Thursday, December 1, 2011

This is how I'm preparing for my first 50 miler

Me: No likey early mornings.

After having spent nearly ten years in the Army you would think I would be used to this kind of thing by now.

Eh, not so much.

Truth is, I've really only had a few jobs where it was absolutely imperative that I get up so damn early.  I think that "Platoon Leader" was the last job I had where a 5:30 a.m. wake-up was considered normalcy.  

After that, I was pretty much on my own to do my job (whatever it happened to be) in whatever way I saw fit.  Many of my friends cite an "internal alarm clock" as the reason that they get up so early, saying that they "just got used to it."

Yeah, not me.  I'll sleep until 10 a.m. every damn day regardless of bedtime absent an alarm clock.

Don't get me wrong, I can operate on zero sleep and mini-power-naps for days, but it isn't my preferred method.

So when races like the San Francisco Marathon ask you to get your happy-ass running at 0600 I'm not exactly acclimated to the morning awesome.  I honestly think that issue messed with me during that race as I had a headache almost the entire time that was basically just masked with adrenaline.  I hadn't gotten up that early in months, and I think I paid for it.

In an effort to make things less painful for the 5 a.m. start of the North Face Endurance Championship San Francisco 50 miler (Christ Almighty that's a long name), I'm waking up early this week.

It sucks.

But all of a sudden I have crap-loads of time for things.

Such as observing the cats bugging the hell out me, unencumbered by irritants such as the dog who is far too intelligent to be up at this hour.  The cats, particularly the pimp-of-the-couch kitty George, are under the mistaken impression that I have arisen to feed them earlier than normal.  

So he sits in front of me, staring me down and purposefully pushing random things off of the table until I oblige his needs.  It took me three crayons, a power adapter doo-hicky, and a half-cup of water before I got his drift . . . but I digress.

At the end of the day (the Glorious Time, as it is referenced now) I'm quite sure this is helping.  It's getting easier to wake up and shake the cotton out of my head.  If nothing else it will help get me to bed on Friday evening for the holy-sparkling-unicorn-crap alarm of 3:30 a.m. on Saturday.

As far as the rest of the tapering goes, I'm really just trying to take it easy this week.  I've done two runs and played one hockey game so I think I've struck a decent balance.  I know my body well enough to know that two days off before the race is optimum (I felt great on the 50k) and honestly, no amount of running is going to 1) help me this week and 2) keep me from going a little nuts.  With that in mind I've really just decided to lay-off, and get my mind right for Saturday.

By Marcus with 7 comments


I hate early mornings too! having a child was the worst for that :P lol now I'm happy if I sleep in till 8am! I think my body finally considers that a good sleep. I can't even imagine having to wake up in the army! I'd die if I woke up at 5am!

I enjoyed the post -- however early you are up, cats will wake up and want to eat -- and good idea.

As much as I want to "just start already!" those early starts, even a 7am, are tough.

During the summer I do a great job of getting out the door at 6 or 6:30 to beat the heat as much as possible, but as soon as the temps start cooling down my motivation dwindles.

For a big race that I make an overnight of or even a 5 or 10K in Baltimore, I usually getting up at 4:30. At least not really being awake makes the wait for the gun to go off seem a little less endless.

The worst one I've seen was the Disney princess race that my wife ran in. The first wave started at 6:00, but we were advised to be in line for the bus from out hotel to the staging area by 3:00am. Rough on both runners and spectators.

I'll have to give this adjusting the sleep schedule all week a try. I've ended up just walking around a lot the day before the race so I'm tired enough to sleep at 9:30 or 10, which probably also means I'm starting the race under not my best level of rest.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right? This is great training and will serve you well come Saturday! Can't wait to see you crush TNF50!

Oh man I wish I had the option to NOT wake up for PT in the mornings! Even if I don't do PT with the company, our company still wants everyone to be there. But I'm like you in that I don't like waking up early to run. I'd much rather wake up when I want (usually between 8 and 9) and take my time eating breakfast and drinking coffee :)

Bets of luck this weekend! Can't wait to hear about your experience! I've got one of those annoying internal clocks that wakes me up at 4:45 am no matter the day of the week or time I go to bed the night before. Drives me crazy!

Congrats on the finish! That is one well-earned beer(and hopefully the first one of several!). That 24.8 miles longer than I ever hope to run and I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

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