Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The North Face Endurance Championship: T-minus 5 Weeks

The rumbling in my gut felt familiar but something was not quite right. I tried changing positions, but that only exacerbated the situation, and before I knew it, waves of nausea were washing over me. I broke into a cold sweat, and ran for the rail. The contents of my stomach cascaded into the harbor, causing ripples on the dark surface of the bay. No, I wasn't in the midst of a 50 miler, I was waking at 5 am with what I can only deem food poisoning.
With five weeks to go, this week was to be the beginning of my peak; three weeks of 50+ miles full of hills and some speed work to prepare for the North Face Endurance Championship 50 Miler. The way I was feeling, I'd be lucky to run a step. Soon, the torrent was unstoppable, and I considered setting up a residence on the commode. I was forced to call in sick.
Once I had expunged all that was available, I tried to get some rest. I slept fitfully until mid-day, and tried to keep the nausea at bay with some ginger. I also drank some Tailwind, trying to hydrate; I had lost ten pounds in 24 hours, all of it water. I continued to rest and hope that it was, in fact, food poisoning so that I may be able to get in the 6.5 hours of training I had planned for the weekend.
I woke Saturday feeling much better, but not 100%. I was able to get a big smoothie in my belly before heading out for my usual easy 90 on a winding, uninhabited road in the woods. The run went well, until about an hour in, when my energy level dropped precipitously. Not enough calories in the past 24 hours. That did not bode well for Sunday's 5 hour race sim.
I headed to Auburn for some laps on Cardiac Hill, hopefully followed by a trip to No Hands Bridge, but after a couple trips to the river, I realized I was bonking again, as I could not get the calories into my revolting stomach. I cut the run short and felt miserable for the rest of the day.
In all the week was probably 25 miles short of what I had planned. Not a deal breaker, but the experience has inspired me to kick ass for the remaining four weeks until race day, and I am slowly feeling back to normal. These stumbles still seed doubt in my psyche, but with more experience I am beginning to mitigate that reaction. We all have to adapt as life unfolds, and that is an aspect of ultra running which attracts me. A run long enough to go wrong is an invitation to adventure, and as long as I am able, I'll keep hitting the trails.
 Week totals:

27.75 miles, avg HR 138, elevation 3000'


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