In this second of three posts about ECSCA 50k, I’m detailing things that are mostly boring to anyone who isn’t me. I realized when it was time to taper for this race, that I didn’t really know what to do. Maybe no one actually knows how to taper, but what I did this time worked for me so I want to remember it.
Like I mentioned in my first post, my biggest run was 4 weeks ahead of race day. It’s pretty traditional to do a 2-3 week taper, but I peaked a little earlier. The week of my longest run, my total mileage for that week was lower because I took four days off of running. So three weeks out, I did a shorter long run but had higher volume.
Mileage in my last four weeks before race week:
|Total Miles||Elevation Gain||
|Week 11||46.2||3,199 ft||25|
|Week 12||53.3||8,163f ft||20|
|Week 13||45.3||5,863 ft||16.2|
|Week 14||31.4||3,346 ft||
The week of the race, which would be Week 15, I didn’t really run much at all. That is how I like to taper, especially when I’m traveling. During race week, I ran 5.5 miles on Monday, went to hot yoga on Tuesday, jogged 3 miles at November Project on Wednesday, went to Denver Sports Recovery Wednesday night, then didn’t run again until race day. I traveled on Thursday which involved walking around the airports. On Friday, I was SO disappointed to not go to the November Project San Francisco workout, but I knew I needed to sleep in and minimize plans. Even so, I did end up on my feet more than I planned that day, with a walk in the morning, checking into the AirBnb, grocery shopping, etc.
On Friday, I walked up the stairs to our AirBnb and I noticed my legs felt tired. I tried telling myself that it was all in my head and then spent a good amount of time with my legs up the wall. I didn’t feel super fresh when I went to bed, but mentally I was ready for whatever my legs gave.
I set out all of my stuff for the race the night before and we went to bed around 8:30. Dan’s alarm was set for the 3:00 hour, so even though we knew we wouldn’t sleep too much, it was great to wind down early. After Dan left for his shuttle, I realized there was no point for me to try to fall back asleep for the next hour. So, I laid in bed and meditated, if you could call it that. I listened to some music and just chilled my brain. I wasn’t nervous; I was cautiously optimistic and excited.
As for fueling and hydration, I did everything that I normally do until Thursday, when I started to eat and drink more. On Thursday, I ate a sandwich for lunch and pizza and salad for dinner. And lots of water and snacks, mostly in the form of granola with peanut butter in the hotel bed. I also had a juice because I was feeling like I could use something that wasn’t in the bread familly. On Friday, we had a carb-fest at the Hampton Inn breakfast. I had an english muffin and a bagel and orange juice. For lunch, we went out on a limb and tried something new – Sushirrito – because someone at packet pickup was eating one and it looked good. Neither of us were brave enough to get raw fish the day before a race though. Also, throughout the day, I had my hydration secret weapon: a Gatorade with beet juice mixed in. I like to pour a little bottle of Red Ace beet juice (you can get them at Whole Foods) in a (preferably frozen to the point of a slushy) bottle of Gatorade. I honestly think it tastes really good and I can just feel the electrolytes sinking in when I drink it. For dinner, we picked up groceries from Whole Foods and made salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, salad, rice, and bread. I also had a kombucha and loads of water. Before bed, I snacked on a couple of cookies.
I get nervous about eating and drinking on race morning. Too much or too little food, I’m always worried about bathroom issues. Right after I woke up, I started drinking water and realized I felt a hungry. So, right away, I had 4 cacao energy squares we brought from the Whole Foods bulk bins. I followed that up with more water and a toasted bagel with peanut butter on the bus which I couldn’t quite finish. I had more food with me to eat right before the race, but I never thought about it and didn’t feel hungry. My 18oz handheld bottle was filled with caffeinated Tailwind, so I decided not to drink coffee before the race like I normally would. I think this ended up being a good decision!
We took a very short Uber the half mile from our apartment to the shuttles where we were able to get on a bus right away. The ride went quickly and before we knew it, we were in the park and could see the stream of headlamps of the 50 miler runners out on the trail. I pictured Dan as one of them and got excited. We got settled in, tatted up, and I went to the bathroom twice. Then it was time! Robyn and I lined up in Wave 1 with lots of friends and we were off!