A couple races since my last report:
Hallucination 100 (Sept 6) at Woodstock - another DNF:
After recovering from the disabling back pain at Mohican, my summer training went very well. It was a cooler than normal Summer, with a very cool 1st half of August. I had several good runs over 25 miles (no back pain). I felt like in the best shape ever this time of year since I normally run very little during the summer. No signs of back pain . . . until 2 days before the race!! Actually it was just tightness & it's the feeling I get when my back is about to go out. I have no idea what I did to bring it on . . . .
In the very 1st mile, I realized that I was not going to finish the race. Pretty depressing since I thought there was a possibility I could PR the distance based on my training runs. The course is the flattest that I run on all year & if one wanted to run their best time, this was the course to do it on.
The back pain progressed slowly until eventually my back gave out altogether a few miles from the end of the 2nd lap (of 6 laps). From there I walked it (staggered) in.
Best part of the event was seeing all the local runners who also made the trip. Cynthia Heady, RD for Louisville's Lovin' The Hills (LLTH) was leading the women's race until having stomach issues.
getting ready for Not Yo Momma's:
Last year this race was the only long race that I didn't have any gut issues. I realize now what I did -- it was a cool night camping & I remember curling up on my LEFT side on a slight hill. If I had only realized it then that this would prevent the pain, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.
So this year, with my gut issues under control (knock on wood) and no back pain after Mohican, I signed up for this race & many others this summer for a very ambitious fall/winter schedule. The last time I set up such a schedule, I caught the swine flu & that destroyed me for several months. This time, my fickle back has thrown a wrench into my plans.
With back pain my no. 1 concern this year, I made several changes since the DNF at the Hallucination 100: Increased my fish oil supplements; started back on glucosamine chondroitin; and started training with a back brace. I was going to start a series of pilates sessions, but after the 1st class, I realized I did not have the coordination & dedication to keep at for the time I needed to. What would probably help the most is to lose 20 pounds -- but that's much easier said than done. I even seriously thought about seeing a chiropractor, though I'm still a little fearful of that yet.
During that good spell over the Summer, I signed up for the 100 mile version of the races at Not Yo Momma's . Since my back was acting up the night before the race, I switched to the 100k on race morning. First time I've ever worn a back brace in a race & for an extended period. Advantages of the brace:
Sucks in my gut like a girdle -- keeps it from overhanging & there's less strain to keep upright.
Holds in heat at the back & fits firmly (does not move causing raw areas).
So far has kept my back from going out (does not stop all the pain though).
Bulky & weighs in at 2 pounds -- more when wet w/sweat. The weight is very noticeable.
Makes it feel like it's 10-15 degrees warmer during the race than it actually is. Most definitely makes me sweat even more.
Had to modify it by adding bubble wrap to provide more lumbar support -- haven't found a solution to keep it exactly where it needs to be & it slips alot.
May interfere with digestion.
Not Yo Momma's 100 (9-28) - close to DNF:
The race went very well for the 1st 3 laps (16 miles each) - the back brace did its job. It got hot & I sweat so much the brace almost turned all white w/salt! However, I made a critical error. For some reason, I completely forgot to take my Ensure -- I think when I changed from the 100m to 100k at the last second, I just didn't use any nutrition plan as I hadn't planned on running the 100k. Anyway, I get sick of just gels after 50 miles & that's just what happened. I don't know if the brace restricting my gut had anything to do with it, but at 52 miles, I got very sick. I sat down for 2 hours & took off the brace -- with the 32 hour time limit, I had time to spare. Finally, after heaving up everything (I think I emptied my small intestine), I was able to limp in the last 12 miles.
At 50 miles, I was on pace to finish in less than 18 hours (last year was 18:45), but I'm happy just to have finished. This course is an exact opposite of the Hallucination 100 with its' profile. I believe this course is as difficult as, or more difficult than Massanutten & that's saying alot. Not rocky technical, but the very steep hills are relentless & incomparable to any others I've encountered. There are only a few technical areas on the well groomed trail -- however I did manage to bust the nail on my big toe and that's just another added pain to deal with now.
My ambitious schedule continues. I have 3 races in the next 16 days! Starts with the Cumberland Trail 50k tomorrow morning . . .