Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kettle - Lessons Learned - Part 1

The tone of this blog will continue to be "this is what works for me", instead of preaching a certain training style, method, etc.

First and foremost, having crew turned out to be a much bigger advantage than I originally planned. There are 15 aid stations with crew access. I find most people (still in race mode) will take 2-5 minutes at an aid station to get everything the need. Multiply that by 15 and you get 35-75 minutes! That would have been the difference between me breaking 20 hours. Yes, a couple of times I did sit down for a few minutes, and twice for 10 minutes. If I did not have crew there, those 10 minute stops probably would have been 15-20 minute stops.

When I hit the 50k turnaround, it was a 1 second stop. Everybody I was running with at that point went in for fluid and fuel. It took one guy 2 miles to catch back up, another 25 miles to catch back up, and a 3rd never did (100K runner). They were probably close at following aid stations, but my stops were under a minute compared to their 5 minute stops.

I hindsight, I should have given my crew, Bill, better directions on how to handle my stupidity. Once or twice I remember arguing with him about my intake of s-caps and shot bloks. I can just imagine the onlookers thinking "man, your runner is a major PITA".

What I also should have done, is simplify the crew bag into 1. I had 2 bags
1 - Food, drink mix, first aid.
2 - Extra clothing and gear. I was prepared for a lot of rain which never happened.

Having 2 bags made it a pain for my crew, and one critical aid station he had to park a little of a walk away. This is where I wanted something which was in the car. I should have had a plan like the following
* at each aid station have
1 - long sleeve shirt available
2 - short sleeve shirt available
3 - jacket available
4 - small array of food replenishment (aid stations are close enough together for small rations)
5 - belt for water bottle
6 - small thermos of coffee?

I should have put all of these into a waterproof backpack for Bill to carry to the aid stations. The crew can make the obvious adjustments as the race progresses.

Clothing and Comfort

I actually perform better when I am cold, and slightly uncomfortable. This plan works great for a marathon, pretty well for a 50 Mile, no so much for a 100 Mile. I was cold at mile 47, and had a chance to put on warmer stuff. I opted not to. I have this dumb mental state which makes me think I will start slipping (pace) if I am too comfortable. It is not true.

Once I was cold, especially my hands, I started losing control of my mental state. At mile 55, that is a steep slope.

Stay comfortable! When I changed into fresh clothes at mile 62 and put the belt on, I was a new man. I am not sure if I had done that at 55, I would have not had that bad spot, but I know it would not have been as bad.

After 50 miles, I don't like carrying a handheld. It gets heavy. Next time, plan for belt transition around 40-50.

I probably should invest in some gaiters. I did get rocks in my shoes, and had to dump and re-tie a couple of times.

I do much better without a backpack. Kettle has enough aid stations where I think it is not necessary. But, many people enjoy them, and it works for them. I guess the right one would work well for me too, but I would rather use them for a race where the aid stations are 10 miles apart (Superior 100).

Well, that's all for now.

Tomorrow I will recap on food and race strategy.


Runnin-From-The-Law said...

Sounds like so much planning involved in ultras! Right up my alley. Once this marathon thing is out of my system, I may have to give it a try!

Carl Gammon said...

Excellent points. When you know you're going to be out there for so long in a 100, it's easy to rationalize extra time in an aid station. But it all adds up.

I agree that having a crew is great. What are your opinions on pacers?

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

Thanks for this post. In the single 50 I did there was not much planning or crew. I was lucky that it was a 25 mile course that was simply repeated, so I passed the car at 25 and ended at the car at 50.

When I do another 50 or a 100 your tips will come in very handy, and make a lot of sense.