Javelina was a mix of spur of the moment and long term desire for me. On one hand, I didn't plan on racing it this year until less than a month before the event. On the other hand, I have wanted to make my way to this event for a couple years now. It has all the beauty of trails, but with loads of runability. On top of that, it is put on by Aravaipa, which, for my money, is one of the best things going in regards to race orgainization in our sport. My misfortune at Cuyamaca 100k (see my race report) left me with no qualifier for Western States Endurance Run (WSER) and little time to secure one. With World 100k Championships scheduled for November 26th I didn't want to flirt with a super hard effort less than four weeks out, but Javelina gave me four weeks and I haven't raced hard since Spring, so I felt confident toeing the line at this year's edition of the party in the desert.
I was looking for a new experience heading into the Cuyamaca 100k, but got one I hadn't bargained for.
With Gobi 100k merely 6 days prior, my main goals were two-fold. For one, I wanted to get a Western States Qualifier on the books. For two, I was curious if I could deliver a poor man's Michael Wardian by competing in two events with little recovery time. Granted, Mike would have given himself hours between races, while I gave myself the luxury of a few days.
I am always fascinated with recovery and how it varies. This race looked to provide some new information on this front, as the quickest I have ever done back-to-back ultras above 50 kilometers in the past had been 13 days.
Earlier this year, I was excited by an invite to travel to China and participate in the Gobi 100k. Although the course profile - hot desert sand - didn't necessarily fit the profile of race course I am competant at or really preparing for, I jumped at the opportunity to check out a new country and a new race venue.
Most people who follow my blog already have an idea of my nutritional approach to endurance training and racing. In short, I follow a cyclical approach where I use carbohydrate strategically at low levels compared to traditional endurance protocol--on average, I range from 5 to 30 percent carbohydrate intake depending on where I am at within my training cycle. I aim for 5 percent on full on recovery periods and upwards of 30 percent when peak training and racing, which typcially includes 20+ hour training weeks. It took me a while to dial in those ranges and identify what works and when.
I have used heart rate measurements periodically in my past training and racing plans, but never really dove all in with it.
This was partially due to wanting to keep things a bit more simple--I felt a bit more "free" running without the technology. I also felt that running without heart rate devices forced me to really tune into my body. I had some relatively brief data that I would use to correlate effort and heart rate, but nothing super detailed like you would see in anyone following a strict Maffetone (MAF) method of endurance training.
June was a logical month to take both a mental and physical break from structured training. There are so many quality events year round now that it can be hard to take a step back, but still quite necessary for sustainability. I find that more often than not its more of a mental break that is required than anything. I strongly believe in taking a couple blocks out of the year where you wake up in the morning with no specific training goal. It makes the ramp back up much more refreshing. With no major races scheduled until this Fall and Comrades complete this was the perfect time. I always grant myself the flexibility to shut things down completely. I rarely feel the need to as the desire and energy usually returns pretty quickly when I don't neglect sleep and nutrition, so this month still had a healthy dose of running, but never forced or structured.