Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I ran a 60 mile training run a month ago & a 50K a week later. I had a little trouble breathing for days after both. Since then, I've done a couple of tempo runs & fartleks with the team & afterwards, feel awful for a day. I think I might have bronchitis or some kind of exercise-induced asthma. The doctor I went to is looking at long-term things, but I just want to breathe now. That's the only thing that has me scared about the 100 miler NEXT WEEK. Yeah, next week. I have a Z-Pack now. Maybe that will help out. In the past couple of weeks, I've had several blood tests done, X Rays, an EKG & an Echocardiogram. I feel like I just need an inhaler.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

100 Miler Checklist

After questions about my sanity, how you run 100 miles, if you walk, and if you sleep, the next questions are inevitably about gear. I thought I'd post what I plan to take with me... partially as a checklist for myself. Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler is coming up in a few weeks (February 6-7) in Huntsville, TX. I feel ready. Here's what I plan on taking with me:

Brooks Podium Short Sleeve Shirt- 1 lime green & 1 black TrySports one in case of rain
Brooks Revelation Trainer Sleeveless Shirt- Lime green
Brooks Sherpa Shorts- These are a little long, but they're nice and stretchy & have small pockets in the back.
New Balance Sequence Pants- Hope I don't have to wear these. I don't like running in anything except shorts. Won't unless it gets under 30 or I'm getting really slow and cold
Titan Wear Tri Shorts- I used to always race and run long runs in these.
Patagonia Long Sleeve Capilene Shirt (New River Trail 50K Finishers Shirt)
Injinji Mini-Crew Socks- Funny lookin' toe socks that I've never had toe blisters with.
Dirty Girl Gaiters - Prevent dirt and rocks from getting in your shoes. If bits of trail gunk get in your shoes for hours and hours you end up with blisters.

Brooks Adrenaline ASR 5- This will be my main shoe. I may run the whole race in these shoes, but I plan on taking others.
New Balance 873- These are EE width & are what I'll use if my feet swell.
Brooks Cascadia 2- I'll only use these if the Adrenaline ASRs get wet. I love these shoes but sometimes get a blister in them on longer runs.

Eatin' & Drinkin':
Hammer HEED- I used to drink a lot of this, but I drink more water and eat more gel & food now. I'll rely on aid stations for some of my food- pretzels, potatoes, crackers, cookies, Mountain Dew- whatever seems appealing at the time.
CarbBOOM Gel- My favorite tasting gel. Apple pie, Creamsicle, chocolate covered cherry, and all sorts of fantastic flavors.
Gu Gel- I like the taste of Gu too and have a boxful of it. It's got amino acids and vitamin C & E.
Clif Bloks- Feels more like food than a gel, but nutritionally, about the same. I've been eating a lot of these lately.
Clif Mojo Bar- Perfect mixture of salty & sweet.
Sport Beans- Something else I can chew when drinks & gels get old. Pretty sweet tasting and more simple sugars than I'd like, but whatever.
EAS AdvantEDGE Protein Shake- I'll down one of these at the end of the each 20 mile lap because I can't just eat carbs all day & night.
Emergen-C- Vitamin drink mix
Stonewall's Jerquee- Vegetarian fake beef jerky. Something nice to chew on that's very different from anything else I'll eat and will provide protein.

Supplements & Medication:
SaltStick Electrolyte Capsules - Depending on the temperature, I'll take one of these about every 2 hours or so.
Hammer Nutrition Anti-Fatigue Caps- I'm skeptical about supplements, but I swear I can tell a difference when I take these. Legs just feel better. I take one an hour on long runs, but I'll check with Hammer about how many is too many.
Ibuprofen- I have a tendency to take to many of these. None before I run. 3 every 6 hours?
8 Hour Tylenol

Other Junk:
Sport Shield- Necessary anti-chafing lubricant. I carry this with me & reapply every 90 minutes or so though I probably don't need to. I LOVE this stuff. Works so much better than Body Glide in my opinion. Instead of the gunky Body Glide or the messy Vaseline, Sport Shield is a lot more viscous and slippery. Great!
Kinesio Tape- I don't use this in the way most people do. I tape my feet with it to prevent blisters.
Foam Roller- I put this on the ground and roll my hamstrings and crack my back with it. I'm not sure a chiropractor would approve, but it makes it feel so much better. The back absorbs a lot through miles & miles of pounding. I'll leave the roller at the start/finish line.
REI Single Shot Belt- I picked this up recently & wore it in my last 50K. Nice big main pocket for phone (with no crew, this is my portable cheering section), camera and Sport Shield. 2 additional pockets that will each fit about 2 gels. Carries 1 waterbottle up to 28 oz.
Nathan Quickdraw Plus- I doubt I'll use the handheld waterbottle, but I'll take it just in case.
Nathan HPL #020 Hydration Pack- When it gets late and I get slow, I might want to carry more with me. The belt might start giving me problems with chafing around my waste.
Polar S625X- Watch, heartrate monitor, pedometer, altimeter, etc. Do I even bother with the HRM strap? Nah.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Carrboro 50K+

Who knew Chapel Hill was really hilly??

I ran the 50K (really about 32 miles give or take) organized by the Trailheads group. Not really a race. More like a supported training run. There were around 50 people running, but only 7-8 running all 50K. The course was at the University North trails and was a figure 8 loop you did 3 times. It started and stopped at Seawell Elementary School, which was midpoint in the figure 8, so you got to the aid station every 5 miles or so. Aid station was well stocked & "race" director Amy did a great job! For a free race, I was surprised to be given a Nathan Trail Mix hydration belt for finishing! ...not to mention Luna bars, Clif Blocks, Hammer Gels, etc. along the way. There was great vegetarian bean soup at the end too!

But seriously, this course was tough!! There were endless switchbacks- 1:00 up the hill, tight turn at the top & then back down the hill. Repeat. Repeat... I was amazed that there was nearly 3500' of elevation gain/loss in the eastern Piedmont. More than Holiday Lake, FATS, and many of the mountainous Appalachian Trail runs I've done. All of it was moderately rocky & rooty singletrack.

I've had some very long training runs this month & I wasn't fully recovered from last week's. I also ran two 10 mile runs this week. I didn't decide to run the Carrboro 50K until a few days ago and had no intention of it being more than a training run. Most of my long training runs lately have included the walking I plan to use for the 100 next month. I planned on taking it easy early today & finishing strong. I've been able to do that in most of my long runs lately. I got in with a group of guys that were running just a tad faster than I wanted to- but more importantly didn't walk or slow down a step the first 10.5 mile loop. I knew I should've slowed down and run my own "race," but I didn't. I told myself I'd sandbag the 2nd loop and finish strong the last one. I was about 1:53, 1:57, 2:14. Really not how I wanted to run today.

I felt decent though. Had a bad knee problem the last 20 miles of last week's long run & today, it was a little sore on downhills after 12 miles, but never got worse. Hamstring hurt more and was bad on the way home & now. Doesn't really hurt to walk, but sitting is painful.

I was fatigued and all week, had a little shortness of breath during my runs. Haven't slept well all week. No complaints though. It was a good time and a good way to get my last long run in before Rocky Raccoon. I'll do two 2-3 hour night runs, but that's it. More for the night experience, rather than the mileage. I feel pretty confident. Hope I'm not being too cocky, but I'm ready to go!