I got 99 problems but my shoes ain’t one

Posted by on March 5, 2012

Last Sunday was my planned long run. It has been many weeks since I did a long run of more than 16 miles. In fact the 16 miles I did in AZ that caused my injured foot was the last distance over 10 miles. With clearance from the foot doctor just last week I was excited to get in a long run on the gravel roads. I wanted to use this Sunday’s long run as a test and confidence builder.

I set out on a new route that I have been wanted to start doing. I have been running a 10 mile version of this the past couple of weeks. I’d turn around at the 5 mile mark. Going the full distance would take me from my house out to a bar in Boonville, IA. I have biked there before on a few outings and I knew I could refill my wanter bottles there. The bar would make for a nice turn around point. I wanted to get in 20+ miles and the bar is just short of 10 miles from my house.

The weather was decent but not ideal. It was 28 degree F with light snow or possible ran forecasted. I set out with enough layers to keep me warm, two gel packs, a PB&J sandwitch and 20 oz of wanter. I have never eaten on a run before but I knew I needed to start as part of my ultra training. Today would be a good test.

I knew it was going to be an interesting day when I needed to slow way down on the first hill on the route. It is a gradual hill that is still within the city. It takes about 3 miles to reach the gravel roads that would take me out to Boonville and I was already feeling bad. I finally reached the gravel and set out knowing in another mile I’d hit the first nice gravel hill of the day. It is a double hill that hits you back to back like a double camel hump. I usually run up both of them before a nice down hill to the 5 mile marker in the run. I needed a quick walk on both the hills. I just did not have it in me today. Overall I still felt okay. I had a good mix going on the iPod so I just kept pushing forward.

Once passed the 5 mile mark it was all new territory on foot for me. It is amazing how much different a route is running it compared to bicycle. The road was decent except for about 1 mile of fresh gravel that offered no decent path or worn down area for a consistent pace. I took one gel at about the 6 mile mark. There were several long hills over the next 4 miles that took me into Boonville and my turn around point. I also eat half of my PB&J before entering Boonville. I found that I needed to walk and chew the half sandwich. Who knew that eating and running was so hard? I reached Boonville and stopped in the bar. I asked for a sports drink of any kind but they did not have any. I ordered a Coke and a Snickers.

Just shy of 10 miles and I felt pretty good. Other than being more tired that normal things were going well. I consumed about 14 oz of water on the way out and refilled the two 10 oz bottles I had on my waist belt at the bar. After finishing the Coke and Snickers I headed back out. I made a quick FB post of me in front of the bar to mark the location and quickly realized how cold I was. I needed to get going and generate some body heat to keep me warm. It had been snowing most of the way out there. Just a light flurry that was really nice to watch as I ran. The snow continued as I left the bar.

Not only was this my first long run in a few weeks but it was also the fist time taking my Altra Lone Peaks longer than 10 miles. I have had problems with my feet hurting on long runs and I purchased the Lone Peaks in hopes they would offer some much-needed confort with their big toe box. Back out on the gravel roads I hit the 10 mile mark and my feel felt great. It was a good feeling knowing that the Altras were doing their job and I did not need to worry about my feet. I can say that I am officially an Altramaniac after this run. I told myself that I needed to pick up a pair of their road shoes as soon as I can.

Around the 13th mile mark I realized how tired I was. The Coke and Snickers really did not do much for me. I ran all the flat parts of the gravel roads and found myself needing to walk for a bit on some of the big hills. I ate the second half of my PB&J hoping that it would help. Before I knew it I reach the point that I turn north on Jordan Creek Road. This is a long hill that I normally run no problem. But today I was dragging big time. The gravel was gone at this point and it was cement all the way home as I made my way back into civilization. I took my second gel and tried to do my best. My legs felt really crampy and I tried to run on the grass as much as I could.

I passed the mall and enjoyed the stops I needed to make at the lights for traffic along the route. I was about at mile 15 and I started to feel like total crap. I know I was not going to make a 20+ run today. I just focused on making my way back home. I needed to take a few walking breaks at this point. Around mile 17 I started to feel out of it, almost dizzy. With less than a mile from home I tried not to turn an ankle or something silly. I reached my block and needed to run into the park by my house to reach an even 18 miles. I was just exhausted. I also needed to use the bathroom.

I stumbled into the house and made a beeline for the little boys room. I couldn’t belive how bad my legs hurt. My legs were craming up bad. I can’t say that I have ever felt that bad after a run. I did not reach my goal of 20+ miles. I really felt discouraged but then again I knew if was going to be a tough day by the time I hit the first hill. It was pretty discouraging knowing that my ultra is just two weeks away. I think at this point I am going to drop to the 25k. The injury to my foot has taken a toll on my training. Not much I can do about that. I need to make a decision here pretty quick and shoot an email to the race director.

In the end the Altra Lone Peaks did what I needed them to do. I am sold, a believer, in the little start up shoes company. My body on the other hand did not perform very well. I ended up losing 6 pounds in 3 hours despite consuming a Snickers, 40 oz of water, 24 oz of Coke, a PB&J, and two gels. I am not sure if that is normal or not. I’d love to hear what kind of weight loss other go through. Maybe I did not drink enough water on the run? Maybe it was just an off day.

Here is the route I took with a handful of images I shot along the way. The run starts in the upper right corner of the route. Some of the photos did not get a good GPS fix so they are off route a little. I managed to see one decomposing deer and a possum that were worthy of a photo. You can click any of the stars on the map to see a thumbnail photo. You can also click the thumbnails below the map to see a larger version of the photo.

[gmap width=”100%” height=”600px” type=”hybrid” static=”false” zoom=”auto” control=”roadmap,satellite,hybrid,terrain,navigation,scale” photo=”true” photo_icon=”thumbnail” file=”http://www.persistenthunter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/18miles.kml”]

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4 Responses to I got 99 problems but my shoes ain’t one

  1. Ron Heerkens Jr

    Coke?! Wow, I probably wouldn’t have been able to move after that. Nice to see the Altra’s treat you well, but sorry you had such a bum run. Might not be what you want, but maybe the 25K is the smart choice at this point. Be aware unless you’ve run in drop shoes before there is a transition with the Instincts. I turned in 34 miles in 3 days and I feel great but it took a couple weeks for the transition before my feet and calves acclimated to them. I didn’t have as much of an issue with the LP simply because of the terrain.

  2. Ed

    I guess warm, flat coke is pretty common at ultra races. I read all the time about people drinking it when things are not going well. Sugar and caffeine in liquid form. I think the warm part is better for your digestive system over the cold carbonated stuff most are used to drinking.

    I have been running in 4mm drops for the most part up until the Lone Peaks. Ever after the 20 miles my calfs are fine. I did a lot of work in transition from normal 10mm drop down to the 4mm. That proved to be much harder than 4mm down to zero. With just a handful of run in the Lone Peaks my legs have not had any issue with the zero drops.

    I look forward to getting my hands on the Instinct in the next few weeks.

  3. Jay Austin

    other than the water issue, you didn’t eat nearly enough.
    try for 300 calories per hour until you’ve trained your body to get by on less.
    then during races give your body that 300 per again… 300 is a magic number, less and you’ll feel like crap-More and you might puke. Take the calories in at regular intervals – I go with 1 gel every 18 minutes during a race and stay away from other calories altogether. Water and salt tabs are my hydration choice …
    Ask yourself the question, “Would I hurt myself running a marathon in 2 weeks?” If you find the answer
    not NO then you should seriously consider bagging the ultra…
    Good news: you don’t have international airfare committed to your race!

  4. Ed

    Thanks Jay. I am clueless when it comes to eating on the run. I had a hard time eating just that PB&J. I had to walk to get it down which didn’t bother me. I am going to do another 20 this weekend and force myself to eat. If I puke from eating too much then at least I know what is too much. I am going to go Gu every 30 minutes and a couple PB&J just for something solid. I just ordered my Nathan pack today so I should have it before the weekend. I fell fine today so other than feeling like total crap on the run I am good to go.

    I am not sure I can bring myself to bagging it man. For some crazy reason I just want to get it done no matter how long it takes me. Worst case I will drop to the 25k since I know I can do that.

    Thanks again for the help. I need it!