June 30, 2008

Sweat Rate

I think I've finally figured out a reasonable strategy for fluid and electrolyte replacement!

Lately I've been anal retentive about documenting my pre and post run weight, fluid intake, electrolyte intake, etc. As it turns out, I've only been drinking about half of what I should be, which can be a BIG contributor to muscle cramping. I've been somewhat reluctant to gulp down lots of fluids because: a) fear of hyponatremia, especially being a salty sweater, b) I don't want an upset/sloshing stomach while running, c) I never needed that much fluid during road runs, d) most of the peer reviewed literature suggests that it's best to be a little dehydrated than overhydrated, and e) I don't want to be pissing like a race horse during a trail run.

Last weekend at Afton, I calculated my sweat rate to be 2.25 lbs/hour, meaning I need to drink 36 oz of fluid/hour to maintain my body weight (I only drank 32 oz for the 2 hours I was out there - less than half of what I should have). I also took 1 S cap/hour and didn't have any problems with cramping or hand swelling.

Today at Hyland, my sweat rate was 2.1 lbs/hour, meaning I need to drink 33-34 oz fluid to maintain (I drank 16 oz/hr + 1 S cap). Pretty close to what I'd expect compared to Afton, especially since Hyland is easier terrain to run on.

Game plan for Saturday at Afton = 36 oz HEED/hour + 1 S cap/hour, which works out to about 400 mg Na/hour (recommended range is 200-500 mg Na/hr) and 21 mg K/hour (recommended range is 20-50 mg K/hr).

If I cramp up this time, it will most likely be because of muscle fatigue due to deconditioning rather than dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. And the cramping will most likely take place in the grass that is taller than I am on the snowshoe loop. I hope I don't get lost.... ;)

June 28, 2008

Checkin' In

Hard to believe that the Fourth of July and the Afton 25K is next week already! Check out the awesome awards and shirts that Afton RD John designed! Sign up for what always proves to be an awesome race ;)

I've been forced to lay low on the running front after my 9 miler at Afton last weekend. The tendonitis in my foot has proven to be pretty stubborn, so I've been doing more strength training and biking. I even had to bail on a power hike after only 1.6 miles at RTA last Monday, and stopped after only 2 miles at Bredesen Thursday because of my foot. Now I'm hoping just to survive Afton and Moose Mountain :(

Signed up for the Mpls Trail Loppet 5K this morning - it is one of the MN Trail Run Series races in September. The entry fees go up after June 30, so if you're planning on running it for sure, register this weekend and save a little $.

Hope you are all having an awesome weekend!

June 22, 2008

Welcome to Summer

Finally! Beautiful weather for the first official weekend of summer! I spent Saturday running at Afton for the first time since last fall. Did about 9 miles on the Africa Loop, Back 40, Nigel's Hill (down only - I'll explain in a minute), and the Campground Hill. Goals for this run were to see how my foot would do on steeper hills, and to try out another electrolyte combination. Also wanted to wait until later in the day to run so that I can start getting acclimated to hot weather (last year's race was 100 degrees with 90+% humidity).

I had intended to do the first half of the 25K race course and even had the map with me, but missed the right turn at the lean to shelter near the end of the Africa Loop. Instead of heading back down the steep hill to the third aid station, I ended up going straight ahead and arriving at the top of the hill near the backpack campground. Just turned left and headed down Nigel's hill, then back up the Campground Hill as usual. As I was picking my way down the Campground Hill, Steve was making his way back up for God knows how many hill repeats. These are pretty steep hills, and the loose gravel can make them kinda slippery - almost like running on marbles - especially on the way down.

My run was more of a lolligag than a training run - stopped to watch deer a couple of times, had to check out the black berry patch on the Africa Loop (still blossoms on the bushes), helped a tourist figure out how to get down to the river, etc. I'm also pleased to report that the water pump in the campground is currently working :)

According to Garmin, my 9 mile run had an elevation gain of +1637 feet and -1634 feet, max grade was 29.7% on the hills, and my post run weight was 2.5 lbs lighter than my pre run weight even though I drank 40 oz of fluids and took 2 S caps.

My foot is a little sore today, so instead of running I did some weight lifting and biking. Hope to get this tendonitis cleared up soon - I'm getting a little worried about not being able to put in decent miles for Moose Mountain.

By the way, Zombie Runner has a coupon code ZRTRAILS that's good for 10% off your order - not sure when it expires, but it worked for me this morning.

Hope everyone who ran Grandma's had a great time! Can't wait to hear all of the race reports...

June 18, 2008

Spendy Sport

One of my running goals for this year is to "Shoot the Moon" and run all 12 of the MN Trail Race Series runs. It's getting spendy!

My foot has been sore again after the drive home from Sour Grapes - did a 2 miler yesterday and 4 today.

Hope to get a trail run in at Afton this weekend - probably stick mostly to the Africa Loop to test the foot. Or maybe head to RTA since it's closer to home and will use less gas to get there ;)

June 15, 2008

Sour Grapes Race Report


No, the race wasn't boring. My thoughtful neighbors decided to have a "Friday the 13'th" party Friday night, but apparently they forgot that Friday the 13'th ended at midnight. The hootin' and hollerin' finally subsided at 4:30 am on Saturday. My alarm was set for 4:45 to get up and drive to Brainerd for the Sour Grapes Half Marathon, another race in the MN Trail Run Series.

After a few sprinkles in the Twin Cities, the skies cleared and it was a beautiful, cool, sunny morning by the time I got to the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd. I wore my day glow orange Superior race shirt, so Jim and Wayne found me easily. Actually, Jim had his on too - we were easy to spot :) The 3 of us are trying to "shoot the moon" and run all 12 races in the MN Trail Run Series - I didn't see any other "regulars" that I knew.

We lined up along side the 10K runners for a mass start, and off we went onto the wide trails of the arboretum. The course is basically a 10K loop that the half marathoners run twice, plus a little bonus loop. My main goal for this race was to experiment with a new electrolyte replacement strategy since I've been having problems with cramping (results are here). Jim said his strategy was to start out slow, then taper ;)

The race was extremely well organized and the course was well marked. There was a "central" aid station that we kept passing as we looped along the maze of trails, so you would hit the same aid station from a different direction every couple of miles. Since I was carrying my own recipe, I didn't even stop at the aid stations except once to refill my bottle - nice way to save time.

The course itself was run on wide trails - probably old logging roads. A few bumps, but pretty flat and sandy. There were some nice long stretches in the woods mixed in with some gently rolling sections of more open terrain. It was hot in the sun, but there was a nice cool breeze and bugs weren't a problem. No technical running at all, and my foot didn't bother me during the race. (Different story after the 2+ hour drive home - back to ice and Aleve). Sleep deprivation had my mind wandering, and I really don't remember much about the scenery. I do remember that my 10 mile split was about 10 minutes faster than my run at Chester Woods last weekend.

Finally got to the finish line and headed over to the post race spread. Quite a bit of food available - deep fried turkey, pizza, pasta salad, home made baked goods, baked beans, watermelon, etc. I just had some pizza and pasta salad, then decided to change into some dry clothes and head back to the Twin Cities.

Thanks to RD Jeanne and her crew - there were LOTS of volunteers, all of whom were organized,very friendly, and enthusiastic! And whoever was in charge of the weather couldn't have done a nicer job :)

June 8, 2008

Chester Woods Race Report

Matt posted on his blog that you might be an ultra runner if the winner of the race finishes on a different day than you do. I almost pulled that off at the Chester Woods 10 mile yesterday! Not really, but I did get a new PR for slowest 10 mile run ever.

How do I feel about that?


Why am I thrilled?

Because my foot doesn't hurt, even though I re-tweaked it a couple of times during the race. And, I like to think that I got my money's worth touring a beautiful park just east of Rochester that I had never visited before.

I was feeling a little nervous about running 10 miles on trails since the tendonitis episode began after Superior a few weeks ago. Even running 4 miles on asphalt was setting me back just a week ago. I hadn't run at all since a 3 miler on the treadmill Tuesday, but the time off appears to be just what I needed.

I woke up to small hail pelting my windows, which wasn't anticipated. I thought we were supposed to have nice weather in the morning with rain later in the day? Driving down to Rochester, the skies cleared up and it was a beautiful morning. As we were lining up at the start, I noticed some dark clouds that seemed to be moving in our direction. Oh well!

Off we went, first through an open meadow with wide, grassy, gently rolling hills that had a few holes to watch out for. I was running pretty conservatively, carefully testing my foot and ankle. My foot was feeling OK, but the warm temps and humidity were very noticable to me, especially since it's been such a cool spring. After my electrolyte problem at Superior, I planned on taking an Endurolytes cap every 2 miles. I also brought my own isotonic sports drink in a hand held, mainly because I wasn't aware that there would be aid stations about every 2 miles.

Soon we came upon the first of the Burma shave mile markers and shortly afterwards were running through a campground with a few curious campers cheering. Short sections of asphalt, then wood chip trails, and then gravel road followed. The 5K leaders began to pass us until we parted ways on different trails. There was a gorgeous view from the ridge top overlooking a valley and a fun run through the woods.

By now, the skies had become overcast, and I thought I heard thunder in the distance. Or perhaps it was my heart pounding, since I was (am) so deconditioned after my 3 weeks of rest ;)
After crossing a bridge over a creek, we set off on an out and back loop, so I could see the faster runners returning as they passed me by. Just about the time I got into another wooded section, the skies opened up and rain came pouring down. Pouring. It was dark enough in the woods that I almost felt like I needed a flashlight! Tweaked my ankle a couple of times, but everything was still feeling OK. I got completely soaked to the skin and my shoes felt like bricks strapped to my feet, but the rain also helped cool me down. Next came a steep downhill followed by deep sand, then back into the woods. Footing was getting a little tricky, and the copious rain was making things slippery.

Another creek crossing, then a steep climb up the Big Dam Hill. This was another good test for my foot, especially since the side slope was causing it to overpronate. Beautiful view from the top! The worst of the hills were over at this point, but it was still slippery enough in the woods that I needed to slow down to keep my footing. Looking at my splits afterwards, I noticed that my pace slowed by 2 minutes/mile during the rain!

Just as I was nearing the finish, the sun came out again and my calves were starting to feel crampy. I stuck to my plan of 4 Endurolytes caps, plus my own sports drink, plus a few cups of Gatorade at the aid stations, but I think the humidity caused me to lose more water than I could replace during the run. I've still got some experimenting to do!

Wayne, Andy, and Judy were kind enough to stick around and cheer me to the finish line. Good thing I had my Garmin because the timer's watch died just then and we needed to use my watch to get my time. Then off we went to have a dill pickle and other post race refreshments. I changed into dry clothes and missed the awards ceremony in the process. Oops!

Still had a chance to meet RD Jim and thank him for the great job that he and his crew did to put on this race. He introduced me to several folks, including Hall of Fame Coach Severt Legred who served as the official race starter. The Rochester Track Club folks really know how to put on a great event, and I highly recommend this one!

June 6, 2008

Busy Weekend for MN Runners

Lots of the running locals will be pulling all nighters this weekend in warm and humid weather.

Brent and Matt will attempt to run 100 miles at Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin.

Steve, Carl, Karen, and Julie will be running for 24 hours at FANS, Adam is doing 12.

Many of us (including moi) will run the Chester Woods 10 mile near Rochester Saturday morning (part of the MN Trail Run series), then head over to Lake Nokomis in Mpls to cheer on our FANS buddies, many of whom will probably complete their first 100 mile race!

Stop by their blogs and wish them well!

June 3, 2008

Training Week

My foot feels much better than it did 2 weeks ago when I was limping and it hurt to even stand on it, but it's still not completely healed. I've been sticking mainly to the treadmill the past week and a half, but finally ventured out for 2 laps around Bredesen over the weekend. Was really hoping to meet up with the gang at Afton on Sunday, but any uneven terrain at all right now is really getting the foot riled up. Even 4 miles on asphalt at Bredesen got it pretty sore again (longest run I've done since the tendonitis started).

I'm a little worried about Chester Woods 10 mile this weekend - I haven't run on trails at all since Superior and am still going backwards after even short runs. This may turn out to be a power hike rather than a run.

I'm much more worried about Sour Grapes half marathon next weekend - I've heard that it's a pretty "bumpy" course where it's easy to roll your ankles (a few ankle eversions at Superior is how this all started). And I feel ridiculously out of shape at this point.

5/28 - 2 miles on the treadmill + strength training. Foot so-so afterwards. Ice.
5/30 - 3 miles on the treadmill + strength training. Foot ok afterwards, iced anyway.
5/31 - 4 miles at Bredesen - foot got kinda sore afterwards. Ice.
6/1 - 2+ miles near home - foot got sore enough that I pulled the plug early (was planning on 5) and walked the last 3. More ice.
6/2 - backwards squat intervals on the Ellipse + upper body strength training.
6/3 - 3 miles on the treadmill. Advil.

At least I'm able to do a little, albeit very little, running at this point. The toughest part is trying to find the patience to let this heal so it doesn't become chronic.