100k WC 2011

100k WC 2011

Gagarin Half Finish

Gagarin Half Finish
Gagarin Half Finish

Awards Gagarin Half

Awards Gagarin Half
Awards Gagarin Half

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)
Cosmonauts give out the awards



Saturday, July 19, 2014

How NOT to Run a 100K! Latvian 50 and 100k National Championships/50K IAU World Cup series

Well, that damn infection lingered well into June. My cough was gone by the first week of June and my lungs were clear, but my ribs hurt like a bitch the whole first 3 weeks of the month! It hurt to put on a bra because of the pressure. I had all the signs of pleurisy and it sucked. It hurt right at the bra line to take deep breaths. I was able to resume training but still far from 100% I got in just over 500km for June but it was far from fast or spectacular. I was still weak and my speed was in the gutter. Last year, I missed the 50k in Daugavpils because of a trail crash the week before the race. This year, I really wanted to go,but had doubts I could even finish. My training sucked. I tried the Kremlin Mile the 12th- finished 3rd but that's just because no one was there- my time sucked. On the 18th I tried a 15k xc run as a tempo workout to see if I could even maintain 4:30/km pace (yeah pathetic). I needed to decide soon about this 50k -go or not to go. I finished FOUR MINUTES SLOWER than I did on this course last year-pace low 4:20s but still so not me. Plus, about midway through, it just felt like someone was stabbing me in the ribs by the bra line again and hurt to take deep breaths. My ribs were STILL bugging the hell out of me. I pretty much understood that I'm not going anywhere running wise til my ribs quit bugging me. I may well be permanently damaged from this shit.  I was going to try a 35km progerssion run 3-4 days after the 15k and that would really be the determining factor as to whether I should just scrap 50k plans this yr and AGAIN miss the Daugavpils race. I'm not going to run unless I can do a decent job. My thoughts before the 35k were more like, will my ribs let up enough so I can get the camelbak on to even do this workout? The day before, they finally started to let up. I was able to do a 35k progression run really honing in on that 4:30ish 50k pace in the last 10k. I lucked out and got a cool rainy day for the workout.

Ok, so I told Andris who is our team manager and handles anything ultra related to go ahead and put me in the 50. The airlines had a sale to Riga which ended up being cheaper than the train. I decided to go for at least a week just to have some rest before and after the race. I'm out of work anyways now til the end of July so why sit in Moscow with my thumbs up my ass? I'd rather be in Latvia where the air is cleaner and I can afford said time off without going broke. It turned out great!Andris found a nice 2 room flat right next to the forest for me to rent out while I was there. Open the balcony and it smells of fresh forest! Awesome! It was super quiet too. I can't remember when I last slept without earplugs, but I did here! The only minus....uhhh top /5th floor which meant, yup after the race I had to get DOWN those stairs! HAHA!
 evil stairs

pretty forest with razzies for picking :-)

So, here's the monkey wrench. A week before the race, Andris suggested I try BOTH the 50 and 100.YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAAAAT???!!!  He said he could put me in the 100 so the option to double dip for both wins was there. If I felt crappy, I could just run the 50 and call it a day, but he said I could run the 50 like a 50 then just run the next 50 easy. Something like a 4hr 50k for the win there then finish the 100about 10hrs. I thought he was kidding! He knew how sick I had been! I had no plans to run a 100 this year and surely had not been training for it. Yes, I had a solid base before I got sick and could have run a good marathon,50, or 100, but now I was in the gutter! Still, going out around 4 hours in the first 50 would kill me in the second 50 and I knew that! That's exactly how I do not race!That's exactly how NOT to run a 100k! I go out slow and maintain and or pick up. In a 100, I should be going out 4:30+- ish not some 20 or so minutes FASTER! My splits at Euros last year were about 4:30 first 50 finish 9:15-that's how to run a 100. Everyone knows how deadly banking in a long race can be. So, he put me in the 100 with the option to either run 50 or keep going and finish the 100. I would decide what to do based on how I felt after the first 50. I thought it was a crazy stunt to try and pull off to just up and decide to run the 100 without much preparaion after I had been damn sick. OTOH, if I spend 3-4 weeks recovering speed after it would be no big loss since there are not many super races now on the calendar til closer to September anyways. But still, I was not sure I could finish a 100 still being far from 100% from where I was before I went to hell in May. PLus, when it became apparent back earlyin the year that 100k Worlds weren't going to be in Daugavpils and the 50 and 100k national championships were moved to MID JULY, I had NO INTENT of running a 100 in the heat of the summer! I was just going to do the 50 at best. I do well in the cold but the heat has a history of just shutting me down- no midsummer 100 which is why I've never risked doing Baltic Seaside in Lithuania in July-it's too much a heat risk.

Race day- in the morning it was nice and cool about 18C. Conditions for the 50 were good-cloudy not hot. The heat warning was for the second half of the day. So off we were and from the beginning, I had company. Vita (Latvia) and Tatiana( Belarus) pushed the pace. I just sat. I did not want to have to go harder than needed in case I did try that 100. We all stuck to each other like glue! After about 25 Vita began to drop back just a little but not much.
(pics by Laura Hofmane and Evgeniya Rumyantseva)
                                                     Up and down the hills we go in the first 50

 just sitting but not letting her get away from me


 finally making a move after 35k
 first 25k
sticking to each other like glue in the 50

 Tatiana would not give up! This was not an easy course. One of the guys on the Noskrien forum had posted 860m cumulative elevation gain for the 100 and I tought WHERE?Daugavpils is flat...well the old course in town was but it was under construction now and we moved the race to Viski about 20km outside town where we had HILLS. The 50 was5 laps in the stadium then 16x3km loops on the hills. If you did the 100 you had 32 laps on the big loop then finish with 5 laps in the stadium. Each loop had about a 50-60m climb on the dirt road out of the stadium then 2 big hills to the turnaround and then those 2 big hills on the way back...sooo4 decent climbs per loop x32....= hurtin legs! Tatiana was still pushing th pace holding 4 :40s even with the hills.....after 35 I realized I needed to try and open it up a bit and I did though I really did not want to run 4:30s to get take and maintain the lead, I knew I had to. Once I had about 35-40 seconds on her, I settled back into a quieter pace to conserve energy just in case I did the full 100. The nice thing about the 3k loop is that you could see the time and distance between you and other runners. The finish was close, she finished 30 seconds behind me which in a 50 is not much. She was 50sec behind at one point, but I knew she was trying to get me toward the end which again forced me to push the pace.
first 50, DONE :-)
now for the next 50.....oh dear!
After my first 50, I tried a couple laps to see how I felt and tested the waters. I deliberately slowed closer to 6 min/km pace to try and recover to run the 2nd half. Between 55-65, I had 2 quick pit stops. I was lucky I didn't need to in the 50 or I would have finished 2nd. Actually, I stuffed my skirt pockets with enough gels to get through the 50 and carried my salt stick dispenser in my cleavage pocket so all I had to do was grab my drinks along the way and not waste time. Once I finished the 50, I did go and grab some eats and drinks from my table to get me going.

Nutrition - yeah nutrition fail can be the kiss of death in an ultra. Calories are your friends!  I have tried and true products I use and have never had complete epic nutrition fail because of that. Vitargo is my staple and the drink I use. It's high cal and absorbs quickly and won't piss off my sensitive tummy. Gels- my primary gel is GU Roctane but also use gels from Sponser as well. Eating the same damn thing all day gets really dull and I need variety. Vespa Jr every I take 2 hours to prevent crashing and promote effective fat burning to prevent said crashing. Salt Sticks- from beginning to end and are crucial in high temperatures. Good ol' coke-yeah I crave coke somewhere about 60km and on. You can be in fantastic shape, but if you get nutrition fail, you are screwed. If you dehydrate you are also screwed, that can't be made up for once you are depleted. Drinking early in the race is critical. My eats really kicked in later in the day  for the final part of the race.

Now I know ultras are like zebras! They have black stripes and white ones. The trick is dealing with the black ones to get to the next white one. Well this zebra had a big black stripe....oh dear usually the black stripe for me is between 60-70 for 5-10km max then I push through and go. Well, I just crawled at a snail's pace until65. I really thought of dropping. "Do I really need to put myself through this?" I had already won the 50k -the 100 would be a sufferfest after busting my ass in the 50

. Zhenya came in from Moscow to run the 100. The 50 and 100 are both part of the Latvian National Championships and the 50 goes into the IAU World Cup series. This was her first 100 and she was looking good. She had had a solid mileage base and had done 50-80m ultras this year and done well. I had over a lap lead on her after the first 50. While I was dealing with the black stripe on the zebra I knew she was slowly gaining on me. Unless I picked up somewhere along the way, I calculated she'd be very close to catching me somewhere after 70k. She was looking very good the whole time coming upand down the hills. I was carefully watching from each turnaround the time and distance difference. Just after  70, that lead was under a KM probably down to about 500-600m because as I was coming out of the stadium on the next lap, she was incoming. Sh!t, I really am having a bad day!! Actually, on my way out after getting eats and drinks at the aid station, I said to Linda who was helping, that I do not feel good and I really think Zhenya might catch me.
This is exactly what I felt like! Moving along at a snail's pace!

 Sometime just after 70 and by the time I hit 75, I started coming out of my funk and running in the 5:40s again ...FINALLY! Yes, the sun came out after 70 and it was getting hot (29C was reported on someone's thermometer at the aid station), but I just kept on taking fluids (Vitargo, water, Coke...whatever I felt I needed), and the salt sticks in addition to my gels. Cold sponges also saved the day. After 80 I was feeling better, and I was pulling closer to 5:30 and just kept doing this until the early mid 90s. I somehow managed to get my lap lead back and just kept opening it up. WHITE STRIPE- YESSSS! 

When I saw how close Zhenya was at 70, I think that was my kick in the ass to MOVE MY ASS and get going and quit crawling like a snail! She wasn't going to let me get totally lazy. That's where my stubbornness kicked in. When I run an ultra especially a 100, I won't give up until my legs fall off and I drop dead. I am very stubborn and do my best to push through some nasty stuff at times.  I even remember back in 2010 before my first 100 when Andris told us that you are going to have good and bad patches. it doesn't mean quit, but maybe grab some eats, drink, get a quick massage, stretch smthg out , etc. You do have to be able to troubleshoot on the spot in an ultra because they are unpredictable and anything can happen.
 getting the job done

So into stubborn mode and the Pain Cave I went the rest of the day. This is where mentally, you have to be tough.  I only brisk walked up that gravel incline out of the stadium  a few times after the aid station because it was actually quicker and more efficient to do so and ran again once I got up onto the road. If I was going to go for the win I needed to really dig deep and gut it out at this point.  Welcome to the Pain Cave! Mentally, it was getting easier. I had less than 20km to go and thought to myself, there is no way I am going to let this go after coming this far! I am NOT going to get passed this late in the race-at least not without putting up one hell of a fight! I just kept chucking away and before I knew it, I had got my lap lead back again. I just kept doing what I was doing not thinking just going on autopilot knowing  a lot could happen in the last 10-15km. With about 4-5km to go I was closing in on a 2 lap lead. How did that happen? I was really pushing the envelope and in that last lap my right calf started getting pissy. With 2 laps to go I quickly grabbed my rub off the table in the stadium and put some on and kept going. I use a cream called 42 made by a Russian company Eurofarmsport-http://42eurofs.ru/products/sportivnyj-krem-razogrevayushchij/  .It's strong enough to last up to 24 hours but kept some extra on the table just in case. That and Tiger Balm are about the only creams that work worth squat for sore muscles.  I had a decent lead now, all I had to do was just finish and get the job done. Better to back off a little and avoid injury(not sure what was up with the calf but  just kept going) than push the pace and screw up this close to the end. 5 laps left in the stadium -finished and was given that cold beer that I so craved having seen the whole case off to the side:)

I knew going into this that if I was going to try and double dip in both races my 100k time would suffer because of the fast first half, and indeed it suffered! Boys and girls, this is why you should NEVER EVER bank-it destroys the 2nd half.I knew that and that's the risk I had to just take and see if I could tough out the second 50. It worked, and man, I'm glad I didn't quit at 65 because I sure as hell wanted to!
 Going into the last lap
 finish and get beer!
 still can't sit all the way just yet!
 finish :)

 almost there
what the finish really looked like!

Zhenya came in less than an hour later. If she keeps training and tweaks her nutrition plan, I think she is going to really continue to improve. She had some nutrition problems toward the end which is one of the last problems you need! 

Now-on  the men's side Valdis Nilovs  pulled off the win in the 50k was 2nd overall in the 100 but won both Latvian championships. If that wasn't enough, he left to run the night half marathon in Jelgava after!!! This guy is a MONSTER. We have been on 2 100k teams together and he races....everywhere and often, and is fast! I think he races more than Mike Wardian on the US team who is known for frequent fast racing in marathons and in ultras. MAJOR RESPECT to Valdis!

2 speedy skirts :-) Zhenya on the left.

I have now returned to my snail slow speed and will likely be snail slow for up to a month now. Plus I pulled this stunt off still far from being 100% after illness. Endurance is fine but my speed tanks bigtime after any 100k OK, I may be snail slow but I feel winning  two national titles in one day is a plenty valid excuse for my current snailness. The next day, I walked for two hours in the forest to shake my legs out. That calf was sore and tender for a few days but it's ok now.
medals for thr 50,100, and oh dear...masters win!

Snails rule :-)

This is what my brisk recovery walks looked like for the next couple days:

Old Riga