Nathan’s first 100 mile race game plan, version 1.0

Nathan’s first 100 miler
When: October 20, 2017
Where: Pony Express Trail, West Desert, Utah
Crew: Patrick and Patrice
Why: Undetermined

Patrick Phillips just started bugging me, to start putting together a plan for the Pony Express 100 miler, which he signed me up for. Let’s do this.

Primary goal: Finish this 100 mile race.
Secondary goal: Finish in 24 hours or less, if possible.

The Race
We are going to break the Pony Express 100 down into four parts:

1-25 miles:
This should be easy and casual. My goal is to be happy, slow and relaxed. When I finish 25 miles, I should feel warmed up, strong, and optimistic.
Nutrition will be key, because whatever happens in this first 25 miles, is going to set me up for the next 25, etc., etc. It will be important to eat a reasonable amount of food and to eat ON the move. The only resting should be as I walk to pick up food, give Patrick information and receive info from Pat.

26-50 miles:
Based on my experience from the Pony Express 50, which I did in 2015, I know that around mile 33 things can get a little dicey for me. It will be important for me to keep optimistic, happy and not to bite off more than I can chew (don’t think about miles 50-100. I’ll need to stay in the moment and remember that this is the culmination of years of thought and months of training. I can’t cheat myself by not staying in the moment.

51-75 miles:
This will be the new “never been here before” moment. Patrick will create a 51 mile line for me to cross, so we can have a little mini-celebration.
Nutrition will be more important than ever, so Patrick needs to make sure that I’m not cheating on food, that I continue to eat and drink, even if I don’t feel particularly hungry.

76-100 miles
These will be special miles. It’s entirely possible that I will be in a very dark place, literally and figuratively, so maybe I should consider things like running with some music, drinking  a soda, having a prayer with Patrick or something. If it’s anything like my 50 was, the last 10 miles will just be adrenaline.

Food:
Bananas, Pizza, jerky, Dr Pepper, Yellow Tailwind, etc.

Training:
This section will likely change quite often, but I see it as being three-fold:
Cardio and energy
Core
Mental

1. Cardio and energy – There is no way to cheat this one, just as there is no way to cheat the other two categories. I will need to put in miles upon miles of training, in order to get my heart comfortable with an extended run.
Right now, I know that my resting heart rate when I sleep is around 60 bpm. If I’m well trained, I would expect that my heart rate drops to around 50 bpm, but we’ll see. This will just be something that I track.

Energy-wise, I know that in order to find energy on the race course, I have to expend energy in training, through the year.  I’ll need to be consistent and continue to run shorter races to keep my tuned up.

2. Core and flexibility – This is a place I’ve never really worked too hard in. But I know it’s vital, because as the race continues on, I start to hunch over and lose form. Once you lose form, everything else starts to fall apart, too.
Flexibility is something that I intuitively feel I need to work on. I’m 42 and now I feel that I’m not able to do as much as I used to. Touching my toes is a real task, bringing my arm back to scratch my back is almost unthinkable. It’s now or never for keeping my flexibility, which will allow me to be even more healthy for this 100 miler.

3. Mental – I’m already pretty optimistic, but what I need is to be able to think positive at difficult points in the race. I suspect that I’ll start to have some mental breakdown(s) at different points in the race, so putting in several 6-8 hour runs this year will help to combat this.

Mileage and time on feet
As I get closer and closer to the month of November (when, theoretically, I should be moving into slow-down mode), I need to peak at some point with a decent 50 miler, being on my feet for at least 12 hours. This doesn’t have to be a race. It can be an informal thing that I do with Patrick, or something.

Ideally, if I could get to the point where I can run up and down Squaw Peak three times in a day, that would be helpful. I know there won’t be anything like the elevation of Squaw Peak in the Pony Express, but the ability to healthily ascend and descend that mountain would put some awesome confidence into me.

I’m fat
But I’m fat. This morning I weighed in at 189. Realistically, I’m probably at 187, but I had some yesterday in today’s gut. If I drop about 25 pounds, several things will happen:
1. My left knee will find relief in climbs and descends on the trail, which will allow me to ramp up my training to sustain more miles, which will lead to a better race.
2. What would it be like to carry only 160 pounds around, when running? Wow. I’d like to know, but I’m not sure how realistic this is. But certainly I can get down to 170. But let’s let 160 be the goal.

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