Saturday- 40 Miles- 5:58
If you want to perform well in a long race, you have to get out there and suffer in training. Today was all about that. This was number one of three LONG long runs I have planned before leaving Egypt.
My day started at 4:15 when I reluctantly rolled out of bed and began getting around for my run. I ate 2 poptarts (400cals) and had a can of mtn Dew (170cals) for my breakfast. Then I assembled the aid station gear: 4 bottles of water(1.5liter)- 2 with electrolytes in them, 2 just water, 5 12oz cans of mtn Dew, 17 packs of gel, salt tablets, body glide, sun glasses, my Montrail hat- with IPOD shuffle clipped on, and another package of poptarts.
At 4:45 in complete darkness with a nearly full moon straight over head I began running in the 80 degree heat with no shirt on and wearing my new Odyssey Montrail shoes. The first lap sucked as I hate running in the morning, but needed to get going to beat some of the heat. On the second lap the moon edged lower and the pre-twilight of dawn began. On the third lap the orange fireball appeared over the Red Sea as a perfect circle rising ever so slowly over Tiran island. By 7AM I noticed it was hot, an hour later it was freaking hot, and after 9AM It was over 100 degrees.
Because I burn easily I put a silk weight all white Patagonia T-shirt on at 7AM to block out the sun and donned my sunglasses at 8am. Man, am I gonna have a nice farmer tan!
Honestly the run went very smoothly. The hardest part was laps 2 and 3. Mentally the thought of having so much left and not really feeling very good was almost too much. But, this faded and as I ran loop after loop I felt better and better.
The goal of the day was to run for 6 hours. I hoped I could get in 40 miles and planned to force my stomach to process food/water as I went. I basically ran it like an interval session of 18 x 2.2 miles loops (plus an extra 0.4miles to make it an even 40) with a 90sec to 2minute refueling rest break between each lap. I ran with nothing, but at the end of each loop I would do one of three things: 1) Drink water and take a salt tablet and a gel, 2) Drink water with electrolytes in it and take a gel, or 3) have a full can of 170 cals of mtn dew.
I ended up ingesting the following:
165 oz water- 0 cals
60 oz of mtn dew- 850 cals
10 x 110 cal gels- 1100 cals
So total intake was about 1/2 the calories of the 4,000 calories expended....which should be the goal. My stomach did a great job processing all this until the last 90 minutes when it got very hot. I basically would be FULL and sloshing for about four minutes past the "aid station" and then 10 minutes in to the loop felt pretty comfortable. I never felt bonky or out of energy....so very happy with that. The last 5 laps my stomach felt full and uncomfortable most all the time. But, it never shut down on me. I was peeing about every 45minutes, and I did get some pretty impressive salt lines going.
My legs felt just as good in the last 2 hours as the first. In fact my 5 fastest loops of the 18 were the last 5. I even got crazy on the last one and ran 7:15 mile pace to insure I broke 6 hours. The limit is not going to be my legs...it is going to be my stomach.
The 2.2 mile loop has 3 hills in it: One gradual, one Short and steep, and one longer and steep. I walked the long one each lap (40sec to get up) and the short steep one about half the time (only 15 sec to get up). so I ran all but 60 sec of each loop. I figure the 40 miles has 4,000ft elevation gain and loss, and being that it is crushed coral/sand it gives you an extra bit of work on each slipping step. All in all it was a damn good run. I am not superman yet....but I sure am trying to be!
Relevant splits: 3:56 marathon, 4:38- 50K
Ooh and I almost forgot...it was 114 degrees when I finished.