Blog: Pre Race Fitness Test

My training went well till now, in spite of the loads of hiccups. The number of issues I encountered in the last 3 months surpasses all the issues I had in the last 5 years. Starting out with the week of fever after the Tor de Geants, followed by 2 months of plantar fasciitis, then a week of sickness, then a right tibial inflammation, then vomiting for two days and now a slip-disc/displaced rib and back pain. Not knowing what the hell is going on, I am shotgunning on everything in the same time. Sleep, mobility, nutrition, hydration, breathing, yoga. Everything gets solved very effectively, however it looks like, that new things start popping up. Hopefully this back stuff will be the last !
It seems like not though. I had a frostbite on my little toe last year. I had one particular work day, where it was extremely cold, but when the temperature raised above freezing, it started hailing, raining and snowing. The time I got home, it was too late. I had that much pain in cycling shoes, that I had to switch to very large running shoes and treat my toe at least 5 times a day. I did not have blistering or decomposing flesh, just redness, slight inflammation and swelling and pain, pain and pain. It seems it is coming back as I had some very cold work days. My shoe is bigger, larger and more winter proof, but I think I would need a bigger Gore-Tex boot.

I wanted to take part in a race last year, but due to other obligations I did not do, also as I learnt that it was cancelled it was not possible. A friend called me a up a couple of days before this year’s event, to go there and run it. It is called Correns Trail, in the Var in France. I was excited to do a short competition, around 6-7km, but the shortest event was 9km. Hesitated, but why not ? It was a great fitness test and a fantastic predictor. Also to get familiar with the race nerves, because I was out of competition for 3months, due to training and recovering.

I planned my nutrition really wisely. I always follow a very high vegetable diet, but also try using carbs on a smart way. Like back loading at the evening, or putting them right before a walk or bike ride, or after hard training sessions. To not to have a big blood sugar spike and to develop high insulin sensitivity and also to enhance the ability of my body to restock muscle glycogen-stores effectively. I abuse bitter melon extract a little, but I find it extremely efficacious to shovel sugar inside the muscle. I also use psyllium husk of one t-spoon with each meal. I can lower the amount I eat, stay leaner, slow down digestion, get the body squeeze every ounce of nutrition out from food. I stopped that for two days pre-race.
The 2 days before the event I ate fish with avocados, olives, greens and a special bread I make from flax, chia and sesame seeds. All soaked in olive oil. The next two meals were a spicy yam and potato dish. No other veggies, no raw foods. The day before I ate again some fruits and nuts with oat-flakes, but the next two meals were rice, olives and little tomato. Including the pre night dinner.
I felt fine, very fine. I hate being hungry before a race. I like to feel empty and light, but not hungry. If I felt hungry, I know that I screwed up nutrient intake and timing in the last 2 to 3 days.
Due to my work and lifestyle, I am very susceptible to salt loss and therefor to dehydration. Extremely violent inner thigh night-cramps, calf spasms and left eye twitching are the results. I constantly have to keep a close look on this.
I drink a lot and drink well, but during my bike messenger shift I can access only tap water. After a while that just goes through you, depleting your mineral salts. Every single day for 10 days I drank a special sparkling water giving me complex salts and minerals. That solves my cramping.
My race breakfast was simple. I woke up and drank 5dl of water, with a tbsp of apple cider vinegar. 15 minutes later,  I ate 1 half palm size spinach chewed well, 2 medjool dates, 10 spirulina tabs chewed and a cup of coffee. 3.5 hours before the race. I sipped on St Yorre, what is the salty water I mentioned, for 45before the race. Probably went through like 1.5dl. I had a great toilet break and 2 pisses.

As my back was tweaked I did 3 hours of mobility 2 days out, 6 hours the day before. That includes foam rolling, dynamic and static stretching, yoga moves and poses, breathing techniques, pilates, broom stick drills and so. That helped tremendously. After my breakfast and before the 90minutes drive, I again went with 45 min mobility.

We started warming up 45minutes before the start, just easy jogging around for 15 minutes, in our hot clothing. In 10 minutes we changed to race clothing, went to toilet, did some squats and easy standing mobility. Then went to run for another 10 minutes on the first section of the course. We did around 1km and back. Despite the cold and wind, I started sweating. Felt ready. There was no messing around at the start either, so after arrived to the line, in 3-4 minutes the gun went off.

Started fast to open up gap. We were 5 together before hitting the trail and a steep uphill. The 5th felt back, I took his place. I should have laid back and sit, because when arrived to top, I did not think that it was possible to continue. My legs were shot and rigid, my ribcage and thoracic region got also extremely stiff and got the ants at the base of my neck. This was the effect of lactic acid, lack of oxygen and the cold.

I had my GPS watch on, but did not look at it. We did the first road section at 3:30/km pace and then started climbing. So it is normal having the body smoked on top. Then the big downhill and rolling inclines till halfway point. Around 6km we had a very technical and steep descent. I had my stride rolling and distanced the 3rd and 4th runner. However I started not seeing due to crying, what was from cold and impact, so that slowed me down, to not to turn an ankle. Arrived to the final steep and long road section, I felt back to 5th place.
I am known to have a very efficacious and strong acceleration on false-steep non technical downhills, even for long distances. The guys were running fast, around 3:30 to 3:45/km pace, what is extremely fast on shitty roads like we had. I pulled off a 3:17 kilometer and sprinted ahead of the 3rd one finishing around 10meters ahead.

I got 3rd what is very motivating and promising for the season. I am missing out on Kenyan hills and workouts where hard climbing is followed by, very runnable uphills or flats. I need to do those sessions, including long repeats. For instance 1 minute hard steep uphill hike, followed by 2minutes of hard and speedy running. 3minutes off. That can be slightly mimicked on the track, by doing 40 lunges followed by a fast 400.

Breathing was okay, but my VO2 and my oxygen consumption and absorption is not there yet. I must practice some Wim Hof and diving tables, but also do some free diving strength routines.

I will have the first A race of the year next week and at this moment, there is no follow up. I have ideas, but I want to have at least 2months of proper training before I hit the competition again. I am looking forward a lot to this season.


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