Thursday, September 6, 2012

9 Weeks to Go: Heat and Sleep Deprivation Training!

Last week was another new experience for me.  As I mentioned earlier, one of the suggestions from the 5000 different training plans for 100 milers on the internet included practicing sleep deprivation.  As the thought of staying up for 30+ hours, running for most of it, is one of the scariest things for me about this run, I figured practice might help!  FYI, I don’t believe you can really “train” your body to perform well when it is exhausted, however, you can train your mind, your spirit and your will to overcome the exhaustion and persevere!

So, here is an outline of last week / weekend training.  Mon – Wed were normal days, Monday complete day off, Tuesday 6 mile run, Wednesday CrossFit Endurance workout and very short run.  The weekend really started on Thursday. I ran 6 miles in the morning (hilly and slow) and 5 miles at night (flat and “fast”).  Went to bed about 11pm and got up at 4:15am for work Friday.  Trained with a client at 5:30am (light weight training workout) and worked a nice short day, ending about 3pm.  Like last week, I stayed on my feet from 3pm till 6pm, and then headed out to a new trail to meet a friend to do a night run.  I was very, very tired when driving there, but immediately when I started running I felt better.   This was a new trail for me (running, I have mountain biked here before) – Blankets Creek, and I started my run during the day when there were a lot of mountain bikers there.  Very, very interesting and a bit un- nerving.  The trail is so narrow, when you run or hike you have to go the opposite way of the mountain bikers and basically stop and get off the trail when they come by (they have the right of way).  It’s pretty easy when they are going uphill, but when they are blasting the downhills it got a little close a few times.  I had my music on and decided to drop one of my earbuds so I could hear them coming, that helped a bit.  Did about 5.5 miles in a little over an hour, lots of stopping slowed me down.  I then met Troy “B”, my main pacer for Pinhoti, to do another lap.  Fueled up with some carbs and caffeine, felt great and started 2nd loop.  I need to mention here that this night might have been the most humid it has been all summer – when we turned on our headlamps it was like you were running through a swarm of bugs there was so much moisture in the air!  Troy and I both sweat a lot.  OK, no one on earth sweats more than Troy, but I am close, so carrying water was a very good idea, even for only 5.5 miles.  2nd loop was actually much easier than the first – the trail was almost completely cleared of mountain bikers, and the ones that were still there had headlamps also so you could see them coming a mile away.   We did run into 2 guys riding without lights, that was interesting, I wonder if they made it back to the parking lot alive!  Finished 11 miles, loaded up on protein and carbs, and headed home.  Took a shower, had one beer (I was not hungry at all, not a good thing cause I had another run planned for Saturday morning) and went to bed.  The caffeinated gels and mountain dew I drank during the run kicked in and I didn’t fall asleep till after midnight.  Plan was to get up at 5am and start running again by 6am, overslept a bit till 5:30am and hit the trail by 6:45am.  So, over 2 days I got about 10 hours sleep.  Not a big deal for some people but I am a person who needs 8+ hours a night to function well, so I was DEFINITELY sleep deprived!

Saturday morning was even more humid than Friday night (side note; I learned what the dew point actually means:  it was 71 degrees out and the dew point was 70, so basically 99% humidity).  Plan was 5 hours at Kennesaw Mountain but I was done after 3!  The heat was really getting to me and I didn’t want to push too hard and get sick or injured!

Went home and passed out for 2 hours and then had an awesome weekend with the family – easy 5 mile road run Sunday AM and great day biking with Heather and the kids, and friends, on the Silver Comet trail Monday (very slow and easy). 

It was a good confidence building weekend in terms of back to back long runs and sleep deprivation.  However, I feel very far behind, not in total miles but in my long runs.  I have a 50 mile race (this will be my longest training run) in 3 weeks and I have not run more than 4 hours in almost a year – this race will take me at least 12 hours so we shall see how my physical, spiritual and mental training is really going!

Because I was running with others most of the time – and when I was solo I was dodging flying mountain bikers, I didn’t have any big religious moments this past week. However, I was able to pray more, even with others around, and that is a good improvement from last week!  I am really pushing hard to get some of my Catholic brothers out there with me, it would be great to be able to discuss the Lord, Bible, etc. while running – I will pray that this starts to happen soon.  Maybe when I cut my runs down to 6 miles from 25 more people will be willing / able to join me!  On a final note, since I am starting to get nervous and there are only a little over 8 weeks to go as of this writing, I reached out to my coach Matt “R” for some guidance as we get closer.  He tweaked my planned training just a bit and it gave me some confidence that I might not be as far off as I thought!

Until next week, yours in Christ,