That what I decided to do this past weekend for my training. The weather has been constantly improving so much so that this week we had 80s which is super rare for Oregon in April. Anyway, throughout last week I was contemplating doing a Friday night run. The weather for Friday was supposed to be a nice high of 60 with it barely cooling off as it went into the early evening. I haven’t been able to run in warm weather in ages so I figured why not treat myself to a warm run(shorts/long sleeve) and give myself a test running into the evening then attempting to sleep and get up early to run again.
I woke up at 4am on Friday and decided yep lets do this. I got the coffee going and started my day at work. I work from home on Fridays so I get to enjoy my own coffee. Handsomely roasted by my own hands and great quality DECAF beans from Sweet Maria’s Coffee. I also decided to start cooking some pasta. I was able to eat the pasta and drink my coffee all while getting a fair bit of work done. Around noon, I decided to have a “running” snack, Honey Stinger Waffle. I finished work just after 12:30pm but was disappointed that some high clouds had come and it wasn’t as hot as I had hoped for.
I got to the trail just after 1:30pm and though okay I’m going to be out til almost 10pm. It felt a bit more daunting than my normal morning routine but I shut out the negative vibes and off I went. About 10 minutes in, I felt like I might bonk on the spot.
For those that don’t know “bonking” is a term used in endurance circles for just running out of energy and feeling like death itself. It almost always caused by totally depleting your glycogen stores while still asking your body to be in the anaerobic state. It’s just awful and I’ve experienced a few times over my endurance career.
Of course I wasn’t going to really bonk since I was carrying 96 ounces of liquid nutrition but until my first 2 schedule nutrition drinks I did feel super HUNGRY. For me I have my watch beep at me on a set schedule where I take a specific number of sips from hydration bladder and pop a salt-cap. Repeat through the ENTIRE run. Nutrition is really tough for me personally as I’ve battled it constantly over the years until finally getting it pretty much totally dialed in.
Around the hour mark, the sun popped out a bit and I actually felt WARM. That was a first. My blood has to be like molasses since usually I don’t feel warm until well after the 70 degree mark but with all my morning runs I really haven’t run in any 60 degree weather since last summer.
The trail was pretty lonely but I figured who’s coming out to run on a late Friday afternoon. Slowly it got later in the day and I reach my turn around spot and it was getting darker while I was getting more tired. I grabbed my head lamp and decided to readjust my pack. I had brought my “thin” tights in case after the sun went down it got extra cold or in case I had a problem and was out way later than planned. Plus again I will probably have them as well with me as I head into the last miles of every day for the “just in case”.
It was dark enough that I turned on the head lamp and noticed it wasn’t very bright. Hmm..this is my brand new head lamp, a Petzl Actik. It’s SUPER bright normally so I knew the batteries must’ve been shot. My previous head lamp would do a quick “flash” to let you know the batteries were going south. This one I guess does not. I only bought this new one since I’m a bit worried about my old one’s bulb. I’ve had it for almost 6 years so I didn’t want to risk a bulb issue mid Bigfoot. Anyway, I had an extra set of batteries in my pack and put them in. Voila super bright and I could see easily.
I know certain trail intersections that I use as mental milestones to get through the last section and was looking forward to each one as I just felt TIRED. Footing was hit or miss but no super bad incidents just a few extra pounded stomps to jolt my already sore muscles. My hip flexor once again decided to bother me in certain sections.
I thought I was starting to “see things” because every so often I see what looked like another head lamp off in the distance on the trail but then no one. Well it turns out that we’re so close to the industrial park off the Willamette that some of their lights were just bright enough so shone thru the trees. Once I figured that out I felt more relieved and actually felt a bit better overall mentally.
I reached the car just before 10pm and just after the 8 hour mark. Tired like usual but it was totally dark and I had been up since 4am. Man, it’s gonna be tough to be running that whole as opposed to sitting in front of my computer for most of that time like this time. I prioritized not dilly-dalling around and to get home as quick as possible. I had my post run Endurox recovery drink basically chocolate milk but in powder form to be mixed.
I arrived home just before 11pm and tried to figure out what to eat. My stomach felt awful. It was way worse than my normal long day routine so I bagged any real dinner and decided drink some pop and have some tortillas. I showered and got into bed. The shower thing is gonna be a real miss on the Bigfoot after each session.
I didn’t really get to sleep til past midnight and then only got an hour before I felt awake. I ate some more tortilla and drank some more pop before grabbing 2 more hours and I was up to do an easy 3 hours on Saturday. The whole getting moving for the Saturday morning run felt impossible but I made it out of house and headed back to the trail.
It’s a short 3 hours no biggie and now with it being light early I didn’t even have to worry about a head lamp even though I started at 6am. The first hour was a total DRAG but the last two hours felt pretty good. I’m not sure I could’ve done 15 more hours but I keep thinking to myself I’m going to go “slower” and I’ll have even more training the legs and mind by August.
The best part was I got home before 10 and really had all of Saturday to relax before the planned Sunday run with a fellow runner from work, Chris. I ate real food and relaxed like my normal Sunday but it was only Saturday. I went to bed at a decent time and got some good sleep.
Sunday, “Triple Death”, with Chris…man what a slog it felt like. I was really TIRED for the first warm-up bit. I had almost even thought of just meeting at the real start but it was good to get the legs moving a bit before meeting Chris. The weather while dry was super cold again like 40 degrees so back to the normal winter attire. I didn’t have any super nagging injury like stuff but just a body malaise. I felt a bit better when running with Chris for our out-bound section but coming back had real “tired” sections. It helped a TON being with Chris as I didn’t feel like I could slack as much as I would’ve if it was just me like a bunch of walking.
Session #3 at the Bigfoot is going to daunting. I’m just hoping with feeling the draw of the finish will help overcome most of the negative. I’m going to start thinking of it as “Sessions” rather than “days” because I’m just not sure how much I really will sleep. If it’s anything like Friday night I might just “rest” for a couple of hours before power hiking again for a long big then running after “active recovery”. It’s definitely going to a FLUID situation.
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My last 8 hour run is this Saturday before moving up the 9 hour mark for May…