keep my friend Tony and his family in prayer ... they lost their college-age daughter/sister this past spring and I'm sure that they are hurting again during the back-to-school season.

    thanks for inspiring all of us to be and do better!

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement Patrick. It will be my honor to pray for Tony and his family. May their hearts be healed.

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  3. My hot running tip is to find a visor, but I'm not sure what kind of a difference it makes. Sorry about your hip. My right hip flexor has been bothering me. Not worrying about your finish time is smart!

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    1. I found one!!! It was a good move- so much cooler, it think. Thanks for the well wishes Tina. I'm sorry about your hip flexor. Things can be unsettling with injuries. I prayed for you today!

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  4. Hope the hip does the right thing Raina and lets you have the ultra you want. Good luck!
    I remember that waterfall - love Silver Falls Park. I like trail running, new trails, scenery, fresh air too. But race distances of 10k max!

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    1. Thanks Ewen! You just need to come back and see it again. My favorite part of the run was actually the beck-country horse trails. Deep woods!

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  5. It's hear, and you got to the start healthy - congratulations! Hope it is a great race and you have a finish you are proud of.

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    1. Thanks Gracie!! I see you are back to running too :))

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  6. I'll be thinking of you, BEST OF LUCK! You have some beautiful running scenery there.
    If you have a prayer to spare, I won't turn it down. Still injured at 15 weeks, and getting a little dark up in here...

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    1. I have you on my prayer list for this until you are back to running injury free. I know how hard it can be on the spirit to be tested like this. He has something good in store for you!!

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  7. Have a wonderful experience!

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  8. The hip issue hits really close to home for me right now. I have had to cut my running down to 3 days a week. Once I get through pacing my wife through this half marathon I will be taking two solid months off. May I suggest walking up hills and downhills to conserve the hip flexor. Also will be praying for you to finish and to finish strong. Please keep my hip in prayer and my family as well. I believe you will finish.

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    1. I thought of you many many times today, Jim, and prayed for your hip to heal, and for your family. When I read your comment on a G+ post, I realized you have been battling something big and frustrating.. Still, you have had some amazing runs this summer. Thank you for praying for me.
      You're doing a valuable thing by helping your wife see her goal. Your plan sounds smart, but I hope you are all "fixed" before her half is over.

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  9. Thinking of you Raina and wishing you a strong, meditative, pain-free race! xo

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  10. Thinking of you today Raina!!! Hoping you feel strong and alive out there!!! Gosh, of all the blogs I've ever read and all the pictures I've seen posted, this is by far my idea of running perfection......I would never touch a road again. That waterfall is breathtaking. Anyway, I'll be thinking of you. 50K-you beast:)

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    1. You can still come out here- we can rent a (rustic! no stove) cabin for 40 bucks! :D I still run on the road when I don't have a choice, but these massive trail runs are the cherry on top.
      I'm really glad to hear from you, Jenn. It means a lot.

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  11. Raina! I hope your race goes well. Have a wonderful time! And I'm feeling you on the hip flexor. Struggling with mine too. Good times. If you check this before you head out the door, pray for me in that area as well! :)

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    1. I am so sorry to hear about your hip flexor, Allison, but so happy to hear from you. I got the message late, but prayed for you when I had cell service, and will keep you in prayer over this until I find out you are better! XO

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  12. Go Raina Go! I hope you have a wonderful race and that everything feels good and you finish SMILING :) Hugs!

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    1. Thanks so much, Erin! You're so kind!

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  13. Leave it all out there, girl!! GO Raina! Embrace the event for all that it is:)

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    1. Appreciated, Adrienne! I gave it my best ♥

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  14. I hope you have a good time, and no hip issues

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    1. Thank you, Eduardo! It was unbelievably fun and hard. Will be posting about it soon. :)

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  15. Thinking of you Raina! and I plan to read up here soon since i'm considering doing a 50k myself!!

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    1. That will be awesome!! You have some great practice spots and potential races in your neck of the woods. :)) Bend altitude.. I'm jealous! Flagline 50k is in 2 weeks. There's also a half marathon. It would be a great practice run!

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  16. Beautiful pics! What's up with all the angry bees for your race?

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    1. Thanks Mike! I think they are just part of the charm :)

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    1. Glad you liked them!! Thanks so much :))

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  18. You really trained smart and prepped well. It is so frustrating to have injuries and discomfort in the mix but I bet all the rest will make that feel better. I have been through the hip pain and it was rough. I always love your pictures and how wonderfully sweet you offered to pray for people. I am certainly not where i should be right now in my walk, I'll take prayers any time it pops into your mind. I sure hope you love/loved your day and the run went great :)

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    1. I prayed for you today, Karen! Thanks for taking the time to read ♥

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