All the snow is now gone in Toronto, so in desperation I got up at 2Am (again) on Sunday and drove up to Barrie to run on the North Simcoe Rail Trail. As the name implies, this is a converted rail track. The trail is flat as a pancake. It offers about 45 to 50km of uninterrupted trail. There's a section I didn't run, but to get to it you have to run on the side of the road for a while and I didn't want to do that.
Fuzzy picture of Sancho, ready to go
Running in the dark was actually easier because you don't see the infinite straight trail ahead of you and also because you don't live in fear of being killed by a kid trying to control his snowmobile driving at 100km/hr.
Starting to get some light
So I ran for 7 hours between 4 and 11AM, covering between somewhere between 45 and 50km. Following my coach Derrick's advice, I'm still doing a 20 min run/5 min walk ratio. Between 9 and 10AM, I had a rough patch and I wasn't sure I could do it; that maybe 15/5 or maybe even 15/10 would be better. By 10AM though, I felt a bit better and didn't have any problem maintaining the routine. Can I do that for 100 miles?
I now feel really comfortable with my equipment. The Katoohla Microspike are great. I ran most of the run in them and didn't feel any hot spots. Things might be different on hard ice (I could really feel them under my feet when I crossed the roads), but on on hard packed snow there was no problem and they improved traction quite a bit. I replaced my old Zipka+ lamp (35 lumens) with a Tikka XP2 (60 lumens). Wow! It's like I'm wearing an anti-aircraft projector on my head. The diffusor is really nice and makes the beam less harsh.
Nutrition will be the hardest part of that race. After 5 hours, I was sick of everything: Macademia nuts, cashews, chocolate-covered caramels (bad idea), Granola bars, gels, Cliff Bloks. Even drinking water was a chore. The only thing I really enjoyed is coffee. I brought a thermos with hot coffee and at 3 strategic points, when I really felt shitty, I stopped and had a cup of joe. Bliss. I'm bringing coffee during the race. I'm trying to eat about 250 to 300 calories per hour and that feels like a lot of food.
I'm really happy with the sled. I've added a short loop of bungee cord between my belt and the carabiners attached to the nylon rope and that did a good job of softening the jarring that I felt last week. I got the sled kit from the race, but it is very similar to my sled and I will bring all my customized parts.
On Friday night, we ordered Indian food and I got the Chicken Vindaloo. Real spicy. There was a lot of leftovers, so since the kids were away pretty much all weekend I ate that for lunch AND dinner on Saturday. I'm telling you about this because during the run, I came to regret that enthusiasm. It's the first time that I had to stop and take care of intestinal distress. More than once. Morals of the story: don't eat too much spicy food the day(s) before a long run; bring toilet paper.
My right Achilles is still bothering me but this is nothing new. My only fear is if I have to stop for a nap. On my way home from Barrie, I stopped at Mickey D for a QP+cheese and chocolate shake and my first few steps getting out of the car were pretty harsh.
So I'm ready. My countdown says 25 days to the race. I suspect this was the peak of my training volume (Derrick?). It should be all downhill from here, letting my body rebuild so that I can feel like I can run forever when I'm on that starting line.