Ultra Race #2 is in the bag now and I'm happy to say that I finished! When I was running the last leg of the race, I was doing the last big climb of the race and it dawned on me that it was almost 10 years to the day of my hip surgery. That was a pretty humbling moment for me. I don't want to over state what I did, because I did finish last, but I will say that my goal was just to finish the race. When I was about to start the last loop of the race (13.1 miles), a race official came up and said that there was a cut-off time because they only had a limited time to use the park. That really lit a fire and I told him that I didn't care and that I was going to finish whether they were there or not. So with that being said, I finished the race.
I learned some valuable lessons from this race. The first thing is that I need to learn how to run down hills. The downhills for me were actually harder than the uphills. The second is that I need to fuel more than I did and I need to work out the timing for that a little better. I burned somewhere between 6000-7000 calories, but I only took in around 2500 calories. This was more my fault because I wasn't taking note of what I taking in. My goal on this has been to utilize fat as the primary fuel, so I have plenty of F-Bomb packets and walnuts to provide energy and pickles and pickle juice to help with electrolytes. I also had two 500 ml water bottles that I wore in my race vest. I did find that the amount of water was appropriate for the needs of the race. However, I did find that the pockets of my race vest were not easy to access while I was running, so I am currently investigating other vests. For those who are curious, I am using the Ultimate Direction Hard Rocker vest.
Another important component to my race was making sure that my joints where supported and maintained alignment. I also was worried about my feet and make sure that they were going to hold up. I am concerned about plantar fasciitis, as well, so I was pretty well taped up with RockTape under my running tights. If you're familiar with RockTape taping methods, I had my left IT Band and knee taped, both feet taped for plantar fasciitis, and a spiral chain taped on my right left. I was concerned with the external rotation of my right leg which was effecting my gate and causing some the swelling on my right foot. So needless to say, I was held together with Rock Tape, but it definitely helped.
The last thing I wanted to talk about is the shoes I wore. I mentioned before that I was concerned about my feet holding up and a big part of that was my footwear. I have never liked shoes with a lot of cushioning, but I needed to find something that could provide a little more cushioning because I am still a "husky runner" to say the least. I also wanted a shoe that had a lower heel to forefoot offset.
I generally prefer a zero drop, but the ones that were available I didn't really care for or didn't fit me well. I opted for the Under Armour Fat Tire 2 with the Boa System closure. They worked great and I didn't have a lot of the foot issues that plague a lot of people. I didn't get any blisters or hot spots, which is pretty impressive because I only had a couple of days to break them in for the race. They also have an integrated gator, which is important to keep out rocks and debris.
For the next race, I am thinking about adding trekking poles for the second half of the race, but I'm not sure. My goal for the next race is to finish with a little faster time. I'm hoping to break the 8 hour mark. I think with revising my training plan, that will be possible. The race was tough, but it was worth it. My hope is to keep improving my times and refining my training to best prepare for the next race.