The Journey Towards My First 100-Miler Begins!

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This is my first official blog about running my first 100-mile race.  Although I have been doing ultra-trail races since September of 2013.  None has been longer than the 100K, about 62 miles, which I completed with my daughter, Nichole Ortega, in February of 2016 at the Black Canyon Ultras.  So let me start by saying I am doing the Javelina Jundred on October 29-30 of 2106.  Excuse the spelling of Jundred.  It’s how Aravaipa spells it for this particular race.  Probably should look into that.  Well long story short, I really never thought I would attempt a Trail 100 miler.  But something snapped in my head in January of this year as I was overcoming an injury and was totally redoing my nutrition and training program.  I realized on a run one day that I could do it.  Especially if some of the new things, that I will share with you, start coming together.  That’s when I shared with my good friend and coach, Benedict Dugger, whom I have named “The Grand Canyon Guru.”  To most others he’s “The Flying Dutchman,” about my realization that I could do a 100 miler.  He said the best thing he could, “I’ll help you do it!”  That’s really all I needed.  Since January I have been learning about and using a Heartrate Monitor to help slow my pace, a metronome to master my cadence, form and technique work to run efficiently and lastly I became fat adapted to better use the fuel my body provides and eliminate all gut issues.  All was going great with all these changes, although a bit chaotic, then in May I ended up getting the Flu after having one the best training months in my ultra-training Life.  That takes us up to July 1, 2016 my 57th Birthday.  I declared that to be the official start to my 100-mile training.  It gives me 17 weeks to the race.  This first blog will review the first 17 days of my quest to run my First 100 miler!

Week One

First off I will at various times review different parts of my training, my running, strength work, nutrition and mindset/stress reduction strategies.  So let me first review the structure of a normal training week, which I obviously am free to change as needed on my journey!  Monday,Wednesday and Friday mornings are set aside for my strength work or special exercises.  This is normally done at Pap’s Dungeon or at my house.  Tuesday is normally light tire pulling.  I keep the tire weight to 20-25 pounds.  I pull it around the hilly streets of my neighborhood for at least an hour.  I finish with 15 minutes of easy barefoot running at better than race pace.  I normally monitor my heart rate on these days, but I’ve had trouble with my monitor lately, hoping to get this taken care of, as the heart rate monitor is a key piece to the puzzle.  Thursdays have been an easy trail run around Lookout Mountain.  Easy pace, concentrating on form.  Finish again with a barefoot 15 minute run at better than race pace.  In the evenings on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday.  I use this time to work with my metronome on my cadence.  Currently I work at 164-174 strides per minute.  I am currently doing this barefoot.  Lastly my big day is Saturday.  My goal is to be on my feet for a minimum 4 hours.  This first weekend, which was July 2nd, I had planned an 8 hour plus run at Lookout.  I was testing some race nutrition strategies with a product called UCAN and I used an ice-bandana for heat control.  Overall a very good day with 5500 feet of climb and a 100-degree finish.  I was off to a great start on my first week!  Sunday was total rest.

I Followed my normal schedule during this first complete week.  Ending July 10th. Nothing really changed.  The temps here in Phoenix were still getting up in the 100’s.  Morning temps were usually in the high 80’s.  The next Saturday was a hill repeat workout on the back side of Shaw Butte.  Since I am really focusing on slowing down my heart rate.  I ended up doing a lot of walking on my climbing.  I know it’s tough to believe, that going slow, keeping my heart low, will improve my health and fitness, but I’ve got faith that this is the right path.  This second Saturday goal was a 5- hour workout.  After 4:30 and 4500 feet of climbing I decided to finish at home with an easy 30 minute barefoot run.  Although it was hot it felt great.  Low stress!  Finished the week on Sunday with some special exercises and an easy 2-mile barefoot run, mostly on grass because of the heat. 

Week Two

Followed my normal schedule.  The temps were actually a little higher this week.  No big deal.  On Monday this week I made some changes because of my work schedule.  I trained at home with heavy tire pulling.  I also dusted off my Prowler Sled.  It felt good.  Also did some overhead weight walking, with a 45-pound bar.  I also began going barefoot on my cadence work in the evening.  This feels great.  It actually helps to relax me.  The third Saturday session was a 6-hour training session on Lookout Mountain.  This week’s goal was to investigate VESPA as a nutrition tool, extend my warmup walk and cooldown.  This is what Benedict Dugger is calling Polar Training.  Finished 6 plus hours with 4,000 feet climbing and was able to push the last hour.  Felt great even with 100 degree temps!  The VESPA will be used on my 12 hour run in the Sadias of New Mexico this weekend.  The week ended on Sunday with an easy barefoot 15 minute run and some special exercises.  Overall, no soreness, slight fatigue and most important no injuries.

This ends my summary of my first 17 days of my journey to my first 100-miler.  Please continue to follow my blog and my weekly video review on my YouTube channel.