Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

See You A.B.: A Week in my Badwater Training Life

I finally got through most of my pile of distractions and I'm able to focus on running. The amount of time I spend preparing for this race makes the time required for most of the normal things in life disruptive to my day of training.

I've had to put a lot of meetings and socializing on hold too, just not enough time. I find myself saying no to most things, it's all A.B. now. "After Badwater".

People often ask me what it's like to train for a race like this. It's different than other ultras, that's for sure. There's the added element of heat preparation, in addition to hills, lots of miles on asphalt, and general planning for the runner and crew that is much more intense than crewing for a typical 100 mile ultra.

A typical day for me now when I'm not working all day is wake up, have coffee and some breakfast, take the girls running, come home and get ready for my run, eat more, go out and run until 12 or 1 or 2 pm, go to the sauna if I'm done by early afternoon, do my weight training, eat, rehydrate, take a nap, drink more fluids, cook something, then sometimes go out for a late afternoon or evening run, come home, eat, hang out with Dennis and the girls for a while, then go to bed.

Other days I just run all day, and try to get home for a nap if I have anything I need to do in the evening. Those days the girls get mad at me, when their run is not the priority. They pout until I come home and take their leashes out of the closet, and sometimes they have to wait until after I take a nap.

After working last weekend when it was super busy, I felt surprisingly good on Monday. Usually I have no energy after two days in a row of 12 hour shifts. But Monday I managed 15 miles plus weights and a trip to the sauna to bake for 45 minutes.

Got smoked out of my run on Tuesday, I was up at Horsetooth planning to do 7 Rock Repeats but cut it off at 5 because the smoke from the Crystal Fire got so bad, the wind picked up in the afternoon and by 1 pm I couldn't see across to the Rock anymore through the thick smoke settling into the draws.

Wednesday I worked a 12, so no run that day. Thursday I had a good run again.

This week has been just a mileage week, 15-20 miles a day, getting my basic hill workout in, a little faster stuff on the roads, and by Friday my legs were still tired and sore from the hills, so I decided to make it a long walk and just work on my walking pace. I ended up running about one third of the distance and made great time between that and the fast walking. Ended up with a decent workout.

Saturday was rough, I felt fine physically but my head was not in the right place. Some days are like that. I went down to the lakes, but I never got focused. It felt like each loop was taking forever. I couldn't get going at a running pace and decided to keep walking until the sky figured out what it wanted to do. If it started dumping wet stuff I would go home and do more miles Sunday, but after about 11 am there were some clear blue spots visible betwen the clouds and the afternoon got sunny.

Still I couldn't ever get in the right place mentally. I toughed it out and got 5 hours on my feet anyway. I thought, maybe Sunday will be better. Looks like this week is 107 miles, with nothing exciting. I really need to start pushing myself harder to run more and at a faster pace because when I can do 100+ miles in a week and feel like I didn't do anything, I need more of a challenge.

I passed the time during Saturday's 21 mile walk by making Badwater plans in my head and texting my friend Paul Grimm, who was having a rough time mentally getting through his own long run down near Denver. If I'd known, I would have called him and arranged for us to run together.

It's REALLY a bad day if I'm texting during a run!

One of these days soon I need to get a longer run in, more like 50 miles. I can tell I'm no longer tired from Florida. Now that the days are longer it's easier to run without much darkness. I'm not much for staying up all night. I like to sleep. I save my all nighters for race day. Or race week, in this case.

Badwater training is not that exciting from the observer's point of view. To me, it's nirvana. Even on the bad days, like when you can't get your mind focused, it's better than most things.

Except for the friends and family who are willing to tolerate your temporarily obsessive state, more than usual, until A.B. It doesn't happen without them. I can never thank them enough.


The Runner said...

Thanks for the "inside scoop" on what it takes to run Badwater.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Mike, I forgot to mention the Badwater diet on those running days, which consists of gummy worms, pretzels, yogurt, gatorade, and S caps.

The Runner said...


The Runner said...

Reference nutrition, you mentioned having coffee in the morning. Because of hydration issues in Death Valley, do you cut out the caffeine when you get closer to the race?

Alene Gone Bad said...

Mike, I need the caffeine in the long races so I can stay awake. By staying hydrated all day, it really isn't an issue. I don't have to drink tons of coffee, usually a couple of small Starbucks doubleshot cans is enough to keep me awake for quite a while. I have my coffee shot in the morning which is my normal routine, but I start drinking some coke or iced tea, or coffee drinks late in the afternoon during the race. When it gets dark I drink a couple of the doubleshots and maybe another one in the middle of the night if I'm wanting to get by without a nap.