One of my friends asked, looking back on Salt Flats 100, would I have done anything differently? The big thing I would have done differently is that I would not have run the Salt Lake City Marathon six days before running a one hundred.
It is not so much the distance that I believe impacted my performance at Salt Flats, but the surface and the stress of racing. No matter how hard I try to run a race as a training run, I still go out too hard and then end up reigning it in over the last half. By then the damage is done. When I went out from the starting line for Salt Flats, I could still feel the marathon. This surprised me, because I can run a 30-mile run on a Saturday, and when I get up to run a 20 on Sunday, I don’t feel the 30 as much as I felt the Salt Lake Marathon when I went out at Salt Flats.
Second, I would have packed more socks. My shoes were soaking wet, and my socks got wet eventually, as well. I was able to change my socks at nearly every aid station, but there were a few I missed because I didn’t throw socks in my drop bag.
Third, I would have gotten a hotel room in Wendover, Utah rather than sleeping in my car at the starting line. I woke up six or seven times during the night to roll over and get comfortable again. I would have slept better in a bed.
Fourth, I would have brought my own rain jacket. Although, I have to admit that Mike’s worked really well because it was big on me and kept me drier than a smaller jacket would have done. A smaller jacket would have allowed easier movement.
Finally, I would have found more solid foods my stomach could tolerate while running. My stomach is sensitive when running. It does not like to digest things on the move. I know that, at some point in an ultra-event, I am going to have to deal with my stomach being unhappy. In Salt Flats, I began to have sharp cramps at mile 16, which is atypical for me, and they lasted until nearly the end of the race. I usually don’t have any issues until at least 40 miles in, and then it is usually some nausea or bloating that can be calmed down with walking and ginger.
I have some ideas about what to try, food wise, over the next few months while I train for my next hundred. I’ve considered trying baby foods, which doesn’t have a ton of preservatives and added sugars. I plan to try scrambled eggs and celery with peanut butter. I’ve also ordered a new gel called Vifuel through ZombieRunner.com and a new nutrition bar. Both of these are lower in carbs than the average gel and bar out there.
My other option is to force my stomach to learn to digest food while running. This means that I will eat a full meal and then go run over and over again. Doesn’t sound very pleasant, but it may be the only way.