Thursday, October 25, 2012

9 Days to Go!

It has been 15 days since my last blog.........
This face looks just about how I feel......scared, nervous, excited, anxious, nervous, happy, excited and, did I mention, scared?

FYI:  if you are interested in "following" me via the internet during the race, they will have live tracking set up here:  

- I think you can look me up by last name, if not, my bib number is 165.  

Here is a fun idea, set your alarm and wake up at 2am (or step out of the bar you are in) and check to see where I am.  You will be in your warm bed (or a warm bar), I will have been running for 20 hours at this point.  I'll be out in the woods, in sub-freezing temps, at the top of some deserted mountain, with 30 mile an hour wind gusts.....AND LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

Also, you can "friend" me (Rami F. Odeh) and/or Heather F. Odeh on facebook, as long as she has a battery, Heather should be giving some pretty regular updates!

I have been writing pretty consistently for the past few weeks, but I just haven't had time to put it into the blog.  As an update since Napa (4 weeks out from race), I will share some excerpts from my recent writing.....

16 Days to go…… getting calm!

At this point in my training, I cannot believe I only have a little over 2 weeks before my 100 mile race! 

When I started seriously attacking my training program about 16 weeks ago, it seemed like I had all the time in the world!  Now it feels like the time has passed in a blink of an eye.  Definite metaphor for life!

With 4 weeks to go I had my hardest week planned – both in terms of miles and logistically (after all, as much as I might think I am a professional athlete – I am far from it and still have to be a husband, dad and business owner)!  The plan was a total of 80 miles for the week with 2 back to back runs of 30 miles, or 6 hours, each.

I had no illusions that this would actually happen as I had a camping trip planned with my son for Saturday and Sunday so I had to do almost all of the training in 5 days, instead of 7.  80 miles in 5 days?  OK for normal ultra runners, a big stretch for me.

I managed to get in 65 total miles before the weekend, AND I took Monday completely off – yep, 65 miles in 4 days.  Again, this is a pretty regular, tame week for most of the people I would  be racing with, but for me, it was a ton of volume in a short period of time. 

My two long runs looked like this: Thursday morning (my late day at work) I started running at 6am and ran for 5 hours (25-30 miles, not really sure but gave myself credit for 25 to be safe) down at a local park. 

This was one of the few days during this training program that I did not really feel like running:  physically I was beat, mentally I was not into in and spiritually I was a bit out of it.  The beauty of this crazy goal is I really didn’t have a choice, not this close to race day:  for all of my long distance efforts (Ironman, ½ ironmans, marathons, ultras) the 3rd and 4th weeks out are usually the hardest.

And most important.

So, I dragged myself out of bed, had some organic salami, cheese and a banana for breakfast (yummy) and hit the trails.  A friend was meeting me “sometime” during the run so I was looking forward to some company.

The beginning of the run was really tough.  It was actually a bit cold and I was under-dressed, it was dark and it seemed like everything in my body hurt, especially my lame old feet.

I pushed on and began doing my Rosary, which always settles my mind.  I try to only pray for others when I pray to Mary and it is good to get out of your own issues and think of those less fortunate.  As the run progressed (duh) I started to feel better and better.  In fact, by the time my friend showed up (I had been running for 4 hours) I felt fantastic and felt like I could have run all day (good thing, cause that is what I will be doing soon)!  Finished up, really could have done more without any problem but had to get to work. 

Feel confident in saying I was one of the few people in Atlanta that morning who did a 5 hour run before work!

The next day I had a night run planned with friends. 

Again, driving to the mountain bike trails we have been doing our night runs on, I was not into it.  Friday afternoon, exhausted from the week of work and training and really just wanted to stay on the couch and watch some really bad TV.

Again, that was not a choice at this point in the training.

Started my run at 4pm, planned on running till at least 9pm (again, meeting some training buddies, one of whom will be my major pacer in the race: Troy “B”).  Ran about 2 hours by myself, and, again “duh” felt great after about an hour.  This could be due to the training, or it could be that I was trying out some “No-Doze” that I will be using during the race – really worked I can tell you!

Ran back to the parking lot to meet my buds at about 6pm.  Funny story during the run, I had my cell phone with me so I could let them know if I was running late and I get a prank call.  Very funny, very well done and from a blocked number.  Turns out it was my 11 year old son, figured out how to make the number blocked on mom’s phone – cracked me up while running against mountain bike traffic – awesome!

I picked up my 2 friends and started lap 3 (they were about 5.5 mile loops).  Well, I thought they were both doing 2-3 more laps with me, so I went out at Steve “H” ‘ s pace.  Turns out he was just doing 1 lap so he pushed it, not a good idea for me to stay at his pace. I felt really strong but because of the pace I forgot to eat and drink much and I really paid for it on the last lap.  At this point it was dark, the No-Doze had worn off (I thought) and I was getting very down – physically, mentally and spiritually.

Again, lesson here – I really have to run from the front, especially during the race.  I am pretty easily lulled into too fast of a pace, especially cause I feel so strong right now and this is NOT a good idea.

Again, at this point (about 3.5 hours into the run) I was not hungry or thirsty, but I forced myself to have a snack.

Amazingly, about 5 minutes later I felt awesome!  Note to self, again…..stay fed and hydrated at ALL TIMES.

Finished with about 22 miles in 4.5 hours.

Another funny story about the No-Doze.  I was starving after the run so on the way home I called my wife and asked her to order me a pizza (yum).  When I got home I showered, got my feet on ice and started eating the fantastic pizza.  I actually finished the whole thing, probably the first time I have done this since college!

At this point it was about 11pm and I had to get up early go camping – figured I would just go to bed, well, sleep was not going to happen! 

Ended up staying up till 2am.

Up at 7am to go camping, had a great day and night with Ryan and the cub scouts – a bonus was that this campsite was so large and we walked to so many different events, I could add a few miles to my training log on a day “off”.

Because of the lack of sleep Friday, I actually had the best night’s sleep I have ever had on a camping trip and woke up Sunday feeling nice and refreshed.  Ended the week with a strong 8 mile run down at the River, felt effortless. 

Total: About 900 minutes of running - about 75 miles (or more, not really sure as I estimate mileage based on time running) to cap off the most running I have ever done in a week in my life!

Praise God, still no major injuries or problems!

12 days to go! - Tapering!

It is Monday morning and I am coming off my first of 3 “taper” weeks before my big event.  The taper plan looks like this:

Week 3: total of 35 miles (about 50% of week 4), long run no more than 15 miles

Week 2: total of 50 miles total, long run no more than 15 miles -- I know, strange, but my “coach” – in quotes cause I don’t actually pay him, he just gives me advice here and there via emails and texting – a good friend to say the least – has been doing this type of taper with his Ironman athletes and it is working well.  Huge drop 3 weeks out, bump back up 2 weeks out to keep fitness high and eliminate all the “funkiness” that occurs with a big taper:  tight muscles, heavy legs, depressed and anxious Rami, etc., and then virtually nothing the week of the race – just short runs to stay loose.

Week 1:  4-5 runs, long run no more than 8 miles and done early in week.

So, last week I stayed true to the program, ran only 4 days – 6 miles, 8 miles (night run), 6 miles and a very fun 13 miler with friends on Sunday.  About 35 miles total if you include hiking around with family on Saturday.

How am I feeling?  Physically I feel great.  Still having foot pain but it is totally manageable.  Legs feel good, body is tight but that is normal.  Mentally I am getting a bit edgy, not so much about the training or the physical side of the race but about the logistics of a 100 mile race!

In the next 12 days I have to coordinate: 

    1. Work coverage for the days I will need off cause I cannot walk after the race
    2. What goes in my “drop bags”
    3. What I will carry during the race
    4. What my pacers will carry
    5. What my crew will have
    6. How much pizza I have to order at mile 95 if I make it to the finish J

I feel very good spiritually.  I feel that God has this situation all in his hands and will bring me what ever it is that I need on November 3rd and 4th.  Of course, I am praying he brings me a wonderful day and amazing religious insights.  However, I am willing to accept and learn from whatever he decides is best for my path – even if that includes 30 hours of suffering and misery, or a dreaded “DNF”, or 15 hours of joy followed by 15 hours of suffering. 

Your will be done……