A few weeks after I finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race, I received an e-mail telling me that my Official Pictures and Video are ready to be uploaded. I was surprised to receive such message, most especially, when such documentation service from the Race Organizer had provided such to all the Finishers for FREE! This is the beauty and advantage of the Revel Races being held in the US. Most of their races are downhill, lesser in number of participants, Boston Marathon Qualifier, cheap as compared to others, no lottery, and free pictures/videos. They have also high quality “swags” like Finisher’s T-Shirts and Medals. At one time, they gave a Free Pair of Goodr Sunglasses.
The following is the video of the Race and it is personalized for me as a souvenir for the race. It is unfortunate that the 2017 edition was the last edition of this Marathon Race in Azusa, California. The Race Organizer had transferred the venue to Big Bear, California and I missed to join it last year.
Thank you for watching this short video. And thank you for dropping by.
As I was browsing on my past posts/stories in this blog yesterday, I came across with this “insight” which I have written on February 14, 2014 (Valentine’s Day) and never was able to publish it in this blog. I was wondering what could be the reason why I was not able to post this as this post answers the BIG “WHY” I have been to ultramarathon and thus, creating an iconic Ultramarathon Event in the country which is the “Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race”. And this is my insight as an ultra marathoner (road and trail) and a Race Director and Organizer of Ultra Running Events which up to now is still true and applicable up to the present.
It is almost SIX years when I started to float the idea of conducting an ultra marathon race in the country and in this year of 2014, it will be the 6th edition of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race. On hindsight, I have been thinking why I organized this kind of road running event and slowly made it as something to be proud of among runners in the country.
It all started when I saw a website of a marathon event that is named after the Bataan Death March which is being held in the desert of White Sands, New Mexico, USA. I saw this website when I was still in the active service in 1999. After a year, I implemented the same concept of the race among the units of the Philippine Army and made it as a Team Competition to include the US Army & Marines contingent based in the country. Although the race covered only 25 kilometers of the Bataan Death March Route, it became a success even if we did not ask for any Registration Fees from the Team Participants. It was simply sponsored by the Philippine Army, through my Office as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Education, G-8. In simple terms, I was the Chief Trainor & Educator of the Philippine Army nationwide!
If I can still remember it right, I only gave Trophies to the Top Three Teams and there were NO Finisher’s Medals and Finisher’s T-Shirts. Our office and my staff gave packed lunch to all the participants and we parted ways as happy competitors and runners. In the same manner, our civilian guest runners were just treated with the said packed lunch at the finish area.
Sadly, when I got transferred to Mindanao for a Combat Commander position, my BDM efforts just died and forgotten.
Fast Forward. Retirement and the Freedom to Run in any place and time of the day gave me a more focused attention to the Ultra Races that I’ve organized in the past. Of course, my being a Retired Major General of the Armed Services had also helped me in my coordination with the AFP, PNP, and the Local Governments. And whenever any of my ultra races is being concluded with all the finishers enjoying their triumph and victory, I always get a heart-warming feedback of “Congratulations For a Successful Event!” from the other runners, friends from Facebook, and from the thousands of followers of my blog.
It is a very humbling feeling when I get such feedback and it is already enough “compensation” for the preparation, coordination, risk, sleepless and tiring moments just to be able to monitor the safety of the runners and the progress of the race.
Personally, success to me in every race, is NOT in the number of registered runners. I would be happier if I have lesser in the number of runners whom I personally know and who would stick to follow my Race’s Rules & Regulations. Furthermore, I would be happiest when I hear stories among my runners on how they help each other in order to finish the race. These ultra runners whom I usually call “the usual suspects” are aware that the registration fee that they have paid to join the event is NOT enough to pay for my “Talent Fee” for seeing to it that they are safe and secured during the event.
But, most of the reasons for a Successful Event is attributed to the Competing Runner himself/herself. In ultra races, a runner can not “fake’ his performance backed with lackluster training and preparation. It takes a lot of pounding on the ground, discipline, determination, positive attitude, and critical problem solving if an ultra runner wants a decent finish in a race without any injury or “issues”. So, if a runner registers a Course Record Time for the event, it becomes a motivation for the others to work harder in their next training & preparation. Success for a runner is being able to overcome one’s inner demons, pain , suffering, and other personal challenges!
Success does not mean profit or money that a Race Organizer would earn from each event. Since I am not being backed up or sponsored by any Corporate Entity, a runner’s registration fee would be spent for the Podium Finisher’s Trophies, Finisher’s Medals, Finisher’s Shirts, Certificates, Race Bibs, Tarpaulins, Payment For Marshals & Event’s Staff, Ambulance/Medical Team Services, Planning & Coordination, Timing Services, Food For Runners at the Finish Line, and Travel Expenses. Sad to say, I am not being paid for being the Race Director!
To tell you the truth, I am getting richer from my “tax-free” monthly pension and “tax-free” interests of my investments and rentals to my properties. Even without organizing or directing ultra races, I will be happy and contended sitting on my rocking chair while listening my music from my Bose Sound System and scrolling/reading your Facebook status on my MacBook Air and Apple iPhone!
Success, therefore, to me in races is developing friendships and maintaining those friendship so that in every race, a runner would learn something for him/her to be a better person. Better would mean stronger, healthier, more matured, more friendly, and have a better outlook in life.
The highest level of success is when ones experience as a Runner and Race Director/Organizer is being shared to others and such experience becomes an inspiration to emulate. And this blog has that main objective to share my experience to everybody.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and have the motivation to challenge yourself to run and adhere the outdoors for the greater good of a healthy lifestyle. Please subscribe to this blog for more updates and stories. Thank you!
It was accidental when I saw a post on Facebook of a certain runner with a quotation from a person with the name “Stu Mittleman“ that intrigued and caught my attention while I was drinking my hot coffee in one of the mornings last week. I immediately “googled” the name of Stu Mittleman and I was shocked to find out his feats and accomplishments in the world of Ultrarunning or Ultra Marathon.
During his popularity in Ultra Marathon, he set world records in single stage and multi-day running events. He even set a Official Record in Running Across America during his days. But what got my focus and interest in him is his book which he had written and entitled: “Slow Burn: Burn Fat By Exercising Slower”. I immediately browsed on Amazon about the availability of the said book and after reading its Sample feature, I bought its Kindle Edition for $6.99 and read every chapter of the book.
Since last week, I have been applying his training principle and techniques in my Long Runs, Tempo Runs, and Recovery Runs. His training principle is anchored on ones Heart Rate as expressed in Beats Per Minute (bpm). His Upper Limit of Heart Rate is computed as 220-Age X 0.85 and the Lower Limit of Heart Rate is computed as 220-Age X 0.70. Your Easy/Recovery Runs should be below your Lower Limit of HR; Endurance Runs should be in between the Lower and Higher Limits; and Speed/Interval/Anaerobic Runs should be above your Upper Limit.
At my age of 68, my Upper Limit is 130 bpm and my Lower Limit is 107 bpm. However, I have adjusted my Lower Limit to 112 bpm and my Upper Limit to 125 bpm after I have been following this principle for the duration of one week. For a typical one hour running workout, I would jog for the first 20 minutes within my Lower Limit of bpm; next 20 minutes is done in between my Lower and Upper Limits of bpm; and the last 20 minutes will be within the Lower Limit of bpm. One can adjust the period of time for each phase of the workout by shortening the first and last 20 minutes to come up with a longer duration for the 2nd phase of workout.
As a result by following this training principle and technique, my recovery in between my daily workouts were faster and my runs were more relaxing and comfortable. My breathing is easier, most specially, if I am running outside my backyard using my Buff as my mask. I could also focus more on listening to my body and have the pleasure of looking around my environment most specially when I am running along the highway.
On the nutrition side, I would start my runs without any fluid and food intake in the mornings and could last up to 2-3 hours without food intake and with regular intake of water every 15-20 minutes during the run. The fats stored in my body would be the source of my energy throughout the workout. However, once I finish my workout, I would immediately have my food consisting of lesser carbohydrates but more on protein and fats. I think my waist size had reduced from Size 29 to Size 28 because of diligently following Stu’s training principle/technique!
I am highly recommending this book for those who love and passionate on ultramarathon races and timed/endurance events. This is also good for those who would like to start in walking, jogging, and running to improve one’s health and immune system.
Thank you for reading and please subscribe to this blog for more stories and updates!
After finishing the 2020 Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon (BUTM) 106K Race in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia on March 15, 2020, the Philippines was put on strict Lockdown due to Covid-19 upon my arrival in Manila in the early morning of March 17, 2020. From the Manila International Airport, I immediately went directly to my Playground, driving my personal vehicle, in the Province of Bataan which is 110 kilometers away northwest of Metro Manila. This is the place where I spent those “Lockdown” period/days as imposed by the Government due to the pandemic brought about by Covid-19.
Having surrounded with hills and mountains in my Playground and with a “Backyard Loop” once I step out of the door of the house, I maintained my daily training with the hope that the races where I registered would still be held as scheduled.
A new ultra trail race of KOTM (King of the Mountains) series in the Cordillera Region, Pulag 100K Ultra Trail Race, would be in its first edition on April 18-19, 2020, was supposed to be my next race for the year. But because of the prevailing situation in the country, the Race Director deemed it to be cancelled for safety reasons. Despite this situation, I did a “virtual run” on the date of the event in my Backyard Loop where I finished 50K in 11 hours and some minutes!
For the month of May, I was supposed to go to California, USA and join the 2020 Western States 100-Mile Memorial Day Training Runs for the said weekend. I made already my accommodation reservation and I was glad I was not charged for it. Also, I was glad that my travel reservations were not scheduled before the Lockdown was imposed.
By the end of this June, I was supposed to go to Europe as I was accepted in a lottery to join the 2020 Mont Blanc Du Marathon 42K Race in Chamonix, France but it was cancelled by the Race Organizer/s. I guess, I opted to have my registration on a “roll-over” for the 2021 edition.
Before the end of May, I was able to request for the refund of my registration fee for the Eiger Ultra Trail Race 51K as the Race Organizers announced on the earlier part of May that this event is also cancelled. It was supposed to be my second time to visit the Jungfrau-Interlaken-Grindelwald Region in Switzerland.
So far, those are the four Trail Races/Events which are cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation. I was fortunate that I did not plan ahead and spend some money in advance for my travel arrangements.
Some of my subscribers to this blog have requested me to feature Gear Reviews on the Apparel/Running Kit that I am using in my races, running workouts and hikes. And so for this year 2020, I am featuring my first Gear Review whose brand name is not so popular as a Sports brand name and it is considered as a brand for Casual Wear. This is the UNIQLO brand which had been introduced in this country few years ago and had expanded in almost all the key cities in the country. This is a Japanese brand and it suits to us as Asians.
For this post, I am featuring the UNIQLO HeatTech Crew Neck Long-Sleeve Shirt which I bought few weeks ago purposely as a casual wear, an inside shirt, for my Business Suit/Coat which I intend to use during my International Flights outside the country. Actually, I bought three (3) pieces of this shirt. I got the Dark Green, Red, and Blue colors. Each has a tag price of P 790, a price which is very much cheaper than any of the long-sleeve shirts with a popular sports brand name.
It says in its item specification that the shirt is light and warm but not bulky. It has cropped sleeves and stay hidden under shirts or jacket, if used as an undershirt when wearing under a jacket, coat or another buttoned shirt. The comfort features include bio-warming, insulating, moisturizing, moisture-wicking, anti-static, anti-microbial and self-deodorizing. The material of the shirt is stretchy and has a shape-retaining material. I got size SMALL and it feels comfortable to my body as it is not fitted like a compression shirt.
At noon time today, I went out from my house for a two-hour hike into the hills and along the slopes of Mt Roosevelt (the highest elevation in my Playground which is almost 2,000 feet above sea level). As a part of my training, I was carrying a backpack with a weight of 24 pounds of water bottled in four 2-liter bottles and an additional frozen water in one 1-liter bottle. I was carrying also some trail foods and a cellphone.
Having started at noontime, the sun was hot and the sky was without clouds, I was surprised that I started to perspire after two kilometers of intense hiking on a continuous uphill terrain. I usually start to perspire after running for one kilometer. But with the heavy weight I was carrying, I thought I would perspire after hiking a few meters from the gate of my compound. The shirt was very comfortable as I started to perspire as I was going up to Mt Roosevelt as I passed the distance of two kilometers. Even if the color of my shirt was in dark green, the feeling of my skin from the shirt was not too hot but it was cooler than what I expected. It was only after I reached the peak of a hill where the base of an electric power tower is located that I felt that I was drenched with perspiration. I reached this peak in 1:05+hours and I decided to have this place as my turn-around point.
I decided to bring down my backpack and bring out the trail food and my cellphone at the base of this electric transmission tower for some rest, hydration and ingest my nutrition. My UNIQLO shirt was entirely wet from my perspiration but I have observed that the damp of my shirt provided me the coolness to my body. After a few minutes of eating, drinking and taking some “selfies” from my cellphone, I started my hike again and back to where I started.
Even if it was too hot while I was on my way back, I still feel that my body was so fresh and refreshed by the damp shirt. The wet shirt has a cooling effect to my body and I felt I was not perspiring while I was hiking on the downhill and uphill. I finally reached the gate of my compound after 2:17+ minutes. As I removed the shirt from my body, I have observed that the shirt did not retain much moisture and it was very light as compared to other moisture-wicking shirts from popular sports brand names where they are very heavy once they are drenched with my perspiration.
With the price of 790 Pesos, the shirt has eight (8) colors: White, Light Gray, Dark Gray, Black, Red, Dark Green, Blue, and Navy. I am planning to look for a white color for this Uniqlo shirt in my next visit to their store.
With its cheap price, comfortability, and lightness when wet, I am highly recommending this Uniqlo shirt for Ultra Runners, whether they are on the road or trails.
(Note: I am NOT a Sponsored User of UNIQLO Products)
For the third time, I was refused to join in one of the UTMB Races for the year 2020. I pre-registered for the CCC (101K) Race where my prevailing earned ITRA points for the past two years are qualified. After looking for the list of accepted/registered runners from the Philippines at the UTMB Website, I found out that there are 14 Runners for the UTMB (out of 50 applicants); 6 Runners for the TDS (out of 7 applicants); 4 Runners (out of 15 applicants); and 1 runner (out of 5 applicants) who will finally join the UTMB Races for this year. I am one of those 11 applicants who were not lucky enough to be included among the CCC participants.
In the formal notice that I have received from the UTMB Race Organizers which was sent to my e-mail address, they have stated that they have implemented an updated entry process for the year 2020. The bottomline is that I have to apply again for the year 2021 with a bigger chances to be included in the list of participants. There is also another option where I could join without going through the lottery if I can finish the 100-mile or 100-kilometer races in their UT Races in China (actually, 2 races in China), Spain, and Oman. Since these UT races are qualifiers for the longer UTMB race, they will not be part of my option as I want to join the CCC in the near future, if qualified and accepted. But for now, Chamonix is gone in my mind as I have to wait for the pre-registration for the 2021 UTMB Races this coming December 2020.
My plan for 2020 is to make CCC as my A-race and the rest of the trail races that I have scheduled and planning to join are part of my ITRA points accumulation; preparation/training for CCC; and a way to visit other places where I have never been. As they say, “If Plan A did not materialize, there are still remaining 25 letters in the Alphabet!”
As a teaser, I have already registered to three (3) International Trail Running Events for the year 2020 and these races will be revealed as my blogging progresses from day to day. Of course, there are also Local Trail Running Events that I am planning to join as part of my training/preparation for these International Events. My non-acceptance to the CCC Race had given me a lot of options to travel to other countries and places that I have never been before. Hopefully, Chamonix will be good for me in the year 2021, if I still have the strength at the age of 69 years old.
For those Pinoy Runners who are accepted for the 2020 UTMB Races, congratulations and wishing you the best of luck. Train properly. Enjoy the journey!
This is my first post for the year 2020. I am sorry for my readers and followers to this blog that I was not regular in making or posting my stories about my races and training. I was concentrated in my daily posts and readings on Facebook that I forgot to publish my stories in this blog. Hopefully, the New Year of 2020 will change everything as I will make sure to make a regular post in this blog.
For the meantime, I would like to post the list of races that I have finished for the year 2019. In the coming days, I will make a story or Race Report on each of these races (except for those which I have posted already in this blog).
Boston Marathon: The 2019 Boston Marathon is the 123rd Edition of this Most Prestigious Marathon In The World. I was able to qualify for my age (61-65 years old) in the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race with a time of 3:46+ and I had to wait for two years to be able to join this prestigious race. I will post a separate story about my experience in the said race.
REVEL Mt Charleston Marathon: I joined this race two weeks after I completed the 2019 Boston Marathon with the thought that I could qualify again for the 2020 Boston Marathon with my present Age Category of 66-70 years old. I failed because of the heat after the 13-Mile mark up to the Finish Line. However, I will still make a detailed Race Report about this experience in joining a Marathon Race in Las Vegas, Nevada.
MILO Half-Marathon Race In A Suit: This could be a FIRST in the History of Running in the Philippines’ MILO Marathon/Half-Marathon where a participant would run in a Business Suit. I finished the race but I was not able to qualify for the Finals. I posted a story on Facebook and in this blog about this experience.
Lavaredo’s Cortina Trail 48K Run: After a year, I have to return to Cortina D’ Ampezzo, Italy to complete the Lavaredo Trail Course and finish the last 48 kilometers of the route. I was able to finish it with barely two minutes before the Cut-Off Time. This experience showed my tenacity and grit to finish this race. It was a wonderful experience and I need to share my story about this in my incoming posts in this blog.
The North Face (TNF) 50K Philippines: After three years of being absent in the Philippines’ Trail Running Events, TNF Philippines revived its iconic trail running in the country. I opted to join the 50K race to test my endurance in the month of October after having some break/rest after I have finished the Cortina Trail 48K in the last week of June. With not much of training and preparation, I used this race to evaluate myself and I was able to finish it within the prescribed cut-off time. More details of this race in my Race Report.
The North Face (TNF) 50K Hong Kong: I was one of the late registrants of this race and I think I was the only Filipino who came from Manila who joined this race. I guess, some of the local Filipinos who planned to join this race backed-out on the last minute because of the prevailing situation in Hongkong. I forced myself to join this race to evaluate my training and present status of my body if I can finish this race. With hardwork, patience, and grit, I was able to finish this race, two hours before the prescribed cut-off time. I was happy with my performance in this race and it provided me with a more positive attitude to join more trail running events in the future despite my senior age. For the sake of the Local Trail Runners, I will post a story about my experience in this race soon.
It is nice to be back in this blog as I promised myself to make a habit to post a story in this blog about anything that I could think of but the main focus will still be about running. Some of the future intervening stories in this blog will be about my hobbies, daily activities, and my collections. I promised myself also to write and post, at least, once a day on anything that I could think of.
Note: This is my 4th day not being able to update my Facebook Wall; not making any LIKES and COMMENTS in the posts of my FB friends. Presently, I am regularly posting my thoughts on Twitter and pictures on Instagram. Hopefully, I will transform this blog as my Facebook Wall.
Through my research on the Internet, I have the following data on the Oldest Finisher of the famous Ultrarunning Races in the World:
At the Leadville 100-Mile Endurance Race in Colorado, USA, Charles Williams holds the record of the oldest man to ever complete the race, which he did at the age of 70 in 1999. He was featured in the August 1999 issue of GQ magazine, which compared his training for the race to that of a professional football player. The race has a cut-off time of 30 hours. (Wikipedia)
At the Badwater 135-Mile Ultramarathon Race which is considered as the “Toughest Footrace In The World” in California, USA, the oldest male finisher ever was Jack Denness, at the age of 75 years old and he is from United Kingdom. He finished the said race in the 2010 edition of Badwater 135. The race has a cut-off time of 48 hours. (Wikipedia)
“Battling a 46:30 cutoff, 73-year-old Christophe Geiger of Switzerland crossed the finish line with just five minutes to spare. It was his fourth consecutive—but first successful—attempt at completing the race. The only participant in the Veterans 4 division, he became the oldest finisher of UTMB in its 13 years of existence, and was arguably the most admired and beloved person in the Chamonix valley this week.” (Runners World Magazine)
Nick Bassett, 73, finish before the 30-hour overall cut off at the 2018 edition of the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, he became the oldest finisher of the iconic 100 miler, crossing the finish line in Auburn, California, in 29:09:42 hours. Ray Piva set the previous Western States 100-Mile record back in 1998 at the age of 71. (Runners World Magazine)
Looking on the above mentioned data/information on the Oldest Finishers of famous Ultrarunning Events in the World, it is observed that all of them are at the age bracket of 70 years old and above. Obviously, the background of these runners are very impressive being myself as a marathon and ultramarathon runner. They are better, stronger and faster than me during their peak days and years as compared to my capability when I was younger. However, with the proper training and preparation, I could also have the goal to finish some of these races, maybe, one or two of them before I finally end my career in running. God permits.
I will let these ultra runners as my inspirations in my future endeavors in ultra running, whether on the road or trail. I am now 67 years old and I hope to run more years and be able to reach the 70s. It is time to be more healthy, more smart in training, improve on my nutrition, and consistent in my workouts. It will be a tall order to follow the footsteps of these Old Finishers but I know I can do what they have done. The process will be long, hard and challenging but it takes some guts to start and do something to attain such goal. I expect that there will be some failures and lessons to be learned from them but the goal to finish these races will be a priority. You will read my progress in this blog.
The following article is a repost from what Jason Koop, Head Coach of CTS Ultrarunning, had published in their CTS website and shared in the Social Media outlets. I have received a copy of this article in my e-mail as one of the CTS Athletes for the past two years. (Note: I am on rest and recovery up to the end of this year). I hope this article will be of help to future trail ultra runners who have plans of joining this iconic race.
Repost: Top 3 Hot Takes from the 2019 UTMB, CCC and TDS Races
As has been the case for the last few years, I spent the better part of a weekend following athletes around the (newly revamped) Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS), Courmayeur – Champex – Chamonix (CCC), and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) races. The races were packed with drama, success, failure and everything in between. From the front of the field through the final finishers, the mountain teaches us common lessons – sometimes the hard way – about how to prepare for and execute a great race.
Lesson #1- To win the race, you can be reasonably bold or just grind it out.
UTMB winners Pau Capel and Courtney Dauwalter days played out in seemingly opposing fashion, yet both ended up taking the top step of the podium. Pau took the lead early and never relinquished it, looking spry and springy all the way around the 170-kilometer course. Courtney on the other hand, quite frankly looked terrible the whole way. Normally a smiling and happy runner, she muddled, grunted and grinded her way to a 24 hour and 34 min winning time (which from a historical perspective is quite good).
As a quick comparison, go take a quick look at Update #8 and Update #9 from the final climb to Tête Aux Vents here- https://utmbmontblanc.com/en/live/utmb. It’s an easy compare and contrast of the styles from the winners of both races on the exact same climb.
What all runners can learn from this: There are several different pathways to the exact same result. If you are having a good day, take it and roll. Don’t get greedy with your race plan, but at the same time, if you are having a good day enjoy it and ride out the goodness, hopefully all the way to the finish line. On the other hand, if you are not having the best day and you have built up enough good fitness (as Courtney had), you should have enough resources to simply grind and tough it out. The day might not be all you hoped of, but you can still reach the finish line (and maybe surprise yourself along the way).
Lesson #2- Everyone has a bad day. The harder the race, the more the bad day is exacerbated.
Many of the top runners in the UTMB, CCC and TDS races did not have their days go to plan. Some of these runners ended up dropping out, while some ended up forging on for a respectable finish. Similarly, many of the mid- and back-of-the-pack runners we work with, and several I witnessed out on the course, were simply not having their best days. Although there is no easy ultra, the UTMB race in particular presents a wider variety of issues to contend with. The difficulty is compounded by the event’s length, starting at 6:00PM, running through the entire night right from the get go, copious amount of elevation gain, and the sheer energy of the Chamonix valley that drains the runners in advance of the starting gun. Generally speaking, athletes who got themselves into trouble in this race simply had a harder time bouncing back than those in the shorter (but still ridiculously hard) TDS and CCC.
What all runners can learn from this: If you are in a ridiculously hard race, do yourself a favor and play some defense early on. Aside from entering the race fit and ready, runners can do themselves a favor by running conservatively, taking some additional time at aid stations, having a good attitude, and – if there are any weather conditions – making sure you have enough gear to stay comfortable. All of these will give you a bit of downside protection for races where the penalty for failure is high!
Lesson #3- Multiple mistakes have compounding effects
Every runner wants to have a perfect race. Sorry to tell you, but those are rare. In a lifetime of running if you are able to scrape together a small handful of perfect races, consider yourself lucky. More often, ultramarathons are a series of problem solving exercises. Encounter some bad weather, move through it. Then, you will have a big, quad thrashing descent. After the descent, maybe your legs are giving you trouble. Your legs feel a bit better, then you have a monster climb ahead of you. Most runners can take each individual battle head-on in sequence by solving one problem and then moving to the next.
When issues pile on top of issues, the effect is greater than the sum of all the individual parts. I saw this unfold at the Beaufort (91.7 K) aid station during TDS. Nearly every runner from the front to the back of the field was tired at this point. CTS coach and eventual 2nd place finisher Hillary Allen (coached by Adam St. Pierre) even had the 1000-yard stare as she entered the aid station. As the day transpired, the runners arriving at the aid station complaining of one singular thing (I can’t eat, for example) would move in and move out quickly to tackle the next climb. The runners with a laundry list of issues (I can’t eat and my feet hurt and my quads are shot) took at least four times longer in the aid station and were moving at half the speed, regardless of where they were in the field. In this way, the runner who can’t eat but deals with it, then has their feet hurting and deals with that, and then has shot quads and deals with that, will finish far faster than the runner dealing with all three issues at once.
What all runners can learn from this: Dealing with issues during ultrarunning is inevitable. They are long and hard enough to present a host of problem solving opportunities. When these ‘opportunities’ creep up, don’t compound the problem by creating another one or not addressing the first. Address each issue as it comes up, when it comes up. ADAPT when necessary and slow down if you need to. It is far better to take a bit more time as issues creep up than continue to plow forward and create compounding issues.
I have always relished the opportunity to attend races as a coach, fan and support crew. These opportunities have always been ‘learning by observing’. The UTMB, CCC and TDS races were no exception. If you are reading, I hope you enjoyed the wonderful coverage of the event and some of these on the ground takeaways.