Monday, May 18, 2015

Up Next

In less than 2 weeks, there is this:
Back in January, one of my athletes from California e-mailed me to see what I thought about supporting her for the legendary Comrades race in South Africa. I love crewing and supporting my athletes onsite for their races, yet I couldn’t imagine missing the opportunity to participate in this bucket list race.  It wasn’t but a few weeks later we were both registered and in cram training mode for this 90km road ultra. 

This is one of my favorite things in life and one of the the many things I love about my job. There is crossover between my own passions for experiencing different physical challenges, seeing my athletes try new and different athletic feats, and getting a kick out of all aspects of the journey along the way.

Although I haven’t been too vocal about my training for this race, I am extremely excited for a different kind of ultra.  Recognizing this will be far different from the Leadville 100 trail run which is pretty much all above 10,000 feet with less than 1,000 runners, I am just as excited for the Comrades' 54 miles on paved roads, starting at sea level (and going up... and up some more), with over 22,000 runners. Worlds apart, on many levels. 

My goals?  With any ultra run, my goals are to finish and to see what I learn about myself in the process. Of course, I am always in the “nutrition experimentation" mode. This also helps me help my athletes better. It may sound cheesy, but it’s the real deal for me.

My concerns?  Heat and feet.

You see, I live at 8,600 feet elevation and have lived at this elevation for over 15 years. A warm day of running for me is anything over 55 degrees. Humidity is low here, as may be obvious to those familiar with the Front Range foothills of Colorado. Given that my training has almost exclusively taken place here (except for 4 days in California), I will face some interesting challenges with the heat and humidity from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Sodium supplementation will be key for me as I have learned in hot and humid race conditions. Luckily, I was able to have my sweat sodium tested at eNRG Performance so I have a specific race day plan with my recent sweat rate test data.

Feet are another matter. If money were no object, I may have been able to find the perfect ultra road shoe but not so lucky in this department. Let’s just say that a paved road for 50+ miles is a bit frightening to my already gnarly feet. I’m sure this a concern for most ultra road runners but it is a new concern for me having spent my recent years mostly on trails. Thank gosh for body glide and duct tape… or just toughing it out.

Notice I didn’t say race day nutrition is a concern.  I’m not being cocky, but if you’ve followed me for a while, then you know this is something I pay attention to from the get go. My race day nutrition involves GenerationUCAN (which I have been using for 5 years), chia bars, and caffeine capsules (with the allowance of Coke as I see fit and maybe a few potatoes they serve on the course).

A quick and special advance thank you to a few of my peeps:
- the 3 coach-dudes I have sought guidance and advice from:  my Coach “Frank C.L.”, Coach Bob who has helped me with strength work, and Henry Guzman (who will also be doing his 9th Comrades this year. Yes, I said 9.)
- my running friend, Amanda, who has shared with me some long runs, even at 5am
- my Mom who is always supportive in her own Nervous Nelly kind of way
- my Husband to whom I forever grateful
- Marisa, you crazy gal, who planted the Comrades seed. We get to come back different people.

So, I am jazzed for this next adventure.
As my friend, Diane, said to me today, “May I always want to do this.  Whatever this adventure is.”  Totally agree.

-Dina

2 comments:

  1. What an exciting adventure Dina! Have fun. Can't wait to hear about it!

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  2. I just found your Blog Dina and best of luck to you. You'll do great and don't worry about the heat. The heat needs to be worried about you! Really, if you get some time before the race read Tim Noakes 2012 book "Waterlogged." As you probably know Tim is from South Africa and a lot of the research in the book comes from Comrades. If you havn't read it yet, you will be amazed.

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