Sunday, May 3, 2009

PCT 50: Ready or Not, Here I Come

Well, it's been about six months since I first decided to sign up for the PCT 50 mile trail run. Actually, if memory serves, registration did not open until January 1, 2009. Once I saw my name on the website , I knew there was no turning back. I was going to run a 50 mile trail run!

With some research online combined with some help here and there from friends, I created a training plan for the race. I would say my plan was some what conservative with my weekly mileage topping out at 65 miles per week although I did include a number of training runs with lots of climbing. Another key to my plan was to focus on quality over quantity. I was more concerned with quality long runs surrounded by quality rest day rather than high volume. This method seemed to work well with my Ironman training and turned out to be the key to staying healthy and fresh during my mileage ramp up. And finally, in order to keep my long runs enjoyable, I entered a number of trail and road runs (Big Baz Trail Series, San Dieguito Half Marathon, Lost Dutchman Half Marathon, PCTR Sycamore Canyon 50K) as well as joined the training runs for the San Diego 100, PCT 50, and Flo's Tri Club San Diego Thursday night trail runs at Mission Trails. Oh, and I can't forget all the midweek runs with my son Gabriel. In all, I have logged 579 miles since January, I've trained on the course, and now it's time to get the job done.

I would not be toeing the line without the endless love and support that my wife, Tracy, provides me. In addition, I look forward to seeing all my new friends out on the course that I met in the past few months. Trail runners are the best!

So here's to my next adventure!

Here's a look at my contantly evolving strategy:

PCT 50 Race Strategy

Primary Goal: Finish

Secondary Goal: Finish in 11 hours

Race Strategy: My strategy can be broken down into four parts. The first part of my strategy is to walk all uphill sections especially in the first 2/3rds of the course. I need to conserve my energy and to consume calories and fluids early in the race. I will consume calories from my hand-held bottle (Powerbar Endurance and 2 scoops of Carbo-Pro). I will run through Fred Canyon Road aid station at mile 6.6 and continue on to Dale’s Kitchen. Here I will fill my Nathan pack with water and grab solid food (probably potatoes and a pbj sandwich).

The next section is run-able and I plan on making up some time here. I will probably get to Todd’s Cabin in about 3:45-4:00 (17.4 mile mark). Here I will take in solid food again and eating as I walk out of the aid station. I plan on running the long downhill section into Penny Pines. At this aid station, I will change out my hand-held bottle and quickly move on to the turn-around.

When I return to Penny Pines (27.7 miles), I know that Sharon will be waiting for me. Sharon and I have put in many miles together and I know she will provide the motivation that I’ll need towards the end of the race. I will change my socks and shoes before heading out. I will also start to consider taking in caffeine via coke but would like to wait if possible.

I will walk the long hill heading out of Penny Pines and assess my fitness. I’m guessing Sharon will pick up my spirits a bit and I plan on fueling up during this stage. At Todd’s Cabin (32.9), I plan on hitting the cola and soup hard.

I will be a bit conservative as I leave Todd’s Cabin. While the section is run-able, I want to conserve energy and focus on nutrition. I will run flat and downhill sections but slowly.

At Dale’s Kitchen (mile 36.7), I will again take in coke and soup. The next section will be slow going with the rocks but I will force myself to run sections in order to keep the body moving and to stretch out. I need to be careful, though, as this section is very rocky.

At Fred Canyon Road (mile 44.0), I want to take a moment and regroup. I know that I only have six miles but this section seems so long. I want to run as much as possible and will play it all by ear. This stretch seems much longer than it is.

I’m aiming to take in about 3,000 calories on the course but that will depend on the temperature, my stomach, and my intensity.

Things That I Need To Remember

Second pair of shoes and socks


Clothes for finish, Keens


Jolly Ranchers

Vanilla Gu

Powerbar Endurance Sun Tea flavor with 2 scoops of Carbo Pro

Arm Warmers



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