Bring all up to date, probably this is the conclusion of the IMTR training arc. We reached the race weekend. As normally, there is not much happening in the last week before the race.
As some already know, I wrote ahead and not really much in real time. I wrote this at the end of training week 7 and before begining of week 8. I won’t report on week 8, because I don’t want to hold off the race report for 2 weeks after the race. So I am skipping a week to bring everyone to real time. Tomorrow will be race day! Hopefully race report will follow soon after.
Supposingly, I should already reach my peak training a while back, maybe at week 5-6. However, I was not peaking then. Week 7 / 8 should have been the tampering period. But tapering doesn’t exist in my vocab. Which means, I am just a few weeks behind too. Ideally 10-12 weeks for training would have helped for this race. I have been pushing my training cycle shorter and shorter. This time I am in trouble for having an overly short training.
Main question is what must I do to get ready for the race day with the little time left. I think I have to focus on food a bit more. The strategy is to eat (sugar (gel) pack or something like that) just before the couple big hills. I need to put those in a drop bag at Skull Gap (mile 15-16). I need to prep some sandwiches. I need maybe leave a couple Gatorades. Races usually provide sport drinks but they usually either overly diluted and lack enough punch for me.
I probably need to eat something by the time I reach Hurricane Gap. When I come by Skull, pick up some food to carry along toward Hurricane Gap. Race day, pack light, maybe 1 L of water. Normally I carry 2 L. Don’t spend too much time at Aid Stations. Do Quick in-and-out.
These 8 weeks, I did three (on site) training runs (two of them were reported), one of them was a secret run I did last weekend, not sure if I will report on that. The first two training runs were productive. Not any particular reason that the third should remain a secret, but I don’t feel like writing about it since there are so much other things on my mind. Also Because I should have been tapering, I don’t want tell the world I went and did a double 25 mile run. It is like a last minute rush to put in as much as miles as I can. You all know the body doesn’t work like this. It is what it is.
Like what I wrote in the last post, I wish I started my training a bit earlier maybe in early June, I am a few weeks short for this race. In June, I was a little too discourage and tired after the MMT saga. I did a marathon but that was not much as a goal for the IMTR. The break before the marathon and after provided a nice change of pace in my 6 years of constant training.
My summer training did not really kick off into a higher gear like last year. I could blame it on the summer heat. We had some serious heat this year. It was a combination of things. The after effect from MMT was still lingering on me into the summer. I know I should get over it. Plus, my body generally was not what it used to be. I got exhausted easily. I did an ultra in July, Catoctin (8 hr for a 50k run). It was a good run for me, but timewise was not impressive. It could be maybe a sickness like lyme or covid (a long term effect of covid-19, though I don’t believe, I ever gotten it). It is frustrating to be constantly out of breath. I could not really kick into a hard run.
It made me wonder is it me? Is it of my lack of training? There is nothing to compare myself to. Do I compare to 6 years ago before I started running, or to last year? Or even 6 or 3 months ago? At the MMT I was considered stronger than now. I pulled a 50 mile then quite well whereas many around me were dropping off like flies. I don’t call myself to be strong now. Every season is new and this season hits me like a curve ball.
What was the Goal again? Reminding myself, I signed up IMTR to challenge myself to run faster. The Distance itself is not a problem for me. I can do a 50 mile today and any given weekend. However, I don’t usually have the ability to run it under 12 hours. This whole training was to step it up.
Evaluation. The true evaluation will be at the race itself. Honestly, my fitness level is pretty much at where I started 8 weeks ago. I might got a bit better. I talked of being easily exhausted, I think I improved a bit. It could have been worse. Honestly do I think I can run it under 12? I think I can do it in 12:15 as of today. Yes it is very close. 15 mins is all I need to make the cut. This is just a prediction.
I looked up my last year time. My pace was 14:28. For this race I need to run at 14:20. So I finishing in 12:15 is about right. Last year, the last guy came in around 12:12. I hope I won’t be the last guy, but even if I am, I need to beat 12:12. I am glad, the person was not DNF/DQ for coming in after 12 hrs. Some race is strict (e.g. Devil Dog), one second late would mean a DNF. There is hope for me.
A lot things will need to work right on race day. I do hope against hope, to get it down to 12 hours. Praying for a miracle. I felt I should be able to make all the cuts except the finish line.
I was hoping the whole deal of training would give me the confident to say, I could run it. However, honestly I can’t say that. Readers will have to wait till my race report to find out.
Looking ahead – IMTR isn’t the end all. I made a leap of faith to sign up for the Devil Dog 100, and it is hitting home. IMTR is kind of a prep for a later race. A small prep in getting me ready for DD100. A hundred mile is always a challenge especially the Devil Dog. I won’t go into much detail on it, except it requires the same type of speed I need for the IMTR. It is a nice lead into it.
Plus I added a couple races to my fall schedule. I will write about those coming up. I am so excited about them. (meta: I know the current theme broke my site, and links to my race schedule and other pages are gone, sad!, I will fix it soon) My schedule is still there for those who know how to find it.
I mentioned a secret training run. In my last post, I was on the fence of whether to go to West Virginia to run the Moonlight on the Fall Marathon or go for this secret run. In the end, I did not go to West Virginia, but instead went to Damascus (VA) to run once more on the IMTR trail. I know with so close to the race, no amount of training will help. I went because if I had stayed at home, I probably would skip out on any hard training, like I did the last couple weeks. Also, I miss seeing the mountains. So I went away quietly to do this run. Also I fear if I announced it, I would become stage fright and back out. It was a course preview. I did the same loop of the 1st training run on both days. I also helped mark part of the course. I felt good to contribute back to the race.
Lastly, I combined week 7 into 8 because there were not a lot to say. My week (7) has been pretty bad, in term training. There was always something needed to do. Did I mention I needed to trim the brushes? And that took over my whole weekend and it was frustrating chores kept getting in the way of my training! I was angry about that of how much time it took me and it is still not done to my liking. If I have the money, I would hire a gardener/ landscaper. I know, I’m just venting here.
I could write more about my secret training run, the good, the bad, and the ugly. There could be so much to say. I like the mountains, the alone time, the companion I had while marking the course. No bads…but this, I ate something bad the night before, and I had diarrhea in the middle of the run, and it was ugly. I didn’t have a stomach ache but fluid just decided to flow out where they not intended to flow and without warning. I literally pooped in my pants while running. No toilet paper was enough to contain the mess. I had to get off the mountain, and made a beeline to the hotel to clean up and then get back out on the trail. My car smelled like poop. Luckily I had a towel with me and that saved the seat. I almost thought my weekend training was toast!
For future posts, a thought came while driving to Damascus. And a long drive it was, I started hallucinating from sleeplessness the last 5 miles, but we won’t talk about that. I like to share my running experience because to let others see my “glory”. Maybe that is running high. I had a lot of thinking over the weekend. I want so much for others share in my joy. My runs are the best about me. It mean so much to share them. I had a nice thought on a passage in John. Don’t mind me if this doesn’t make any sense. It is for maybe a future post.