Tuesday, January 28, 2014

V Fuel - No More GI Issues...

I've been on an elusive journey to find the right gel that doesn't give me stomach issues for over a year. I'm glad to report that I have finally found said gel.

My stomach has the uncanny ability to reject anything it doesn't agree with within a minute. Yes, I am not kidding: I'll start cramping immediately and looking for the nearest restroom. 

After reading a FB post from a trusted ultra runner where she raved about this certain gel, I decided to give it a try. It was called V-Fuel. I think I was, pretty much sold on it after 1 long run, but I knew I had to test it out on several long runs.

I've tried this gel on 4 long runs of 22, 20, 17 & 10 miles.

After taking it at hour 1 of my first long run, I was a bit nervous. You know that moment that you know it's going to be good or bad...really bad. I took it and anxiously awaited for the cramping to begin. Nothing. I finished my run (and took 1 more), and still nothing happened.

I've never been a big fan of gels, so I wasn't sure what I'd feel. I'm not too sure if this is how it's supposed to occur, but I felt a little burst of energy each time about 15 minutes after taking it.

The results were the same on all my runs.

The only problem is that I only enjoy the peach cobbler flavor. Yes, peach cobbler. It's really an awesome flavor although some of you might think peach cobbler is not the flavor you'd crave or enjoy during a run. I'm not a fan of vanilla or chocolate but those are the other flavors.

It's a very subtle taste - not overwhelming at all.

Take it from me, you'll enjoy it.

Just wanted to let y'all in on a (not so little, it seems) secret.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bandera 100K Through My Lenses

A week prior to Bandera, I ran a 17 miler in Lake Georgetown. It was a terrible run. I felt tired and sluggish. Based on this run, I decided to make this my last run before the race. I always taper poorly but decided to take the entire week off. I ended up running 1 other time 4.5 miles, but that was it. I figured a week off would pay dividends.

We arrived in Bandera about 4pm on Friday, picked our packet up and headed out for dinner. I had been eating fairly well the days prior to it. I wanted to be well fed (and rested) before starting because, if I know myself, I was gonna be out there for a while. 

The race began at 7:30am and off we were.

Immediately from the go, I felt sluggish and tired. This was disappointing since I'd agreed to kinda keep up with several of my friends and try to finish in around 15-16 hours. Realizing this was not going to happen, I just kinda fell back and decided I'd see them later...or maybe not.

To keep it short, the 1st 15 miles were a death march. They were slow and ugly. I ended up doing a lot of walking. My good buddy, Brandon, passed me at about mile 13, and said he was probably going to not go any further than the next aid station. I briefly considered doing the same. I even considered it again once I saw him at the crossroads aid station. I knew I could go all the way, but the most important question was: did I want to go on 46 more miles feeling the way I did?

Fortunately, I ran into my sole sistahs (Laura, Mary Ann, Bengi and Judy - coincidentaly, 2 of my former pacers) at Crossroads. After eating some baked potato halves (dipped in salt), I decided to continue. We ran together for the next 16 miles, and I (suddenly) felt great. I made it a point of eating at each aid station. I was eating quesadillas and grilled cheese 'wiches left and right. 

That seemed to have done the trick because I finished the 1st 50k loop feeling well. I finished it in 8:45. A little slower than I wanted, but I was content with it.

I began the 2nd loop :15 minutes later. I still felt really well but knew these next 5 miles would be tough. I started with 2 of my sole sistahs. We took a couple pics at Sky Island along the way. At this point it was them, myself and Bruce Evans (little did I know that I'd end up running with him for the next 25+ miles). 

Each aid station was another opportunity to eat, and I ate...well. It seems I was on a steady diet of mashed potatoes, ramen soup, quesadillas and grilled cheese. It turns out this was a big reason why I ended up running everything after the 15 mile mark feeling so well. 

Looking back, I think I prepared for almost everything - mud, rain, cold - except the heat. I think I may've struggled in the beginning because it was hot. To make matters worse, I didn't even have a cap. Luckily, another friend, Rene, saw me at the 3rd aid station and offered me his visor (No, I didn't take the cap of another runner. He was a spectator). Judging from alot of frunners I ran into, I wasn't the only 1 that was heat struggling.

In the end, I finished in 19:30. An entire hour slower than last year, but I felt better physically than last year. As a matter of fact, I felt great for the last 46ish miles.

The biggest lesson from this weekend's 100k???

I need Sami. For many reasons. 1 of them being that she's always my crew, and a really good crew mistress. I told her not to worry about my drop bags since she had her own race to prepare for. Being in charge of my own gear, I forgot my hydration vest, handheld, spi belt and S caps. Need any more proof that I cannot ultra fend for myself? 

PS - A big shout out to her for finishing her 1st 50k.