Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rabbit Peak 2014 vs. Rabbit Peak 2015

Rabbit Peak 2014
Rabbit Peak 2015
Pre-race training
Intensive speed-work & high trail mileage.  
Strength training 3x a week, speed-work, focused long runs with group on weekend. Low mileage.
Month &  Weather
April, moderately hot & windy.
February, cool weather & overcast.
Pre-race meal:
Cold oatmeal at 4:00am
Semi-warm bean & cheese burrito at 10:00pm
Injinji Toe Socks, Inov-8 X-Talon 212’s & Inov-8 Race Ultra Vest
Injinji Toe Socks, Inov-8 X-Talon 212’s & a very “loved” Inov-8 Race Ultra Vest
Race nutrition
Carbo Pro, MetaSalts, Vo2 Max pills & two bars
Hydra C5 (by Carbo Pro) & sports chews.
Race goal:
Break 5 hours
Don’t get lost and don’t break anything but the old course record.
Start Time:
First mile:
8min’s 10 sec’s
7min’s 50 sec’s
First cactus stab:
Small Cholla
Rabbit Peak (half-way)
2hrs 45min’s
2hrs 39min’s 40sec’s
Total time:
4hrs 53min’s
4hrs 45min’s 40sec’s
Best moment:
Coming down from Villager skirting the cliff edges
Belting out “Supremacy” by Muse as I skipped and jumped over precariously balanced rocks alongside the cliff edge near Villager
Worst moment:
Kicking a cholla cactus hard with my right foot within the last two miles of the race.
Debilitating leg cramps in the last mile of the race, having to stop water & cool-off my legs before I could move forward.
Best thought:
“I’m going to break five hours!”
“Weee I haven’t kicked a single cactus yet!”
Worst thought:
“F…this cholla! Gah why can’t I run!?!”
“…You can’t do it Nick, you’re not as good as you used to be, slow-down, relax, go eat a cupcake…Shut up blerch!!!”
Post-race food:
Carlee’s Black & Bleu cheese burger
Carlee’s Black & Bleu cheese burger
Recommend this race?
Absolutely, best race in So Cal!
Love this race! Absolutely recommend it! 

New CR!

My girlfriend Jade flying into first place in the women's field!

Beat down but smiling!

Thank you Injinji for the support out there!

Post-race desert flower walk!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rabbit Hunting

Rabbit Hunting: 
Top 5 tips for taking down Gut Check’s Rabbit Peak Trail Race

#1 Study the route: Since there is no real “trail” per say, you’ll need to know the route before the race, and my personal advice is that you know it well. This is easily done though by reading a few trips reports and studying the maps. The basic rule of this race is "ridge on left on the way up, ridge on right on your way down."

Double checking my gear the night before Ronda del Cims 100 miler this last summer
#2 Plan your gear, water & nutrition: This is a very remote race with minimal aid. Be prepared for 5-10hrs of hot, exposed desert running. Everybody's list of what's important will vary, but there are a few essentials for Rabbit Peak:
  • Water: I highly recommend at least 40oz. of water with you at all times. And if you drink more, 48-60oz of water to be on the safe side. There is water at Villager & Rabbit peak during the race, but you'll need enough to make it in between. Don't skimp on water! 
  • Nutrition: Consume at least 2 calories per pound of body weight per hour (for instance I weigh 175lbs, thus need roughly ~300-350 calories per hour). I personally use Carbo Pro throughout the race but bars, gels or whatever you’ve been using in training will work fine as well, just make sure you've trained with it. 
  • Gear: Leg covers or long compression socks to protect from Cholla Cactus. Rugged trail running shoes. Sunscreen and white, lightweight, heat tolerant clothing. Think desert when packing the night before. 
Rabbit Peak's terrain is wicked technical
#3 Pick up your feet! Throughout the race, this is one of the MOST essential things that you’ll need to do in order to survive. It sounds obvious but I can’t tell you how many people are taken back by the technicality of this trail race. It’s gnarly, it’s rocky and where it’s not rocky it’s covered in cholla cactus. You HAVE to pick up your feet constantly.

Recommended training workout: 2 up-1 downs on a long flight of stairs. Find set of stairs and run taking 2 steps up, one step down. Go at a steady pace for half an hour to an hour, walking or jogging back down the stairs for recovery. If weary on downhill as well, practice 2 up-1 downs while descending stairs. This will help train your mind and body to "pick up your feet" while  running on technical trails.

#4 Run when you can: There aren’t very many opportunities to actually “run” in the normal sense during this race. So take advantage wherever you possibly can. For instance, the first two miles of the race are “runnable” soft sand. Take advantage of these opportunities! No matter how tired you are, try to move quickly on the flats and non-technical downhills. After all it is a horizontal distance race, not vertical, so the faster you can cover horizontal ground the faster you'll finish.

Recommended training workout: Find a short climb (45sec. or less) with a flat area immediately after the climb. Run to the top of the climb moderately hard, but then sprint very hard at the top of the climb for at least 100 meters. Relax and recover on the way back down. Repeat 3-4 times. 

#5 Split the distance up in your mind: Rabbit Peak looks notoriously evil while staring at it's massive size from the desert floor. Almost endless. My advice? Don’t look up. Split the race up into bite size pieces. When I set the record there last year I did just that. I diced the race up into the following "bite sized sections":
  1.  Desert floor to ridge (~1 mile)
  2.  Ridge to 3 mile checkpoint rocks (~2 miles)
  3. Rocks to sharp right turn by big cliff (~2 miles) 
  4.   Sharp right to Villager (~1 mile)
  5.  Villager to 1st false summit (~1 mile)
  6. 1st-3rd false summit  (~2 miles)
  7. 3rd false summit to Rabbit peak (~1 mile)
It will help you immensely if you split the distance up in your mind. Whether it’s by hours, mileage or landmarks, I highly recommend splitting the race up in your mind.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to win the HURT 100: A Theoretical Guide and an Actual Report!

How to win the HURT 100!

A theoretical guide and an Actual Report


Theory: Start training 6-months out. Integrate speed-work, strength training and dieting into your routine. Run multiple 100 mile weeks. Maintain your job, your spouse and your sanity. Pay no attention to your competitors “speak with your legs”.
100 pts. (+10 extra credit if you live in B.C.)

Actual: Started training 2-months out. Integrated speed-work, boot-camp, yoga, strength training, rock-climbing and hiking. Ran one 60 mile week. Half-assed work, neglected girlfriend once or twice, lost all sanity and felt consistently overwhelmed. Forget about competition until pre-race meeting, looked around and thought “o shit…” lost a night of sleep.
Loop 1:

Theory: Start conservative. Hold back. Race your own race, but not necessarily in first. Start hydrating and salt pills immediately. Start tried and true race nutrition strategy immediately, don’t deviate. Say hi to every runner possible. Finish the loop between 3hrs 45min’s to 4hrs.
100 pts.
Actual: Started conservative. Didn’t wear a watch, didn’t care to know position or pace, ended up in the front too soon. Started hydrating & salts immediately. Stuck with tried & true nutrition plan:
On the hour:
·         -24oz water
·        - 3 scoops Carbo Pro mixed into water
·         -2 Amino Acid pills
·         -3 Vo2 Max Pills
·         -2 MetaSalt Pills
·         -Oranges & Banana’s at aid stations
Every loop
·        -2 scoops interphase & 1 scoop carbo-pro (Nick-Slam)

Said hi to every runner possible. Finished the loop (unknown to me during the race) in 3hrs and 28min’s. 
Loop 2 

Theory: Stay consistent. Humidity and heat will increase, stay strong. Cramping may start, ignore it. Vital to stay on top of hydration, nutrition & salts. Keep smiling, stay positive. Expected time 3:45-4:00hrs. 
Actual: Stayed consistent. Started cramping badly, ignored it. Ate a bunch of oranges, fixed cramping. Kept smiling, stayed positive. Stuck to hydration and nutrition plan. 3:50hrs.
Loop 3 

Theory: Stay consistent. Humidity will continue to increase, climbs will seem endless, cramping may continue, don’t let it. Stick to nutrition & hydration plan. Don’t slip, just don’t. Start floating over tree roots. Don’t forget your headlamp for night. Don’t eat solid food with a high heart rate. Competition may intensify, don’t pay attention to it. 3hrs 50min’s to 4hrs and 10min’s. Keep smiling.
Actual: Started falling back in pace. Humidity & heat decreased. Climbs were manageable. Cramping stopped from the oranges. Didn’t slip. Tried floating over tree roots. Competition caught me at Paradise Center, it got to me. Forgot my headlamp. Deviated from my functioning nutrition plan and tried out solid foods. Couldn’t get enough solid food calories down. The first of my calorie deficit lows ensued. Kept smiling. Loop time unknown.
Photo Rob Lahoe. See still smiling!!

Loop 4 

Theory: Night time starts after you finish the first leg of this loop. Carry a super-strong headlamp (200+ lumens). Don’t slip. Float over roots. Cheer on other runners. Smile. Maintain same nutrition plan. Don’t eat food off the ground. Don’t eat the half-rotten strawberry guava’s all over the course. Smile. Prepare to race the 5th loop. Run a perfect 4hr loop.
Actual: Left Nature Center and almost immediately dipped into the worst low yet, stopped caring about position and walked slowly forward. Night fell, turned on headlamp that I borrowed from a volunteer. Discovered headlamp was maybe 40 lumens max, but was grateful to have a light. I think I was floating over roots? I couldn’t see them. Latched onto other runner and talked with him to help me out of my low while also secretly using them for their headlamp. Got direly hungry for solid food…Found some old cheetoh’s squished on the middle of the trail, devoured them. Found semi-rotten strawberry guava, devoured it. Continued to fight off bad lows. Got headlamp eventually. Fell back to 3rd place. Still smiled. Ran a less than 5hr loop! (I think…)
Loop 5 

Theory: Summon the power of rooty-jungle gods and consume all human souls left on the course!! Aka become Gary Robbin’s for that last loop. Don’t eat, don’t drink, don’t salt ain’t nobody got time for that. Who are you? YOU’RE GARY ROBBINS!! Don’t forget to smile either.
Actual: Summoned the power of a lethargic snail crawling through peanut butter. Fell asleep for 10 minutes atop the first climb. Wearily walked with another runner and fought off another nutritional low. Went back to original nutritional plan from loop 3. Everything went back to normal. No more lows. Realized 1st and 2nd were now roughly an hour ahead of me. Felt like an idiot for sabotaging my own race. Kept smiling. Finished 3rd. I’M NICKADEMUS HOLLON!!

Theory: Stick around watch other runners finish. Attend the HURT 100 banquet. Get made fun of by Jeff and John. Receive a sweet custom-made Ukulele as your prize. Get swollen ankles. Struggle to walk from security to your gate at the airport.
Actual: Stuck around to watch others finish. Attended the HURT 100 banquet. Got made fun of by Jeff and John. Received a sweet custom-made Ukulele as my prize. Got swollen ankles. Struggled to make it from security to my gate at the airport. (+10 extra points if your girlfriend dressed up as a Limo Driver and picked you up from the airport). 


 Alright and thus my % error calculation:
700 (total theoretical points) – 575 (total actual points) = 125 ÷ 700 = 0.178 x 100 = 17.8%
My race was 17.8% error, totaling 82.2%  a B- for this year’s HURT 100. 

and of course some random photo's from the trip because Hawaii is amazing!