While it is readily apparent to almost everyone, it still amazes me what hard work, consistency, and determination can do. I have continued my efforts in 2017 literally putting one foot in front of the other on a daily basis. This past Saturday, I decided it was time to follow up my 50 km effort in February with a 60 km fun run around Mexico City. I prepared during the week by not running twice on any day and keeping all but one day below 16 km. Throughout the week I visualized the run over and over; imagining how much fun I will have during the approximate 6 hours on my feet. The actual run went very well and I had plenty of fun. Here are a few things I noticed:
- My stamina has reached the point where I can run at least 50 km without really feeling any substantial fatigue. This is a huge increase considering only three months ago I felt fatigue after 20 km.
- I was able to run headphone free and didn’t suffer from boredom or go crazy from too many things going through my mind. I spent much of the time thinking of what good food I’ll eat when I get home, how grateful I am for the family I have, how lucky I felt to be able to do what I was doing, and other random observations of the environment around me. There was plenty of time where I just blanked out and just went along for the ride–a sort of active meditation.
- After the run, I wasn’t really sore. The next day I was able to get out and do an easy run and two days later I still hadn’t experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle syndrome). It seems to me, that my body is in the best condition it has ever been in my adult life. In the past after marathon distances or further I would definitely feel some pain. Considering this 60 km run had nearly 1100 meters in elevation gain, I was quite surprised but also happy.
- My nutrition methods worked fairly well. I used Tailwind in the water in my hydration pack, brought several Huma chia gels, and one Larabar. I think I consumed around 1100 calories throughout the nearly 6 hours. Maybe some of my fatigue around the 5:20 mark was due to the fact I needed a little bit more. I weighed myself before and after the run and I was down about 2 kg afterwards which means I needed to drink a bit more water.
- Prior to the run, I memorized the entire path I planed and I broke it into three distinct parts. That way I wasn’t messing around with my phone to look at a map or looking at my GPS watch to see how much further I needed to go. Instead I just looked for landmarks to help judge where I was on my course. My main focus was to complete each third of the course and once a third was complete, I would reset my focus to start the next third.
- My ego got going a little bit during my run when I entered a major park. Since it was early Saturday morning, it seemed like the whole city was at the park running. The reason I mentioned my ego is because in my mind I started contemplating ways other people could know how far I had run so far that day. Some people I was running near would huff and puff trying to pass me and I just wanted to say “Yes, that’s nice, I’ve run over 50km today…and you?” The thought process was completely silly and I know that no one could care less but I guess I was just proud of how hard I had worked that morning before the rest of the city had even started their days.
Going forward I think I’m going to try to do one of these longer efforts at least once per month. I also believe that I need to find an ultramarathon or two to enter this year. It’s been 14 months since my last one. I also need to complete a qualifier for Western States so I can keep my consecutive entries going.
My parting thought today is I am not sure what to do about my current run streak. I have run 71 straight days which is the longest streak of my life. Most coaches do not recommend streaks to maximize performance but I have found that the daily focus has benefited me tremendously. What I have made sure to do is rarely push myself too hard. Every now and then I’ll feel extra energy and have some pep in my step but for the most part, I just run nice and easy. After 2-3 months using this method, I’m running faster with a lower heart rate. For the time being, I’m going to keep the streak going unless some sort of injury pops up. I feel good and am happy with the results so let’s see what a longer streak will bring.