Just a few final notes before I hop in the X-Terra and head south for North Carolina:
- I'm not sure if they'll be doing regular live updates on the website during the race, but the timing crew for Umstead is top-notch, so I'm guessing they'll at least have the results posted on Sunday when the course officially closes. Either way, I'll be back home by Sunday afternoon, and I'll post a quick note about the race then. A longer race report will follow as soon as I have a chance to write one up.
- A few people have asked about what songs I put on my iPod playlist for this race. I spent a lot of time putting together 177 songs for my Vermont 100 playlist last year, and I learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn't while running the later portions of a 100 miler. First off, I quickly discovered that any song with heavy bass simply made me sick. After 20 hours of running and fighting off stomach issues, the last thing I needed was a thumping beat resonating through my body. After making some necessary edits, my Umstead playlist should turn out to be puke-proof. I stuck to what worked in VT and included lots of high-energy punk/ska/old-school-metal stuff that always perks me up. I'll plan on grabbing my iPod at mile 72.5 and riding that energy to the finish. When I come across runners moving at my same pace, however, I always drop the headphones around my neck and try to talk with them if they're up to it. Personal interaction and commiseration is always the preferred option for motivation at that point.
- The final note, I'm happy to report, is I'm pretty sure I've figured out the best nutritional plan for me in this race. Those of you who have read my past race reports know that I usually have some serious stomach issues around miles 40 - 50 that end up slowing me down considerably. Between those learning experiences, a ton of 40 mile training runs to work out the kinks, and a lot more research on what I can physiologically expect my body to process under such conditions, I feel confident in my fueling plan for this race.
One major mistake I repeatedly made was relying on Clif/Power Bars for fuel at aid stations. While great in other situations, the high amount of fiber in these bars left me with too much "bulk" in my stomach over the long haul. You don't need that type of fuel on race day, so I've eliminated it completely. Also, I now have a better understanding of what my body can digest in terms of calories each hour. Even though I'll be burning about 800 calories every hour, the average runner can only take in 225-275 calories/hour during a race. Anything more than that will lead to stomach bulk and digestive issues. With all this info, and lots of trial and error over the past few months, I've come up with this as my fuel plan:
For liquids I'll be running with a bottle of water and bottle of Hammer Perpetuem in my fuel belt. I'll alternate sipping from each bottle every mile. The Hammer product is designed specifically for 100 milers in that it contains the right balance of long-chain amino acids, fats, proteins, etc that a body needs to keep moving over that distance. Since one bottle of this stuff also contains 250 calories, I'll switch off with plain water to leave room for a gel or two every hour. The gels I'll run with have 90 calories each in them (mostly from Maltodextrin, the best quick-burn carb there is), so I'll go with how I feel and how much I'm drinking to down one of them every 30-45 mins right from the start. ...and that's it for fuel. Simple and easy. As always I'll also be running with Succeed S-Caps for electrolyte replenishment as needed. Typically one of these an hour helps keep my salt/potassium levels up to keep any leg cramping away.
Since I'll be running this race without a crew, the simple fuel plan I've committed to will help me cruise in/out of the aid stations quickly. I'll just need to stop at my drop-bag, swap out the bottles in my belt, grab a handful of gels, and get out of there. In the end I'll end up eating something like 34 gels and drinking something like 400oz. of fluids. Yummy.