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Training for a speed hike.
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Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Updates on 05/01/2010 20:14:57 MDT Print View

Nate, Wow you've come an amazingly long way. Pretty impressive what motivation can accomplish.

If you're serious, try and work out some kind of third party verification. pass a little card out with your email address, ask them to send off a quick note stating date, time, location, whatever else strikes them. IF you bring a camera, have others shoot you with someone else. If others take your picture, ask them to email you a copy, etc.
Crossing the Connecticutt River is a quandry, regarding unsupported and overall time. I don't have an answer. Would be nice if there was a rules committee but there isn't. Generally so far, the first FKT guy sort of sets the rules by the style he does it in. Others who follow are free to use his self imposed rules or go him one better.

Some ultra runners use them, many don't. Some use "no doze" to keep awake at night, many do not. Drug testing has not yet worked its way into the ultra trail scene as far as I know, so its up to you. If you want to be totally kosher, research what's allowed at the Tour de France and go from there.
Regarding use of painkillers simply to mask pain so you can inflict more pain ... remember pain is the bodies way of telling you to knock it off. You don't want to mask all pain or you could get yourself in trouble.

Injinji Socks
I wear the Coolmax version most of the time because I like the mini crew length best and I think the wool version only comes in Quarter length. But Coolmax is more delicate. I've worn holes in them in one day of long mileage (3 times) because I didn't want to stop and remove the sand that had accumulated in my shoes.
Just something to consider.

Perpetuum is great stuff, but practice with it before your big trip. It can be messy and slow if you don't have a good system worked out. Also, you don't have to mix it in the recommended consistancy listed on the container. You can make it thicker or thinner to fit your palate.
Do you take electrolytes during your long days?
Hammer Endurolytes work great.
The more you need to drink, the more elctrolyte replacements you should be taking also.

make sure you Taper your training for At least a full week before your big trip. how much you taper depends on your conditioning and the intensity of your workouts. If you did your peak workout week 3 or 4 weeks before D-day, then dropped down some 2 weeks before, then dropped to half level (at least) the week before, you'd probably be primed to go.
Tapering involves decreasing both mileage AND intensity.

Best of luck

Edited by asandh on 05/01/2010 20:22:15 MDT.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
re: Updates on 05/02/2010 04:52:27 MDT Print View

@ Greg -- Actually, I'm going to have to buy a new pair within the next week or two, I think. I love these shoes, but the tread seems to wear somewhat quickly. They'll be up to about 250 miles in two weeks time, and although they won't be completely destroyed by then, they won't be where I need them to be for the types of long hikes I'm doing right now. I think I'll probably save them and continue to use them on shorter runs and day hikes after I've attempted the speed hike.

Most likely, I'll probably have to buy yet another pair a week or two before the speed hike. It depends on how many miles I've put on this next pair, but if I'm near the 200 mark by the time the speed hike comes, it'll be worth getting a new pair and using those. Ugh. Lots of money.

Again, I won't be throwing those pairs out, I just don't want to use them for 30+ mile training hikes and for the big hike.

@ Bob -- I was assuming that my cramping was due to lack of electrolytes as well. I was honestly pretty stupid on that 35 mile hike, nutrition-wise. I woke up early in the morning and realized I had way less food than I thought I did. Since I wanted to be home before sunset, I just left and hit the trail with what I had -- 1500 calories in Clif Bars. I was rationing myself to about one Clif Bar every two hours and started to bonk pretty hard at around the 22-23 mile mark, but managed to keep going somehow. What really killed me was a 500 foot climb over a 1/2 mile at mile 32. That was tough.

I'm definitely being much more nutrition/electrolyte conscious now. I'm probably lucky I didn't get hurt on that one.

@ Art -

FKT - I've read about the business card method and plan to use that. I'm also going to do what Brett did on his JMT record hike and take video logs as I'm hiking. I really like that idea; it gives me a record of the trip and doesn't really waste any time.

My plan for the CT River is to try and barter passage across and just hope I can do it quickly since it'll be eating into my time. The trail crosses at a popular boat ramp (another reason why swimming would be dangerous), and on a Saturday in June, I should be able to get a ride pretty quickly if I'm flashing a $10 bill. It's only a 1/4 mile - maybe a bit less - to get across.

In my mind, since nothing is pre-arranged, it should allow the unsupported status to stand. Swimming here just seems stupid.

Painkillers - Again, I don't necessarily plan on using many. I take them very rarely as is, maybe once every couple of months. I was just curious if this is something lots of ultrarunners do. That said, it might not be a bad idea to pop a couple of ibuprofin before bed for the benefit to my joints, as others have mentioned.

Injinji - I used to be all about the quarter length, because I had this bad habit of knicking my ankles with the opposite foot. Having a sock over the ankle helped with that. I must have improved my form because this isn't a problem anymore, so I don't think the mini size will be an issue either. I already have a pair of Coolmax socks, so I'll start using them and watch how they wear. They're light enough that if I have to throw an extra pair in my pack for the trip, it'll probably be worth it.

Perpetuum - I'm planning to pick up one of those huge tubs of it in the next week or two. I'm planning to do at least 3 more 30+ mile days and hopefully a big overnight before the trip. There should be plenty of 20+ mile days in there as well. This should give me ample opportunity to get used to using it. I think what I'll do is use gatorade bottles for this trip. One for Perpetuum and one for water. I'll probably carry one Platypus bottle in my pack as well, as there are a couple of stretches where I'll need to carry more than one liter of water.

Tapering -- I was definitely planning on doing this at some level. The week before the big hike, I was thinking I'd limit any and all hikes to 3 or 4 miles. Enough to keep my joints and muscles in shape, but not enough to push them in any way. I'll give this some more thought and try to work out an actual plan.

Thanks everyone for your input. I'm now off to run a 12 mile trail race with 3800 feet of elevation gain in 85 degree heat and 72% humidity. Basically, I'm about to hate myself.

Edited by Knaight on 05/02/2010 04:53:58 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Wide Mouth Bottle for Perpetuum on 05/02/2010 08:43:40 MDT Print View

I used a Gatorade bottle for my Perpetuum first time I brought it to the Sierras.
The mouth is Not wide enough for easy use, and it was messy.
I'd strongly recommend a standard 21oz wide mouth screw top trail running bottle. Even though its a few grams heavier, the ease of use is worth it.

You could win back a few of those grams by picking a lighter weight water bottle than a Gatorade bottle. Maybe one with a smaller mouth so your not enouraged to guzzle as much water when you drink. Better to drink frequently in small amounts than a lot all at once.

Edited by asandh on 05/02/2010 08:52:01 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Wide Mouth Bottle for Perpetuum on 05/02/2010 09:11:59 MDT Print View

Pre-measure into a ZipLock. Scotchtape the ZipLock flaps shut.
Fill the water bottle about 1/3 full.
Tear off a big chunk of the corner of the ZipLock.
Add/shake, add/shake, , add water, add/shake
Top off with water, leaving a little headroom, shake.

It will take a little practice to minimize clumping.
If you have access to ice (like at a convenience store soda dispenser ), it will vastly improve the experience.

Try all three "flavors", although I find 'Unflavored' most tolerable.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: training on 05/02/2010 09:40:40 MDT Print View

Rock on Nate. It sounds like you are all set, just don't get hurt, keep it up, and execute and you'll be fine. When is the magic date?

Electrolyte tabs seem like a good idea in the hot and humid NE. Endurolytes don't have much good stuff per unit. S-caps are much better.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 10:13:56 MDT Print View

The two big ones are Sodium and Potassium.

A typical fit individual looses about 1 gram of sodium per liter of sweat. Two "00" (double ought) gelatin capsules, bought at the local health food store, filled by you at your dining room table with good old regular salt will provide a gram of usable sodium.

Buy ~50 caps, fill a bowl with salt, scoop with both halves, squeeze together, and put a days worth in snack size ziplocks that you will have easy and immediate access to.

For every liter of water that you consume, down two gelatin caps, +/-. I usually don't start until the 3rd or 4th liter. YMMV, and needs to be stress tested.

Bananas would provide plenty of potassium. I do not know loss rates. I just eat 2 or 3 a day. Somewhere there are numbers on "potassium per banana" that could be used for estimating stuff in capsules. Plus, the "Phood" you take might have plenty.

Don't let the electrolyte thing get out of hand. If you have had good pre-event nutrition, you'll do fine with just these two.

Edit: I see Perpetuum has 220 mg of sodium per serving, not a lot, but something to factor in.

Edit 2: Same goes for potato chips, etc.

Edited by greg23 on 05/02/2010 10:21:19 MDT.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 12:46:22 MDT Print View

You guys aren't kidding on electrolytes. I just had my first bad electrolyte crash today.

As I said, I had a race today. The Seven Sisters Trail Race in South Hadley, MA. It's 12 extremely tough miles with 3700-3800 feet of elevation gain. It's famous because there is a similar length race up Mt. Washington in NH with a fair bit more elevation gain where runners tend to make much better time. The footing here sucks.

Anyway, I've run the course before with some success. Not fast enough to be a contender, but fast enough to make me fairly happy. My best time was 3:02:06, which is actually a solid time on that course.

Today it reached 85 degrees and over 75% humidity. It was AWFUL. I actually ran it quite well for the first ten miles, staying just above the 4 MPH mark which was pretty much my goal. Since I have trouble eating gels while running and don't own a Hammer Gel flask or something similar, I just threw a couple of Clif Bars in my pack. I've done this before on long runs and it's never been an issue.

At 10 miles, I hit a WALL. I tripped on a rock, caught myself on a tree, but my leg cramped up like mad. I took a two minute break, then kept running. Every step was dangerous. I kept catching my toes on roots and rocks.

There was an aid station at 10.25 miles, so I sat down and drank some water. They unfortunately didn't have any salt tabs or electrolyte offerings. Apparently I was in such bad shape that the EMT there told me he was making an executive decision and was going to take me down the mountain on his ATV.

I bargained with him -- told him that I knew the course well and knew I could make it, and to just let me sit a few more minutes. I told him I'd be happy to rest until he felt okay with me going on. Apparently my confidence won him over and he was cool with that.

I ended up taking a 20 minute break. During that time a runner came by that was carrying some salt tabs. He gave me one and within five minutes I felt a million times better. I couldn't believe the difference it made. I told the EMT I was going to get going. He didn't love the idea but was okay with it.

I got up and walked the next .75 miles, then caught a second wind and ran the last mile pretty hard. I finished at approximately 3 hrs and 37 minutes, which would normally be disappointing. Honestly, considering what happened, I felt pretty good about it. It was also a great lesson for this upcoming thru-hike, where I'll likely experience some similar heat and humidity. I'll definitely be bringing along salt tabs or something similar.

Pretty crazy experience. I've done that run a few times and it has never taken so much out of me. I'm glad I learned my lesson the hard way before the big hike.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 13:21:13 MDT Print View

Way to regroup, think, and hang in there. Another day of learning.

Regarding salt tablets - Thermotabs are the most common, but be aware that of tablet's 450 mg of Sodium Chloride, only 180 mg is sodium (40%). So you need about 5+ tablets to replace the 1 gram you lost in one liter of sweat.

I encourage you to read labels and do the math on your food as well as any "supplements" up for consideration. There is a lot of hype and folklore that won't hold up to even moderate scrutiny.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 13:49:41 MDT Print View

Good job on sticking with it Nate.
I'm running a trail race with a very similar profile to yours next Saturday: 13.1 miles; 3,300' gain but the weather should be a bit cooler.

Over the last ~year of running, I've started to train myself to get by with less water and food. I don't know what people's thoughts are on this, but it's working for me. I basically got tired of feeling I "needed" to carry tons of water and started drinking a lot prior to a run and carrying less (if any, depending on distance) during- gradually. I'm now able to run up to about 12 miles of trail in 75 degree weather without carrying food or water. This has certainly added to my freedom in the mountains- nothing better than only needing shorts and shoes.

I fully realize that at longer distances if one runs a deficit early you likely won't be able to make it up, so this is not a universal strategy. I've been there and learned the hard way. I remember coming home from a 15 mile trail run that was ~100 degrees...I intentionally didn't carry enough water (yes, crazy/stupid, I know) to see how far I could push it. I made it, but fried my brain a bit...I was literally slurring my speech when I got home and acting a bit loopy. I just felt super thirsty and fatigued- It was my wife that told me I was really a mess. I was oblivious.
But I learned what that felt like, so I guess it's beneficial...

But I have found that I've been able to physically and mentally adjust- comfortably- to going longer without food and water. I think that you can habituate your body to a certain level of food and water- great or small, and, with time, you'll adjust. Back in the day I'd feel panicked running 13 miles of trail without carrying at least 32 ounces, electrolytes, and some gel. I think I was training myself to rely too much on food and drink. Now I don't need anything at that distance.

I question whether this is a matter of increased pace and fitness: less time/exertion on the trail = needing less food and drink or if you can train to simply need less. Perhaps it's both.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 13:50:05 MDT Print View

I've got several more big hikes coming up, so I'll try a few different things. I'd like to stay away from refined sugars, so Gatorade isn't something I'm interested in. I also don't want to carry the weight of bananas. There are plenty of options out there, though, so I'll start picking some up and giving them a shot. Overall, I've heard good things about Endurolytes, but it seems a few people here have the opposite opinion.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 14:01:53 MDT Print View

Craig, I think your strategy is the right one. The race today was out and back, so at around the 5 mile mark, I started seeing the first few elite runners coming back the other way. The first 5 - 8 of them were shirtless and carried nothing.

I think a huge part of it is increased pace and fitness. These guys ran the trail in less than two hours, and I myself have done runs of a little over an hour with no water, and over two hours with no food.

I'm assuming by your screenname that you're straight edge, which I imagine also helps. I do enjoy my beer, but when I've had even one the night before a long run or hike, it seems to impact my performance. I've been cutting down a fair bit over the last couple of months.

I'd like to get to the point of being able to run that far without water; I'm just not there yet. I think my longest run without water was something like 4.5 miles, but my first trail run ever was last September, so I feel that I'm doing okay.

I will probably run this race next year since it's only a few miles from my house and is generally cooler on May 2nd. It'll be interesting to see how I do then.

For the upcoming thru-hike, though, I am definitely going to be conscious of my food, water, and electrolyte intake. I'm planning on doing 15-16 hours of hiking for the first two days, which will be tough if it's hot out.

Edited by Knaight on 05/02/2010 14:06:26 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 14:19:38 MDT Print View

Hardly straightedge! I am VERY well acquainted with beer and wine and the occasional bad whiskey binge...Just not the night before a long run or race! Aaaah...but cold beers after...

I think running w/o water certainly requires a little bit of planning ahead though- hydrate well the night before and prior to the run.

Obviously, not carrying food/water/electrolytes for real long distances (subjective!) and/or backpacking makes no sense.

But I know it's another common mistake of beginning runners (I did it): carrying too much water/food. I understand that hyponatremia is often as common as dehydration in many major marathons with a lot of beginners: too many overly worry about drinking and eating enough and overcompensate to the point of illness.

Nate Davis
(Knaight) - F

Locale: Western Massachusetts
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 14:30:56 MDT Print View

Ha, just made the straight edge assumption based on the x's around "noman".

I was a bit concerned about hyponatremia today, actually. When I sat down at the ten mile mark, I drank maybe a liter of water and then stopped, despite the fact that I was still thirsty. I figured if my heart rate went down enough I could finish the race and just get some salt and water afterward.

Once that guy came by with the salt tabs, I took one and then took some more water, confident that I was safe to hydrate myself a bit more.

I carried about two liters of water today and also drank some water at aid stations. I could have topped off my bladder at those stations, but I knew that'd take time, so that's why I carried so much. Honestly, I don't feel it was a mistake given my current level of fitness. I just wish I'd been okay in the electrolyte department, because I think I would have had a pretty awesome time, especially considering the weather!

But like I said before, I'm not upset. I learned a valuable lesson and did the right thing by taking a breather.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 15:22:36 MDT Print View

Buy ~50 caps, fill a bowl with salt,

Note that Morton's Lite salt has potassium in it. You could make a judicious mix of it with regular salt to get the Na / K proportion you want.

If you are drinking, consider adding a tolerable amount to your liquid -- that way you are taking it in more as needed than just a big burst (salt tab) at one time.


Edited by blean on 05/02/2010 15:23:09 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Morton Lite Salt on 05/02/2010 16:55:50 MDT Print View

"Note that Morton's Lite salt has potassium in it. You could make a judicious mix of it with regular salt to get the Na / K proportion you want."

+1 1/4 tsp (1.4 grams) of Morton Lite Salt contains 290 mg of sodium and 350 mg of potassium. I add this to a 24 oz bottle of water and use it to dilute a bottle of Perpetuem mixed double strength by alternating swigs on the move. It has worked very well for me in eliminating cramps, especially on long hot ascents of trails on the east side of the Sierra. The Perpetuem contains quite a bit of calcium, and I get my magnesium from CalMag mineral supplement pills at either end of the day. You need all 4 electrolytes to avoid cramping and other problems.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Overcompensation on 05/02/2010 17:00:53 MDT Print View

"a lot of beginners: too many overly worry about drinking and eating enough and overcompensate to the point of illness."

Not to mention death. Another good reason for adding electrolytes to your water, IMO.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Wide Mouth Bottle for Perpetuum on 05/02/2010 17:15:30 MDT Print View

"Pre-measure into a ZipLock. Scotchtape the ZipLock flaps shut.
Fill the water bottle about 1/3 full.
Tear off a big chunk of the corner of the ZipLock.
Add/shake, add/shake, , add water, add/shake
Top off with water, leaving a little headroom, shake."

+1 works like a charm. With a bit of practice, you can do it with even narrower mouthed bottles. Just nip off a smaller piece of the Zip Loc baggie.

Edited by ouzel on 05/02/2010 17:58:20 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Morton Lite Salt on 05/02/2010 17:16:15 MDT Print View

I've gotten by on a poor-woman's hydration drink made of diet lemonade mix and morton's lite salt.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Morton Lite Salt on 05/02/2010 17:57:04 MDT Print View

"I've gotten by on a poor-woman's hydration drink made of diet lemonade mix and morton's lite salt."

What a great idea.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Electrolytes on 05/02/2010 18:05:58 MDT Print View

I was crewing at 100-mile race, and one elite runner paused at the 62-mile checkpoint while I watched him bark instructions to his crew.

"I want 50-50 flat Coke and water, with a pinch of salt."

That gave him the essentials of water, sugar, salt, and caffeine.

By the time they had changed his shoes, he had consumed 16 ounces of the stuff, and he ran off toward the sunset.