Couch to DNF- Long Haul 2013

Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly impossible; and if it is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach.” – Marcus Aurelius

TLDR: Little mistakes add up, more DSSS and listening.

To start: I am in charge of my training and racing. All responsibility falls on my shoulders for any failures that I have. My crew and friends were awesome and I couldn’t have asked for better help.

I DNF’d the longhaul 100 during lap 4, at around mile 50 because of sharp pain/locking up on the outside of my left knee. This was after ~26 miles of pain in my right knee and thigh from my normal IT band issues. A lot of little things went wrong during the run that ended up adding up to little things. Many of these little things were either told to me, or easily forseeable.

Starting with the last thing first:
My left knee didn’t want me to bend it any more. I’d been using it to compensate for my right leg issues and I’d let my legs get cold.

My legs got cold because:

  1.  I included low cut socks (which allows blister inducing rubs) along with my regular socks. These socks were intended for emergency purposes during rain/muddy situations.
  2. I did not have enough of these and keep them separated/clearly well enough.
  3. I did not review the race plan I’d written up with everyone prior to the race so my crew didn’t understand what I was talking about
    1. The time for review is not when the clock is ticking.

All of this led to 20+ minutes of downtime trying to change socks.

 I had to change socks because I got a rock in my inside sock. I do long runs with two pairs of socks; injinis on the inside and swiftwick olefin compression socks on the outside. I got a rock on my inside sock because:
  1. I didn’t bring my trail gaiters:
    1. I didn’t bring my trail gaiters because the pair I’d brought required you to glue something to your shoe to work. I have three pairs of shoes for running, so I’d only have gaiters for one pair of shoes.
    2. I didn’t bring them as well because I didn’t see the point; all the trails I’d run on did not have many rocks, only sand

My form sucked. This trail was barely a trail at many points and required running in ruts:

  1. My preparation for this run was 99% on streets that were wide enough to accomodate my running form
    1. Because I train at night and there are no trails that are open/safe trails at night where I live
      1. Training mostly at night limits where I can run

My form also sucked because I didn’t have a solid water plan down.

  1. A very small fraction of this was because of last minute changes to the course route.
  2. I should have used mapmyrun to determine distance and back into water
    1. I need to quit being such a sissy about running without water
  3. I was distracted by thinking about water (and the brown color of my urine).
    1. Would have been better to carry my wasp backpack with 40 ounces than constantly be thinking about it.
    2. I eventually got this worked out, but by then my IT band was bothering me.
My IT band sucked because I used bad form and I didn’t do enough core exercises after injuring it in early November:
  1. My running coach told me repeatedly to work on my core strength
    1. I missed on my MED
      1. By missing on MED, I mean I just basically said “I’m not going to do that”
    2. I had multiple chances to get it fixed via exercise and massage
    3. I was warned two weeks before (right after Ragnar) that it was ridiculously tight
    4. Foam rolling reduces the pain from it, but doesn’t resolve root cause
I took tylenol during the race instead of ibuprofin:
  1. I don’t take painkillers/anti inflammatories during training at all
  2. I’m 50/50 on this being a real issue. Given the water problems I was having, and the reactions people have had to ibuprofin on long runs on their kidneys, I am not sure how this may have impacted me.
    1. Ibuprofin may have helped my knee from locking up.
I raced during my taper…
  1. and I ran fast. Two days later my right leg was really not happy with me. Dum dum dum dum dum.
I did not reevaluate my goals after getting injured…
  1. 100 miles was already a big stretch goal. Should have worked it down to the 100k or something similar.
    1. I acknowledge that I probably won’t ever do this, but I want to acknowledge that it’s a flaw. Running represents the one place where I can be as agressive and Type A as I want.
I did not effectively use pacers:
  1. I only had 1 pacer planned for this run; Adam was scheduled to come out during lap 6/7.
  2. I believe pacers would have helped me keep in a good frame of mind during the heat of the day, which is when I don’t like running the most
I am overly reliant on my GPS and my ipod during runs.
  1. I took them off during the end to save the batteries for later in the race. Mentally this caused me to freak out a little because I could not effectively evaluate my pace.
    1. I probably need to do some trail runs without GPS and ipod so I’m used to this.
What went right:
  1. Mentally dealing with bad things happening hit the wall HARD at about mile 38. I was supposed to get my headlamp at 3 and the sun was starting to set. There are some deeeeeeeep swampy parts near the trail on this run.
    1. This is about where I hit it last time. I thought that I would be able to fuel my way through this (I ate a lot more this time).
    2. I had read an article about Mike Morton’s run on LH100 last year where he had a big spill and that he just had to work on the problems that he was having.
    3. I had walked through a mental framework for how I’d deal with this before the run and did it:
      1. What’s wrong?
      2. Ok, so how do I feel about that?
      3. So, how would someone else feel about that?
      4. So you’re no different than them, right?
      5. So eat a gel, turn on Stairway to Heaven, have yourself a good cry for your sad pathetic situation, and start fucking running when they start jamming out.
      6. I really think that by acknowledging that things were screwed up and utilizing Parkinson’s law help me mentally get turned around more quickly than I would have otherwise.
        1. It’s the pity party MED.
  2. Feet!
    1. No blisters. No black toe nails. Just my same ugly ugly hooves. Considering I lost almost all because of the last one this is a major freaking win.20130121_114930
    2. I need to do more DSSS on this, as right now it’s very complicated and sometimes I have problems with sand mixing with the vaseline. I’m sure the big guys are able to deal with more feet I can currently.
  1. Friction areas
    1. There was blood last time. No blood this time.
  2. Soreness
    1. With the exception of my knees, I wasn’t and am not sore at all really. I credit this to the following:
      1. Scott Jurek’s anti inflammatory smoothie from Eat and Run
      2. Zensah compression tights- help me run below my lactate threshold and reduce DOMS
      3. Better physical fitness- running way below my lactate threshold.
        1. Running below your lactate threshold lets you fuel more on fat, which reduces damage to your cell walls
          1. See “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance” for more information
      4. 5 minute ice bath once I got home. Cold shower the day after.
        1. This really, really, sucks but seems to be the best thing I can do after a run.
  3. I was much faster, which is to be expected with some experience and training. Still a victory nonetheless.
 I’d already planned on making significant changes to my training for this year, and I believe that this failure has highlighted things better than sucking through the next 50 miles would have. Success makes you blind to the things that could have gone wrong.
I will be listening to my running coach more, as well as combining LHRT and CFE to improve my core strength and move my anaerobic and aerobic thresholds. I’ll peel back into the CFE after I use the DSSS.
General outline will include:
  1. More trail running without gps and ipod (maybe HR monitor only)
  2. More core work
  3. Better logistics planning and race prep
  4. More Pacers
  5. More pacing – I need to have more experience on seeing runners that are deep in the suck. If I can get my speed up I should be able to pace someone on a run.


I plan to update and edit this for easier reading when I don’t have a garden that needs weeding and a child waiting on me.



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