Introducing: The Nuun Hydration Ragnar Adirondacks Ultra Team!
Buckle up kids. I hope you have a hot cup of coffee and a bit of time because this is a longer post than normal.
Firstly, I am so excited it is the weekend! I have a HUGE training weekend planned leading up to RIG and I will be sharing a few more posts than normal on my social media channels over the next few days. I have a wedding tonight and then first thing tomorrow morning, I am meeting with a group of local adventure racing friends and we are doing a 100 KM + training day at Wildwood Conservation Area put on by Hammer Nutrition to prep us for the big race. We are planning a fun BBQ to celebrate our hard work, sleeping and then waking early the next day to all participate in Mud Hero Toronto Ultra 10 KM. Both days will test our skills in the face of sleep deprivation and will just be plain old fun. I will be back next week to talk all about it, but for now, let’s switch gears.
At the very end of the Genuine Health Ironman 70.3 race report, I hinted that the team may be reappearing again for another crazy adventure. This time, we have added a few more to the crew as we embark on our second annual Ragnar misadventure in the Adirondacks! We had such a great time last year that we decided to do it again!
I will be sharing an upcoming post on the biggest things we are changing up this year to make it better but if YOU have done a Ragnar, I would love to have your feedback on what you do to make it as smooth as possible as well.
We will be competing as an Ultra team which means that we run double the legs as a regular team or roughly 60KM each. I have a lot of friends who are amazing at distance running and we all wanted to be in ONE van so ultra was the obvious choice.
Ok – I have dawdled long enough – let me introduce you to the NUUN HYDRATION RAGNAR ADIRONDACKS ULTRA TEAM or NRAUT to make all of our lives a little easier. They will be sharing how they are training for the event and how they are planning to manage 24 hours of no sleep, lots of running and van time with the gang. We will start off with the new faces (who have not appeared here prior for reasons you will now be able to deduce yourselves).
Hello Latteland, you are all probably familiar with the rest of the team from their regular guest appearances on Laces & Lattes (Yawn) but you probably aren’t familiar with me. I’m the quiet unassuming one of the group, the low maintenance-happy go lucky member of the family.
So about this Ragnar thing, well firstly I absolutely love it, the thoughts of running hard over a combined 50-60k is something that really gets my juices going or is it flowing?? (sounds kind of seedy – sorry I’m addicted to the podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno so everything has a double meaning now).
Last year I did Comrades (#peterdidcomrades) and learned from the numerous 60k training runs + the race itself that I’m literally like a VW Passat or Cockroach, I may not be fast but I sure can do endurance (once again kind of seedy, Right?)
I’m not doing anything specific for Ragnar training wise as I already have 3 marathons and Ragnar coming up in September/October so my marathon training should be sufficient. My race schedule is as follows:
September 11th – Erie Marathon, with a sub 3 aim.
September 23rd -24th – Ragnar Adirondacks, we finished second last year and hopefully we can improve on that this year. My personal goal is to avoid eating anything made by Latte (I can see why Marky has lost weight. You’ve GOT to be honest with her, bro)
October 16th – Toronto Marathon, pacing and wind blocking services.
October 30th – Dublin Marathon, get to the finish followed by a celebratory rampage of the pubs along Baggot Street.
I’ve tried my hand at self-coaching this year and I’ve got to say I’m really enjoying it. Motivation is a big thing for me and I find that long, slow runs (random midweek runs for the sake of running) just don’t work for me. If I can’t answer the question what exactly is this pace doing for me? my motivation levels drop. I’ve always been this way and it’s probably why I’m so specific with every run.
My week looks like:
Monday – Day off with some rolling around on the floor and calling it core work.
Tuesday – Usually 20-30 minutes at 3:50/km – 4:00/km – I usually change it up how I reach this mark every week, this week I did 30 minutes straight but some weeks I’ll do variations, like 7 times 1.2km. Total run km will range between 16-18km
Wednesday – Easy day, maybe 12-14km in HR zone 2 which is usually about 4:45/km.
Thursday – Track or hills but mostly track now, my current favourite workout is 5/6 time 400m 200m 100m, I like the speed variation plus it helps you focus on not going too fast. I always find the hardest thing on the track is running sensible splits and not racing. You want to finish knowing you worked hard but not depleted.
Friday – Recovery run so maybe 12-15km in HR Zone 1
Saturday – Long Run Day, generally 60% easy pace and 40% Marathon Pace.
Sunday – Recovery run
In general, this cycle, I’ve tried to keep the weekly mileage low. As I get better at this coaching lark I’ll probably refine how I do things but I’ve been somewhat conservative due to so much of my running being done at race specific pace.
“60km relay race in upstate New York…. sounds fun!”
The best coping mechanism to the aforementioned is to let the statement marinate in your mind and accept the fact that’s “it’s” going to happen.
Ragnar is a terrible race, the distances are long, the topography is challenging and the sleep deprivation can (and does) break people. That being said, I am a firm believer that every up has a down and the feeling of completing your last leg of the race far outweighs anything you could experience in a typical city road race.
How does one prepare for Ragnar? You train.. right?! That’s where this gets interesting, because I can honestly say I have never trained for a race in my life. That’s right, no training. I know some people will dispute my claim, but I have never mentally compartmentalised the idea of training into my day to day routine, only because “training” feels like work and “work” and “fun” couldn’t possibly co-exist. Instead, I like to think of my running regiment as a light jog while listening to my favorite music, that’s how I roll. Done and done.
With no training routine, regiment or strategy and the prospects of a sleep deprived 60km trek on horizon, my immediate thoughts oscillate towards lining up my 4 of all-time popular running albums into my IPod shuffle and just let it happen. According to ITunes I really like:
- No Warning – I’ll Blood
I’ve listened to this album on every run since 2004, a Toronto HC classic.
Reunion Show, pure fire:
- Small Brown Bike – Dead Reckoning
This is the perfect winter running album; it starts off fast and ends with an amazing breakdown that’s always given me that last kick in a run.
I like this clip, only because it captures the band as I always remember them during my University years.
- The Anniversary – Designing A Nervous Breakdown
At the end of a long week of running, I usually line up this album and take it low and slow – it’s perfect.
- Back Track – Lost In Life
Nothing beats this one after a long day in the world. A real fist pumper!
As far as I can tell, Ragnar prep is officially done. What couldn’t go right?
Allow me to begin by saying that I am beyond stoked to take on Ragnar Adirondacks with the crew next month. This will be my second Ragnar – I participated in the inaugural (and only, so far) Niagara edition in 2013 – and what I’m looking forward to most is the jump to the Ultra category this time. As a reluctant drop-out from last year’s team, I am also looking to undo a year’s worth of FOMO and – corresponding – regret.
The Road to Ragnar
Fresh off a humbling Ironman 70.3 experience, my next big objective is my 10th marathon (and 8th chasing an elusive B.Q.) in early September. This means shifting into more of a run-first mode for my training and spending more and more time on my feet.
Serendipitously, there is nice synergy between the marathon build and the prep that I’m hoping to do for Ragnar. My mileage has gone up to around 80-90K a week (from 50-60 that I did during the summer), and cycling, swimming are now cross training pursuits rather than must-do’s as they were earlier this year.
Since the goal marathon is only a few weeks before the event, I have no idea how I’m going to be feeling, but at least I don’t have to worry about saving anything for the rest of the fall. I’m prepared to run myself into the ground for this group of friends.
Bert-tangibles: What I think I bring to the team (Editors Note: We call Todd “Bert”. It’s a long story.)
· I am above-average at high fives and ass slaps.
· As someone who races with an iPod, I have a vast collection of running songs that are sure to annoy everyone.
· I pride myself in being able to fall asleep anywhere and at anytime, which I think will be real assets for recovery during the event.
· I also have a bit of an iron stomach (I ate pizza and chicken wings mid-way through my 100K charity run), which should only help with 6 legs on the docket this time.
· My secret fuel for ultra runs is baby potatoes with olive oil and salt. The sodium should help ensure I don’t pull a Bert and bonk like usual.
Last year I was the team driver-cheerleader and got to sit back and see the highs and lows the team went through during the relay. Needless to say it got me pumped up for Ragnar ADK 2016. This year, I am beyond excited to get the chance to actually RUN and contribute with my two feet towards helping our ultra team crush those 200 miles.
Lead up to Ragnar:
I have enjoyed an awesome year thus far with the switch to multi sport (Swimming, Biking, Running) and have seen some awesome recent PBs and great race performances. My goal is to hopefully ride that peak into Ragnar. I have been conservative in the run mileage (40-50k/week) in the last few months as my focus has been on some of the shorter distance running races and multi sport events. In the next month or so, I plan to add some more mileage and a few double run days to prep my body for the 50ish km that my legs will have to endure that day. Beyond all that, my main goal is to get to the start line healthy!
The Marky Factor (aka what I can bring to the team):
Distract our competition: It is widely accepted that I am purely an object and not actually a real person. I will gladly use it to help our team get ahead! (Editors Note: No he won’t.)
I started running almost 6 years, and have since finished 13 marathons, numerous halfs, and a handful of ultra-distance runs, including Comrades Marathon in South Africa. I have completed all 6 of the World Marathon Majors.
So Ragnar is only a month away and training is going much better. Since the Berlin marathon 2 years ago, I’ve been plagued by a succession of injuries which has meant running hasn’t been the easiest of activities. No sooner would I start running, then a month later something else would injured, so for the first time in a long time, I’m running with a smile on my face while singing along to the best of 90’s.
My schedule is pretty hectic, I have Erie Marathon on Sept 11th, Barrelman ½ ironman distance triathlon the following week and then Ragnar a week later.To say I suffer from FOMO is an understatement.
Training wise, I’m still cycling and swimming (less than Muskoka training levels) while I have increased my running. I’m pretty fortunate or should I say blessed that I get to run with Lawless, he is just hilarious and is actually a pretty darn good coach. Hot too…..(note: this comment may have been added in by Lawless).
The hardest aspect of Ragnar to prepare for is the organisation side of things. It’s hard to describe this crew but essentially this scenario ALL THE TIME. Picture a crèche, JJ and Peter are in one corner trying to stick objects into the power sockets. In the other corner Marky and Todd are having a competition to see who can run into the wall the hardest, all while Jessica is in the middle of the room talking loudly to her imaginary friends with scissors in hand while loving the class hamster way too much.
So there you have it. We also have Tony Tran joining the team as our driver!