Week 47, 2012: Turkey adventure -- summary

(Show distances in kilometers / miles)

Ok, time to sum it up. This was a week completely dominated by my trip to Yosemite, where I did just over 100 miles of running over the park in four days. You can read about it in the posts about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4

As you may recall from my fist post this whole thing, apart from being a lot of fun, was kind of a test before my 100-mile ultra next year. And by the way, I'm becoming more and more convinced that I'll go for Rio Del Lago in the end. Anyhow. It's a bit early to think about goals but a rather obvious one would be to break the 24h mark. I read somewhere recently that setting goals based on "round numbers" is silly and is asking for trouble and instead one should base them on one's abilities, previous races etc. I agree with that wholeheartedly. However, how can one resist the 24h goal? Not only is it a super cool goal in itself, allowing one to boast having ran 100 miles in one day ;), but on top of that many races (including Rio Del Lago) recognize this achievement with a special buckle. To put it in perspective: 10 out of 44 finishers of Del Lago last year made it within 24h, plus 1 out of 11 ladies. Not going to be easy...

So, let's do what I love so munch and crunch some numbers from the runs that I did over those 4 days.

DayTimeDistanceElevation gain
Day 13:26 +1:38 = 5:0424.8km + 16.0km = 40.8km15.4EM + 9.9EM = 25.4EM927m + 0m = 927m3,041 ft
Day 27:0242.6km26.5EM2,495m8186 ft
Day 37:2341.8km26.0EM3,061m10,043 ft
Day 43:06 + 3:37 = 6:4320.5km + 21.8km = 42.3km12.7EM + 13.5EM = 26.3EM820m + 1,053m = 1,873m2,690 ft + 3,455 ft = 6,145 ft
SUMMARY26:12167.5km104.1EM8,356m27,415 ft

Ok, so scaling the total distance to 100 miles that would translate to a target time of 25:10. Not quite 24:00, but not too far either. Of course this can hardly be taken as an esimate of any sorts. On one hand during those 4 days I was just having fun, taking it easy, stopping often to take photos etc. instead of racing with adrenaline pumping in my veins. Moreover, next to covering the distance of 167.5km104.1EM I also scored 8,356m27,415 ft of vertical gain (that almost covers Mount Everest); from the elevation chart of Rio Del Lago it looks like I'll have to do half of that at most. On the other hand, and that's a much more important difference, in between those runs I had 3 nights of sleep (and many hours of rest during the day) to recover and 6 meals (3 breakfasts and 3 dinners) to replenish my fuel supplies; I won't have those luxuries on the race day and that will obviously make a tremendous difference.

It was also interesting to see what effect all this running had on my body. I recently got myself a Withings body scale. I got it mostly for the convenience of having the measurements online without having to do anything (it connects wirelessly) and, frankly, I didn't have high hopes of the accuracy of its body fat readings. But then I noticed that the readings actually make perfect and that after all my weekend long runs my body fat would drop noticeably (and my weight not necessarily; I'm trying to stay well hydrated). I started having more trust in this feature of the scale and below you can see a screenshot showing the effect of the Yosemite trip on my body fat.

Yes, it jumped back to the previous level rather quickly but that may have something to do with the fact that I did nothing in the following week and was happily eating lots of ice-cream at work ;)

Another thing that I checked was what my Polar watch has to say. It has this Fitness test feature, which is supposed to measure one's fitness level and approximate one's VO2 max, a widely recognized fitness indicator in endurance sports. Here, again I noticed a huge difference after this weekend, including a bump on the scale from Very good to Elite. See chart below.

Unless Polar is cheating (after all the watch knows about all the exercising that I'm doing and I only hope that it does not factor it in when performing the test and bases it on HR readings alone), this would indicate a huge impact of those series of trainings. Could it really be that dramatic? Right away? If so, maybe I should do it more often ;)...

Even if not, I think I should do it more often anyway. Because the most important conclusion of all is this: it was fun. I enjoyed it immensely. And I am looking forward to an opportunity of doing something similar in the near future (Death Valley? :).

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