Since Killington is just 4 weeks away, I wanted to share some thoughts I had on the race last year and some good training workouts I wrote down while preparing for the Ultra Beast.
199 Days before the race
On Mar 9, 2014 6:07 PM, email@example.com wrote: Today I signed up for the Ultra Beast
I received an email invite yesterday letting me know that the first day for signups was today. I’m on my way home from work sitting on the bus in traffic thinking about my muscle tear, joint pains, tendinitis and all the other trademark injuries, aches and pains that come along with someone that pushes them self a little too hard.
I was thinking maybe next year would be a better option, Thought about it for a min, Took out my credit card and signed up right there on the bus ride home.
Once I had it in my head that I was doing the Ultra Beast, I started stepping up my workouts, being careful to space them out not to over train and to work around injuries. I trained 6 days a week, and two of those days I would double up, weight train in the morning and cardio at night. I was in and out of the gym in under an hour or less and had more of a traditional workout style.
My long trainings were on the weekend and started out at 2 hours and went up to 6 hours by the end of the season. The weekends were the bread and butter to my training.
If you’re doing Killington this year there’s not many weekends left to train hard, These were some of my favorite weekend workouts.
New Jersey hill – a one mile hill just off the palisades parkway. The goal was to get to the top of the hill 10 times equaling 20miles, every time we hit the bottom or top we would do 30 squats, 30 burpees, 30 lunges. 6 of those miles we carried either a 50lb sand bag, 60lb kettle bell, or some big stone we found while walking. 5 hours http://www.njpalisades.org/headquarters.html
Staten Island Mt Loreto hill, start out with an 8 mile, 40lb weighted vest walk, doing 30 squats, 30 burpees each mile. Ditched the vest and went to carrying a 50lb sand bag with the same exercises every time we hit the top of the hill. At Mt Loreto, there’s 2 small hills. On the paved hill, we would carry the sand bag and do the same 30/30 exercises on the top, then on the grass hill we would do a hard sprint down and up. We would do this for at least 10 rounds nonstop then go for a long run in the area, light trails, some beach, some street. Long enough to hit 4 to 5 hours http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_xRTINsQpvno/TO2i2KhIzKI/AAAAAAAAAQ8/WYKlZQvWdt0/s1600/ML-055.jpg
Spartan Races / Mountains – Double loop those Spartan Sprints for training, Last year I double looped Tuxedo, PA, CT. There is no better training then being on a mountain. Even though these events passed already, all of these places are open daily with the same hiking trails you ran at the Spartan Race. Driving 90mins to a real mountain is well worth it. Other good hiking spots are Mountain Creek, and in the Catskills, Devils path.
Staten Island Green Belt – Ran my first marathon through the green belt. It was a very slow pace just to work on endurance, 11+min miles, the last 2 miles I had to “walk” because my ankle went out on me. 5 hours, a good endurance run. http://www.sigreenbelt.org/Trails/trailmap.pdf
Being able to put up some running miles is important, but I wouldn’t bank on it, I will always recommend to someone that’s training for the VT Beast to do long fast pace hikes on hills with a weighted vest or sand bag, and working in exercises any day over running long distance. I didn’t run once in the last 5 weeks before Vermont.
After the hiking with heavy carries, in my opinion the most important thing is your endurance. It takes a few good long trainings to tell you where your body is lacking strength, if you’re doing the Ultra you need the endurance to keep moving for 12+ hours while keeping time cut offs in mind, you need to know your weaknesses before you start this race. Which brings me to my last weekend work out.
The Injury weekend work out
Being 5 weeks out there’s a good chance you found some new injuries, I found mine. I had an Osteochondral lesions of the talar dome, basically when the cartilage is starting to break at the top of your ankle. I picked up this injury up at the North Face Endurance half at Bear Mountain by rolling my ankle a number of times and not giving it enough time to heal. It reared its ugly head at the worst possible time. So for 5 weeks I didn’t run not even once and only used the below work out for leg training.
• Bike ride or stationary Bike for 60mins
• Stair climber 60mins or Stepper 60 to 90mins
• Pool running 60mins (pool running is very boring but had good resistance, you really won’t start feeling it until about 25mins into the workout)
All 3 of these on the weekend, one at least two days during the week.
My advice for the injured
– Don’t quit, you do not want to throw away 6 months of hard training, finding time around work and your kid(s) is almost impossible so don’t give up
– Find help, there’s always another way. Another form of training, Find a doctor or Physical Therapist that’s used to dealing with athletes. I went to Physical Therapy 2 days a week, I had Graston and ART therapy 2 days a week and Acupuncture once a week, I did that for 4 weeks (a lot of copay money)
– If things are bad, like broken bones bad, you can at least show up, see what it’s all about and take some mental notes for next year
Some things you should not race with out
Dry bag: http://www.rei.com/b/sea-to-summit/c/dry-bags
A dry shirt and extra pair of socks is a good idea
A great pair of socks: http://www.drymaxsocks.com/trailrunning.php
Head lamp, (water resistant) http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/headlamps-and-lanterns/storm-BD620611_cfg.html#start=3
Supplements: Accel Gel gu packs, I took about one an hour http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/p/accelerade-accel-gel-chocolate-24-packs/za-1111?akamai-feo=off#.VdUlvctLimR
Salt Pills: I took one an hour, and didn’t cramp once http://saltstick.com/
Carb up – Black Rice, I ate this for 3 days before the race, an excellent source of clean carbs http://draxe.com/forbidden-rice/
Food and drink – Lots of food choices in your drop box, something that taste great today might turn your stomach that day. I packed P&J, Banana, Snickers, sweet potato, and a lot of other things I couldn’t eat.
My go to food was granola mixed with peanut M n M’s, and one big cookie.
If you’re still reading, and interested, below is something I wrote 24 hours after the 2014 Ultra Beast
AFTER THE ULTRA
To: ‘Josephdazzo’ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Mon, Sep 22, 2014 10:09 pm
Subject: rough copy
It’s about 24 hours since the end of the Ultra Beast, I honestly still don’t feel normal, with eating, sleeping, but that’s to be expected. I have a lot of mixed feelings, I’m happy it’s over and my body managed to hold it together and disappointed because I have that feeling of what next?
I wanted to share my thoughts of this race and the final hours attempting to finish.
As you might have thought the race was absolutely grueling, the hikes up the double black diamond ski trails were steep, strenuous, and never ending the double sand bag carries (90-100lbs) brutal and draining, the bucket carries (80lbs) hell on your lower back and forearms.
Why do it? We all have our own reasons, let’s just say this race is for a certain type of person, and only that person truly understands why we do it. I feel we all have mutual respect for one another and will never need to explain the WHY to them.
Getting back to the final hours of the race.
I was on the last big descend down just before the final sandbag carry, I realized my knee could barely bend, I went down almost the whole way backwards to take the pressure off my knee.
By the time I made it to the sand bag obstacle I told my teammate (that I ran most of the race with) that I didn’t see myself going any further with my injured knee. In my head I thought about permanent damage, having to explain this to my family, my job, and didn’t think it would be smart to continue.
About 1 min later I started walking off toward the spectators and my wife and son were there, cheering for me. “What are you doing?” I told her I can barely walk and I doubt my injury would allow me to make the cut off. “They extended the cut off time you’re going to make it, Go!”
I felt like that little push from my wife was exactly what I needed to hear to get myself focused, from that point on I didn’t care about the consequences, I felt like I was given what I needed to continue, it was all mental toughness from that point, this race took far too much of my life to just give up due to pain. So I dragged my leg through the next 2 to 3 miles in the pitch black woods walking backwards, sideways, stiff legging it, whatever it took. I passed a small group of people that had someone on a stretcher as they told him “don’t fall asleep” I could see why Spartan has these time cut offs.
When I made it out of the trail I made eye contact with the person managing final cut off area (The Tyrolean Traverse) They told me I just made it and to get moving there might be one more cut off, I stopped, I took both of my calf sleeves and pulled them up over my knee one on top of the other and then my knee brace and started moving. I finally made it to the final set of obstacles, a volunteer told me finish this course (sprint course) then a 1 mile walk through the woods and a few beast obstacles and I’ll be finished.
The whole time I was hobbling through that course I felt like I was going to be told at any minute you didn’t make it, it wasn’t until I finally saw the fire that I actual believed that the Ultra Beast was over.
I finished at 8:59pm, Over 14 hours and almost dead last, and so proud of my accomplishment. I was so happy my wife and son were there to witness it. I told my wife “If it wasn’t for you I doubt I would be holding this metal”