Leadville Chronicles: Entry #2
My thoughts are shapeless, my vision fuzzy, my intentions unclear. I am not sure how I got here, what conversations I have had in the last 3 hours, I am not sure who I just got off the phone with. I am adrift in some weird dream…..no, no I am not. The world comes back into focus, I snap out of it and realize I am in a Jack in the Box drive thru, half-way through an enormous crate of curly fries and gulping a keg-sized Dr. Pepper like it’s my first drink in a year. Day 4 of wearing a weight vest all hours of the day has taken its toll.
I think I am really on to something, though. My metabolism is in overdrive, I already feel stronger. (Hard not to when I’m in meetings in business attire wearing a weight vest unknown to everyone except me.) It is empowering. I would strongly encourage you readers to try this….obviously Hyperwear will do better if millions of you go buy our vest, but it is also a super simple way to burn more calories. I am literally hungry all the time and occasionally slip up…hence the curly fries and Dr. Pepper. But motivation is still high and I am determined.
Side note: For those that read my previous blog and know I sucked it up big time at the Bandera 50k, it seems the raw organic smoothie I had at 4am wasn’t a great idea. Despite our society’s goal of putting the most common of common sense warnings on every possible item, somehow I missed the warning that “copious amounts of coconut oil consumed in a smoothie an hour before an ultra may cause earth shattering diarrhea.” Well, lesson learned and now I am smarter for it.
Training is going well, but I wanted to know my baseline and have something to compare against at the end of this. So, I enlisted the help of Dr. John Ivy and Phil Stanforth at the University of Texas at Austin to test my VO2 max and my body composition. The plan is to retest in July and see how I have progressed.
Unfortunately for my ego, I am ridiculously average and have a long way to go. I have a VO2 max of 48.6 and according to the Dexa my body fat is 19.1%. Denver 0, The Aging Process 1. But, I am even more determined to make improvements. Interestingly though, neither Dr. Ivy nor Mr. Stanforth were extremely bullish on wearing a weight vest at all times for the benefits of endurance training. They liked my training plan in general but were a little skeptical of weight vesting all day everyday.
That’s right “Weight Vesting” is now a verb…feel free to use it.
I, however, still remain committed to the notion that it is making me stronger everyday. Mostly because I can see and feel the changes taking place.
My running training has commenced with no surprises and I feel somewhat stronger. Hills remain a big focus. Side note: I have potentially tapped into a group of ultra runners here in Austin that just might be my saving grace but too early to tell. Bottom line, these guys are the real deal and not scared to crank out 20 miles at 4am on a work day 8 months prior to race day….serious stuff.
My super SandBell cardio sessions hit an epic high this past week. I did a version of Equinox’s Stacked Class and wow, that is intense. Especially if you include the Curtsy Lunge (for us men, maybe we can call it a crossover lunge). If you have any interest is sculpting your butt checks, which incidentally is my secondary goal to this training camp, do this movement. It is killer.
I have heard a lot of ultra veterans refer to ultrarunning as an eating contest with a little running mixed in. It is true that when you go beyond about 4-6 hours of running your body can do some strange things. As soon as you think you have totally mastered your running nutrition plan, boom, that once glorious bottle of Perpetuem goes down like curdled goat milk….or that trusty GU packet sits like a glob of disgusting on your tongue determined to relax and go nowhere. Trust me, inconsistency is the norm, but planning for that is the key.
Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t go in with a plan that has been tried and tested. My usual plan is to consume about 200-300 calories an hour for the duration. I try to take in a few E Caps every hour (depending on the heat) and I hit the Perpetuem about every 4 hours. Haven’t tried Perpetuam? Wow, I am surprised they don’t recommend injecting this stuff in your arm. It is like the runner’s drug, if there really was such a thing. Then, intermittently I try to consume real food. PBJ’s, crackers, cookies, soup, etc. And, I am fired up to mention the latest installment of my nutritional plan…..beet juice. That is right, my friends at Neogenis Sport have come up with BeetElite, a concentrated organic beet juice crystal powder that you mix with water. New to beet juice? Well, all it does is allow your body to maximize the use of oxygen among other things. Try it out, I highly recommend it.
That is my typical race nutritional plan, but when The Beast comes, oh and she will come, get ready for everything to go out the window. The Beast I refer to by name with a sense of awe and reverence. I hate The Beast but I love The Beast as well. The Beast is the reason I sign up for these stupid races. It is the pain…could be just the joint pain that permeates your soul after about 10 hours of running. Could be the nausea that seems to follow me around like some sick joke. Could be the “all of sudden” knowledge that you are unbelievably miserable after running 14 hours and you are only half way. The Beast can be a lot of things but one thing it is consistently….it is the challenge you must overcome.
The Beast is what time after time beats us down to the absolute core. It beats us down sometimes so badly, we give in, we tap, we say “uncle”. After all, we are human and can’t win them all. But, ultrarunning and running a startup company have taught me very valuable lessons about The Beast. We can overcome that bitch if we know she is coming, welcome her even, know we will get knocked down, and force ourselves back up. It is cliché to say but it’s not how many times we fall, but how many times we get back up. You want to experience that literally, run 50 miles. You want to look at the world like a playground and not the biggest rock stuck to our feet? Willingly, take on The Beast. Once you do, you will change.
And, once you’ve conquered The Beast, if you are anything like me, you will want to meet her again. Trust me though when you do meet her again, she will be more pissed than ever.
It’s Feb 7, 190 days to prepare.