Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Pre-Howl Race Thoughts

My 14th Howl at the Moon 8-Hour ultra is coming up this Saturday. Only 4 days to go! I'm excited, but also realistic.  This will not be my best year.

Here are my statistics going into this race (13 previous races):

Total race mileage: 551.31
Average mileage: 42.41
Lowest mileage: 33.9 (2010)
Highest mileage: 47.06 (2006, 2008)
Best placing: 12th (2005)
Worst placing: 99th (2010)

My progressive goals for this race are simple and straight-forward:

1. Exceed 50km (31 miles)
2. Break 40 miles
3. Hit my "average mileage" for this race (42.41 miles)

If I break my average this year, I'll be very happy. Training has not gone well and my pneumonia in June knocked me out for about 4 full weeks. I'm back to regular running, but my endurance is simply not there. I'll be lucky to greak 40 miles at Howl. A 50km finish should be easy, but moving from 31 miles to 40 will be difficult.

My race strategy:

1. Keep the heart rate low from the beginning. Don't exceed 144 (about 89% lactate threshold, 67% heart rate reserve). Walk the hills. If I can keep it easy for the first 4-5 hours, then I _should_ have a little energy left for those tough last 3 hours. Walk when needed and don't give up.

2. Take in more calories. I'm relying on GU energy gels this time. I'll skip most, if not all, aid station food. Lost of gels (maybe one per 3.3-mile loop). Hopefully this will be easy on my stomach and also provide the extra calories needed to keep moving.

3. Leverage caffeine. Half my GU gels will have caffeine and I'll supplement with RunGum (caffeine and B vitamins) plus Tailwind sports drink (Razz Buzz flavor with caffeine). I can't stop moving if I'm jacked up on caffeine!

4. Wear my UnderArmour Heat Gear shirts. These technical running shirts really seem to work well in the heat. If we have a break in the humidity, they will wick sweat and cool me even better.

It's going to be fun to see all my ultra friends on the course. That's the benefit of a 3.3-mile loop you do for 8 hours. They pass you, you pass them. Lots of opportunities to chat. I wish all the Howl runners the best. Free beer is on me after the race...well, maybe that's Kennekuk's thing. Let's do this!

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