Headlands Run 2

Marin Headlands

Another good 8 hour training run/hike in the Headlands! 32.8 miles and 5,808ft of total elevation. This gets me closer to the elevation on the G G Trail Run, which is 6,320ft. Total weekly elevation was 8,648ft and 62 miles total weekly mileage,  highest I ever recorded! I'm feeling it, too.

Marin Headlands

What's nice about trail running is I feel I can take my time and slow my pace down and see some amazing scenery, so I think of it like a run-cation. That's in my mind because it's actually harder with all the climbing. I did the 30k loop, with a killer jaunt out to Pirate's Cove. Fox trail is crazy steep: 130ft to 902ft in little over a mile. I was a little worried about water. I filled up my Camelback Rogue at Rodeo Beach and didn't see much water on this side. I managed to make 2L last the rest of the trip. Next time I will fill up an extra bottle so as not to feel like I'm rationing. I may have to upgrade to a hydration vest. I still didn't get on the right trail going up to Conzelman, but found another nice short one. Here's why you really shouldn't miss this part of the route:

Marin Headlands

Marincello was a little easier this time, with less walking breaks. This time I did the carb cycling and it was a high carb day. I used Hammer Perpetuem and the caps which worked out great. It's a complex carb so it's nice and slow burning. It has a little protein and fat to slow the absorption and  preserve muscle. I made up a 5 hour flask with 2 packets, which is 540 calories and 108 carbs. Divided by 5 is 108 cals and 21.6 carbs per hour. For the last two hours I had a hammer gel and Justin's Almond Butter to get me through the finish. I included all of that as part of my daily carb intake. On rest day before and after will do a transition, where macros are more balanced and total calories lowered a bit so as not to gain weight on rest day.  The last two miles were hard, with lots of walking, but to be expected since this is the farthest I've run in a long time and most weekly mileage record with no fall-back weeks. The muscles need to catch up! I think I would still sneak some superstarch in there to frontload next time, maybe the protein one. I like the sustaining energy effect from it. Still experimenting with what works best. All I know is I doubled my mileage from last month and this month, so something is working.


Headlands Run

Marin Headlands

Did a little course preview yesterday of the upcoming Golden Gate Trail Run. I  haven't run here in a long time so was afraid of getting lost in the fog, but was thankful for the fog because of the heat. I missed a little piece of it so will try to find it next time. It has some steep challenging bits going up to Wolf Ridge. Marincello is a slow climbing torture. Definitely took some walk breaks where I counted my steps and psyched myself to run again. The beautiful scenery kind of takes your mind off of it. Great views from the ridges, and areas with lush vegetation and wildflowers. Also, there is a lot of wildlife out there. I saw a bobcat, rabbits and scrubjays. At one point on the way to Old Springs, I almost ran into a deer. I was looking down at the trail in order not to twist my ankle on a tricky section. I looked up and a deer was crossing the trail right in front of me. The bobcat sighting wasn't on Bobcat trail, but near the riding club on Bunker Road.


Marin Headlands I had my Camelbak and it seemed to last me with a little refilling. There are several bathroom & water stops along the way; One after you cross McCullough at the roundabout, The Visitor Center, Rodeo Beach. The Miwoks stables at the bottom of Old Springs Trail has bathrooms but did not see a water fountain. It's a little tricky to refill the Camelback with the water fountains, so will bring another bladder next time just for this. I like the Globaltap water fountain at the Golden Gate Bridge Pavillion. I did stop at the stables to apply sunscreen, as there was a little break in the fog in this area. I didn't pay attention to my pace or mileage and just enjoyed the run. On the trails 12 minute pace seems to be my average. This is a slight improvement on my 14 minute 50k pace six years ago! I did the half a couple years ago with 11:30 pace.

I am wondering what the last loop will be like, it may be slower! I felt my legs could have used a  little more juice so I think I will do a bit more carbs on event day or just more superstarch. The night before I added a small sweet potato to dinner. I actually set off on my run with only a bonk proof coffee for breakfast. I made a batch of UCAN superstarch gel with 2 packets and took a sip of it. I took one big sip every hour and then every 2 hours some Hammer caps. For a four serving flask that turned out to be 60 calories and 15.5 carbs per hour. Wasn't hungry at all even when I got back after 6 hours. The fat adaptation is happening! I'm glad I finally I have the strength to run to the Headlands, do the loop and come back. I'm able to increase my mileage to new lengths. I have been doing the HFLC diet, didn't bonk and legs feel pretty good.

I could go off and run again today, but I won't. Instead I will go jump in the bay for a bit. Ending the training week with 56 miles of running and 6,978 feet elevation!


Training for 50k

 One of my goals this year/next year is to run 50 miles, but I was having a hard time increasing my mileage because of some PF in my left foot. I still trained for ORF but a solution had to be found. I did several things which helped which I would love to share: I took a break, changed shoes, started using a standing desk every day and changed my diet.

Break: Well, not really a break, just gave the foot a break! I ran a lot less and instead cycled more! I trained for some century rides and that took some pressure off my feet. The feet enjoy cool swims in the bay and massage.

Changed shoes: I had switched to NB Fresh Foam for the long runs, but after about 250 miles felt they were too soft, so I got some Brooks Ghost. It's been about 250 miles in these and then I will get some trail running shoes. I stay on trails and dirt as much as possible, which is better for my feet, and use the calf compression sleeves. During the day I walk around in my NB Minimus or NB Zeros. At first I thought that shoes with a lot of support and cushioning would be best, but my feet like being able to stretch out and flex, especially combined with...

Standing desk: I use a standing desk everyday because my legs do not like sitting in chairs.  It cuts off the circulation. I have a hard time if I have to sit on a plane or at the movies. At home I use a yoga ball. I run in the morning, bike to work, and don't have the urge to sit down. If I want to rest my legs I like to lay down and stretch them out! I started using a balance disc, and this also has helped strengthen my legs and feet.

Changed diet: Contrary to all runner logic I switched from a high carb diet to a low to moderate carb diet lifestyle. For the past month I have been trying keto, I dropped sugar and grains and have been eating 60%-70% fat. Not less calories, just more fat. This makes no sense to me either but the benefits I have experienced are: weight loss, not hungry, less inflammation and therefore better recovery, more stabilized mood and energy levels and running on less fuel without the bonk.

I can increase my mileage more easily and have less pain, so this is going to be a great solution for my ultra training! I just did about 50 miles for the week which I haven't done in 3 years! Also, I've been doing hills back to back, which would normally be unbearable. This week I did 4k elevation, which I am going to try to double to reach my training goal. For my long runs, I just try to stay on top of my electrolytes and I started using superstarch. I like it because it doesn't have sugar, which is rare for sports nutrition. I have a little PF in my left foot after my long run, but the next day after a good night sleep feel fine and can walk on it no problem. I put a rest day before and after my long runs. In the evenings if I have time, I'll do a short relaxing swim in cool water of the bay to cool everything down.

More about the diet in a future post.

Training for the 50 miles seems doable now, but the first step is to get to 50k.

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