Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tips & Thoughts on the Winter Buckeye 50K
This post is dedicated to triguyjt as he will be making his debut 50K performance at this weekend's Winter Buckeye 50K.
Now first off, I am hardly an expert. I have only ran two 50K's, the winter and summer buckeye 50Ks. I am just going to post my thoughts and what I was planning to do thinking maybe it will help someone else AND more importantly if anyone else has other advice or thinks I should rethink something, I would love the feedback.
So, going back to last year's Winter 50K, I was doing it just to finish and had not put any pressure on myself as to my time or place. That was a really nice way to approach the race mentally. This year, I feel like I have put more time in on the trails, feel more comfortable with the distance and should do better....EXCEPT, for the fact that there is now a ton of snow on the ground, more that is still coming and there is no likelihood of any of it going away anytime soon. So I am not sure time-wise how this snow will all figure in, other than to mentally prepare for the fact that I am going to have to work a lot harder this year. It will be interesting to see how much the trails get packed down over the course of the day with all of the runners out there.
My first piece of advice (which I hope everyone does not read) is to get there early as close parking is going to be very limited. Race starts at 7:15 and I would like to be there by 6:15. Last year, I spent a bunch of time debating last minute stuff and I like having the extra time, PLUS this affords me extra social time!
My second piece of advice is to race how you train, but be prepared for things not to work out. Last year, I always ran with a waist camelback. I loved it. The morning of the race, I filled it with water in the garage. The next thing I know, water is everywhere and it was soaking wet as I had not put the lid on right. Thank goodness I had a spare waste water bottle holder for back-up that was not soaking wet or I would have been cold and wet right from the start and it was cold last year too!
With regard to the camelback, handheld, fuel belt debate, again I would go with how you train. (My guess though is that many fuel belt wearers may have issues with the little bottles freezing in the cold temps.) This season, I usually planted water and just drank at the stops, which is the route I plan to take Sunday (not carrying and drinking plenty at the aide stations). CLEARLY THIS WOULD NOT WORK FOR MOST, but I feel comfortable with this since it is how I trained. I do plan to put both my handheld and my waist water bottle in my special needs bag, in case I change my mind. I do plan to carry my inhaler, pain reliever, gels, and anything else that I may think of in my coat.
While we are talking about special needs, last year I dropped stuff I might want on the Boston store porch and I would assume that it will not be a problem to do that again this year. Things I will put there include-extra pair of shoes, socks-2, extra clothes, gloves, hat, pain reliever, hand & toe warmers, band-aids, pepto pills, salt pills, an energy drink (FRUIT PUNCH ROCKSTAR, DUH!) and whatever else I dream up between now and then. What am I missing???
I have never worn yaktrax or anything else in the snow besides my trail shoes. While I wish I would have tried some different things out, I am hesitant to do anything different now. So I will probably just go with the regular trail shoes. I may see about putting screws in my back up pair but I am not sure how much they will help.
I will wear my normal running socks with a pair of smart wool socks and a heavy pair of mittens. My hands and feet are always problem areas for me. I will have hand and toe warmers on hand for sure because ya never know, but in my warm socks and mittens I have never needed them yet. I am leaning towards a hat to keep the heat in, but generally I like the headbands as they tend to cover my ears better, so I still need to decide that one!
I am thinking two pairs of running tights, long sleeve wicking layer, light wicking jacket and Asics lined windbreaker (which was the top half of an awesome, light-weight, very warm, two piece suit that I picked up last year to run in for when temps got crazy cold).
My plan for the 50K is to run the first half easy to conserve energy for the long day. I think it should feel like I am border-line almost going too slow. However, if it is anything like last year, I know that it will pay off in the end and I should have ample energy to go the distance and perhaps even pick up the pace. My plan is also to enjoy the race, my company out there and the volunteers. That said, I would not be totally honest if I did not admit that I am planning to work hard and hopefully put in a solid effort and performance.
Also along those lines, thank you volunteers in advance for coming out in this bitter cold to make this all possible.
After running the 31 miles, I plan to have some chili and then go to Winking Lizard for a well-deserved beer, or two!!! Oh yeah, and I definitely plan to take a bunch of pics after the race of all of us who rocked the course! Best of luck to all my peeps that will out there running with me!