Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some things I've learned

Others prompted me to make a list of the things I learned while running 50 miles the first time. It's a great idea, so without further adieu, here's my list:
  • Train harder than you'll be racing - I should have done more hill training to be stronger on the later hills.
  • Buy a thin rain coat - I was close to hypothermic by the time I finished and it could have been avoided by a simple rain jacket. This could be a Colorado thing, but seriously, get one.
  • Have dry/warm, comfortable clothes ready at the finish line - Another thing that would have been way better. Preparation is key. Possible items include sandals/dry shoes, socks, t-shirt, sweats/shorts, jacket.
  • Mix it up - one thing that really helped on the long climbs was mixing in different styles of walking. I twisted a bit to the side and stepped over, this helped engage different muscles in my legs.
  • Stay positive - the hardest points of my race were when I was embracing negative feelings; be it my legs or general exhaustion. What helped was thinking about all the reasons I had to finish the race: my son, my wife, all the hard work I'd put in, it would be awesome, etc.
  • Just keep moving - This is easier said than done, but when it hurts, you just need to keep moving. Walking is ok, stopping doesn't get you anywhere.
  • Smile - This goes along with staying positive, but when you smile, you're more likely to have fun. When I was stuck under the blowing over tent with volunteers, I smiled, and the enthusiasm helped me run out of the aid station and embrace the adventure.
  • Take it in - Running 50 miles is cool, enjoy the ride. I ran for over 9 hours through the most amazing scenery this planet has to offer, what a cool thing to do for a day.
  • Thank people - The volunteers at ultras are top notch, they deserve your gratitude. The guy who took my bottles at the last aid station and filled them, and then the guy who joked and talked with me while I tried to eat a GU were really helpful and left a lasting memory of why I do this. I love this. People are more genuine in the mountains, life is easier, more simple.
  • Be simple - Work hard, train hard, love your family hard.
  • Follow your dreams - I realized that I want to do everything in my power to take care of my family. I want to live where I can smell fresh air, where my neighbors can't see in my windows from inside their home, where my son can play on the trail and in the dirt instead of with video games.
  • Buy a visor - I think it would be nice.
  • They say that being a parent prepares you for anything, and now I can say that it's true. What I failed to mention in my race report was that I got SUPER BAD chafing where my shorts liner fell on my skin. Down there by the boys (sorry ladies) I have 2 big scabs now, but they're better than they were. After the race I had a hard time walking because of the chafing (and the sore legs) but my son's diaper cream took all the pain away. SERIOUSLY. It was amazing. I'm not afraid to say it, runners with chafing problems need to buy diaper cream, you'll thank me later.
  • Make lists - This really helps!
So, I guess I have BurtonRW from my frequent forum for this. Thanks Burton. I've learned a lot from those who've been there before, and I'm going to try to continue to respect this most amazing sport by learning as much as I can and never thinking that I know it all.


Burton said...

Congrats again on your run. This is a great list.

megatomic1970 said...

Thanks for the tips. My son and I are preparing for our first ultra and I see several things in your list that can make a difference in our experience. Congrats on an awesome race.