Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Reality Sets In

The Tahoe Super Triple…..  124.6 miles run over three consecutive days (26.2+26.2+72.2) is next weekend.  Yes, I am nervous…. there is no other way to put it.  I keep getting asked “are you ready” and I honestly do not know how to answer that.  I have never done this before and I have no idea as to whether I have prepared properly or not.  Over the last few months I have read everything I could and have asked a lot of questions in hopes of readying myself both mentally and physically.
The training has gone pretty good.  Though the Pikes Peak Marathon did not go great, the preparation for it helped tremendously in building my fitness and endurance.  I left Colorado bloodied and bruised, but luckily I had no major injuries or issues that impacted my training.  I was surprised at how quickly the soreness and the various aches and pains dissipated.  What didn’t go away for about 10 days was how physically drained I felt!  I eased back into training during the week immediately following the marathon with a lot of walking and one 30 minute run.  The next weekend I did a low mileage run with our TNT team on Saturday and then a 16 mile run on Sunday with Carol, Karen, and Bruce in preparation for the Nike and Chicago marathons.  When I got back from that run I showered, ate, lounged, and slept the rest of the day away.  It was just what the doctor ordered! 
During the week of August 30th I still felt sluggish but did two 8 miles runs to start preparing for the next training challenge…. 3 long runs over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.   The three Labor Day weekend runs were designed to mimic the challenges of the Tahoe Super Triple.  My goal was to stress my body with minimal sleep and progressively longer runs each day of the weekend.  On Saturday, I got up and was on the road shortly after 5 AM.  I ran from our house in Grayson out to Suwannee areas where we train with TNT.  I did not make it to where we meet for our group training session so Marie picked me up and took me to the park where we meet.  I had run almost 16 miles at that point and then ran another 5+ miles with our TNT team for a total of 21 miles on Saturday.  That night we went to a TNT fundraiser in Buckhead and did not get home until late. 
The next morning I got up at 5 AM and was on the road running at around 6 AM.  On Sunday I ran on the roads around Grayson and eventually worked my way to Tribble Mill Park where I was going to meet the Sweet Rie for a long hike.  I covered about 21 miles in 3:30 minutes running from our house to the park.  Marie and I then hiked the trails around Tribble Mill Park for 2 hours and added another 6 miles for a Sunday total of 27 miles.  On Monday I got up at 3:45 AM, got my stuff together and then drove over to the Suwannee Creek Greenway area where I was going to meet Beth at 7 AM to run 20 miles.  I got there early to knock out as many miles as I could before she arrived at 7 AM and ended up running just over 9 miles before she got there.  We did various loops through the neighborhoods and parks in the area for 21 hilly miles.  I ended up with 30 miles for day that I covered in just over 5 hours of running time.
The good news about the three long runs is that I felt good each day.  The 2nd day started slow but I felt better as the morning went along.  I experimented with different foods and fluids to evaluate various fueling options that might help for the 72 mile leg of the Super Triple.  In addition to gels and PowerAde, I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, drank meal replacement drinks such as Ensure, and tried electrolyte replacement tablets.  Based on how I felt I think I have a good feel for what drinks and foods may help over race weekend.  
Since Labor Day weekend I have been slowly tapering down.  I have continued to run 4 to 5 days a week.  Last Sunday I ran 18 miles with Carol and Karen and plan to do the same tomorrow.  Starting Monday it is a serious taper until Friday.  I plan to run Tuesday and Wednesday of this week for about 30 minutes each day….. just enough mileage to keep these old legs and body loose and ready for Friday. 
I am working hard to get ahead of work commitments and to start getting everything together for the trip.  With less than a week to go I am feeling very antsy and nervous.  I keep running through the list of things I need to do, or buy, or set aside.  I keep going through the various scenarios I may face during the race and what I plan to do to deal with it.  As you can see, I may be OK from the training side of things but mentally, I am a wreck!  As a coach with TNT I preach about doing all you can do to control the variables you can and be ready to adapt to those you can’t.  Not having done something like this I do not know what all of those variables may be….. The weather; running at night on a four lane highway with minimal shoulders; traffic and careless drivers; being sleep deprived; having tired, aching and swollen feet; the mental and physical ups and downs I will go through; the fueling and hydrating challenges in the later miles of the race; not to mention any of the general issues we are always at risk of getting such as muscle strains, blisters, and the most painful of all--- chafing in areas that should never get chafed. 
Yeah…. I am nervous and chatty.  Race weekend cannot come fast enough…. Especially for the Sweet Rie who is getting tired of hearing me obsess about the planning aspects of the trip and run and of all of the items I am buying…. New tights, reflective lights, blinking lights, and new shoes (oops she does not know about those yet….).
Have I mentioned that I am nervous?  Oh, yeah…. Maybe a few times…. To help keep my sanity I will update by blog throughout the week to help control some of my nervous energy.  I will discuss some of the planning I have been doing, sharing information about the course, and our trip.  And of course, Marie and I will provide updates throughout the Super Triple.
I’m nervous (sorry…) but excited about what the next week will bring.  This trip represents months of planning and preparing and though I am looking forward to the mental and physical challenge of the Tahoe Super Triple, the main reason I am doing this is to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I am doing this by asking you, the readers of this blog and the friends and family on Facebook to make a pledge of 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, or one dollar for each mile I will run next weekend.   A pledge of any amount will help in the fight to end blood cancer.  If you are interested in helping by making a pledge, please see the link below to my Leukemia and Lymphoma TNT website to learn how you can help.

Thank-you for your support!!