15 Hours - 100 KM
As we move, not so slowly, into spring, the training for this season’s upcoming events continues, with distances and height workouts increasing steadily as we go.
As mentioned elsewhere, my training for this season is very much a hybrid.
This is out of necessity as I have two long distance events a couple of weeks apart – the Quebec Mega Trail 160km (https://ultratrailcanada.com) taking in 6,500 meters of elevation gain starting on June 30th, followed two weeks later on July 15th with Big Wolf’s Back Yard Ultra in Cacouna, Quebec (https://www.
bigwolfsbackyardultra.ca). I’m aiming for 24 loops at the backyard event. That’s 24 hours and another 160km. Fingers crossed both will go as planned.
Recently (Saturday 8 April) saw a few of us run some backyard ‘loops’ to prepare us mentally and physically for what’s to come.
The 6.71km / 4.17 miles long loop begins and ends right near where I live (that’s handy).
It’s all about the planning, and the need for a competent crew and aid station facilities is also paramount.
The first loop began at 9am on the Saturday however, the fun really started on the Friday with all the kit and food prep.
The day before the 15-hour training session everything had to be prepared and ready as there was absolutely no way I was doing any of that on the day. Not unless I absolutely had to.
You can see the food, drink, and clothing prepared and used at the end.
On the Friday I ate 6 meals. Not large meals, but 6 all the same.
Each offering contained 100g of cooked lean ground beef, 200g of cooked pasta, and some vegetables.
I tucked in every couple of hours throughout the day.
Late Friday afternoon I also managed to fit in a visit to the gym for my strength & conditioning program workout.
In addition to the meals there were also some optional healthy snacks including protein bars and fruit.
I was in bed by 9 pm on the Friday evening, completely relaxed, everything prepared, and having eaten quite enough.
Saturday morning I awoke around 6am before the alarm. Having slept well I felt relaxed and ready for what was to come.
The plan involved starting the first 6.71km loop at 9am and going from there.
I’d finished my breakfast of oats, blueberries, a banana, and 2 eggs by 8 am and was ready to go.
My running buddy, Emmanuelle, arrived just before 9 am to accompany me on a few loops.
Running alone works the mental side of things, running with someone during training sessions like this is a real godsend. Even if you’re not chatting (which we did often enough), just having someone there is comforting.
The first loop went like clockwork. Coming in at between 48-50 mins.
That was exactly as planned. The distance is not that far when isolated as one loop, and you can jog and walk it easily enough.
Time for a few mouthfuls of Greek yoghurt, some water, and a couple of dates before heading back out again at 10 am.
2nd loop done. Banana, peanut butter, and an orange.
The kit is working just fine. No need to change anything just yet.
In addition to water, I drank a gulp or two of Xact Nutrition electrolyte mixed with Pepsi which I had prepared a couple of liters of ahead of time.
11 am and out for the 3rd loop.
Came in on time and sat down for half a bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon and lettuce.
More electrolyte mix, and water.
12 noon. Loop 4.
Just before midday running buddy Isabelle appears, so there’s 3 of us on the 4th loop.
On we go, chatting away and starting too fast. We slowed to a walk to settle the heart rate and relax a little.
Coming in again around 48 minutes, after 4 loops Emmanuelle decides to call it a day.
She’d only planned to pop out for 3, so the extra one was a bit of a bonus.
Almost 27km in the legs and feeling good.
I finish the bagel, take on board liquids, and another banana.
Time for a change of running shoes.
I switch out one pair of Decathlon Kiprun for similar. They’re comfy.
Back on the road for loop 5 and feeling fresh.
Sometimes a change of kit does that.
1pm. Loop 5.
Emmanuelle starts the stopwatch and bids farewell to Isabelle and I.
It’s sunny and cool, a little warmer now so decided to remove the thin jacket I was wearing as an outer layer. The shades are on. Still plenty of snow piled up along the route.
Another metronomical loop of between 48-50 minutes.
Everything working just as it should.
A tasty vanilla protein shake, a few minutes rest, some stretching, and we’re back on the road.
2 pm. Loop 6.
I’m alone now as Isabelle has gone home.
I enjoyed the chat as we’d not seen each other for a while.
Now the mental side of this begins.
Stick to the plan, Andrew. Stick to the plan. Nothing stupid!
The route done, time for a banana, more liquids, dates, and some jelly berry candies.
A change of hat and gloves, and I’m off again.
3 pm. Loop 7.
All the kit is working fine and I’m not hungry at all.
The nutrition plan is bang on. Feeling great.
Coming in on time again, that’s 7 hours of movement and slightly under 47km down.
As I’m over the official marathon distance I’m calling that an ultra.
Banana with peanut butter, candies, and salted chips.
4 pm. Loop 8.
I’m taking a hand-held running water bottle with me which I hadn’t done before now.
It’s still sunny and the shades are still on.
I’ve switched out the hat for a buff so the head can breathe a bit.
I tried to eat another smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel.
I couldn’t swallow it so switched that out for some pasta. The filling went in though.
Got to keep eating. Got to keep stuffing in the calories.
Between 200 and 300 calories need to be taken on board every hour.
The right mix is crucial.
5 pm. Loop 9.
Another loop alone. Doing this really is working the mental capacity.
It’s quite relaxing. Cathartic, even. This gives me plenty of time to churn things through my mind.
I think about family, and loved ones. I also wonder what the neighbors and people living along my chosen route must think.
I change socks and running shoes at the end of this one.
A protein bar, banana, and some candies this time.
6pm. Loop 10.
The last one alone.
As I was nearing the end running buddy Catherine’s car pulled up alongside.
What a welcome sight.
‘’I got you a coffee’’, she shouts through the open window.
I could have stopped and hugged her. The clock was ticking so I didn’t.
That came at the end of the loop.
‘’Excuse me, I stink’’, I offered as I gratefully took the welcome hot drink.
67 km down, and the end of 5 hours alone.
I’m ready to chat again.
Another protein bar, a maple syrup drink, more electrolytes, and we’re off again.
7pm. Loop 11.
With the sun beginning to fade for the day, I put my hat and jacket back on.
Catherine and I chat and catch up on our respective news as we go. Having someone along for the ride again makes me feel as if I’m starting over. This is a good thing.
The loop complete, again at the all important time of between 48 and 50 minutes, it’s time for another protein shake. A chocolate one. Tastes great.
And then there were three.
Michel, another running buddy, appears to join us. For some reason known only to him, he’s ringing a cowbell.
8pm. Loop 12. 4 loops to go.
Our happy little gang of 3 set off. All in good spirits even though the evening has moved in and the temperature has dropped somewhat.
80 km done.
Time for some pasta, an orange, more dates, and salted chips.
Water and the electrolyte mix are also gulped down.
9pm. Loop 13.
Feeling the cold a little now and the legs are heavy.
The pasta should help alleviate that as carbs were clearly needed.
I take some jelly candies and my water bottle with me.
I eat the candies when we slow to a walk.
As we finish, Catherine calls it a night.
3 loops for her – the most she’s done. She can be proud.
10 pm. Loop 14.
Michel and I head out for the penultimate loop.
I changed my hat and gloves for thicker ones as I’m really feeling the cold now.
We chat and discuss strategy as we go.
I’m feeling good.
As we come in, I eat a couple of handfuls of trail mix and more salted chips.
11 pm. Loop 15.
The last one.
We decide to go quicker this time. Upping the pace a little, and walking a bit less, we aim to come in around 45 minutes.
It doesn’t seem like much, but it is after running all day at a constant pace. Not wishing to sound vulgar, we wanted to simulate the need to go to the toilet.
The extra 4-5 minutes would in the event itself, be used to go for a sit down.
You have to find the time for this somewhere.
Remember if you’re not on the start line when the whistle blasts YOU’RE OUT!
Pants around your ankles sat on the can is never an acceptable excuse for not being ready.
The loop done, I thanked Michel for helping me through to the end.
I genuinely feel fine and could continue.
This is a very good sign.
It was a pleasure seeing everyone today.
They all played their part and their presence was enjoyed and much appreciated.
Time for a shower and some relaxation before bed.
15 hours. 100 km. Thank you and goodnight.
Whatever your running goals are this year, keep at it and happy running.
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You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go!
Andrew is a middle-aged ultramarathon runner based in Quebec, Canada.
A confirmed mid-pack finisher, he runs for fun.
He is a proud military veteran.
For those interested, here’s my food and clothing list I used for this training session :
2 long-sleeve warm tops
2 pairs of Runur Joggers
3 pairs of socks
3 x hats
1 pair of sunglasses
1 windbreaker sleeveless jacket
1 light rain jacket (breathable)
3 pairs of running shoes
2 pairs of gloves
6 (yes SIX) x light meals consisting of 100g cooked lean ground beef, 200g of cooked pasta, and cooked vegetables / salad of choice (unlimited). I opted for cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and spinach.
Drinks : Water (unlimited), Tea (1 cup), Coffee (2 cups)
Breakfast by 8am
1 x cooked egg, 1 x cooked egg white, banana, blueberries, quick oats, avocado.
Greek yoghurt, 1 x orange, banana wtih peanut butter, figs and dates.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with lettuce, banana.
Protein shake, banana with peanut butter
Smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with lettuce, banana.
2 x protein bars, maple syrup (drink it), banana, dark chocolate.
Protein shake, orange
Trail mix, protein shake
Optional snacks taken periodically included candies, chocolate, salted chips, plantain chips.
Drinks : Water, electrolyte, Pepsi, maple syrup