Our Canadian team shirt- a work in progress:
Canadian Comrades team shirt
In less than three weeks my husband and I will be flying to Cape Town. By then I’ll have started to taper my training and I am looking forward to a couple of weeks of gentle running and acclimatization in the Western Cape before we head to Durban for the Comrades Marathon.
But before then I have two more tough weeks to get through. Last week went well. I continue to follow my training plan exactly and am grateful for everyday that I can run. For Saturday’s long run my husband joined me for the last 21 kms which made the day more enjoyable. We shared a Coke at Locarno beach before powering up the long hill to the University of British Columbia. We both felt great at the end and managed a final sprint over the Burrard St. bridge. (sprint being a relative term after running for 50 kms)
I tried a different approach to fuelling on Saturday’s long run. I consumed more carbohydrates the day before the run and had a bigger breakfast three hours before starting out- toast, honey, a banana, and a large bowl of steel-cut oats with almond milk. Two cups of strong tea with milk. I skipped my usual coffee. On the run I just used Gu gels– a total of three within the first 30 kms. For the last twenty kms of the run I felt I had fuelled enough but drank about 6 ounces of Coke as well as water which I had fortified with Vega electolyte powder.
This time I didn’t eat any solid food on the run even though I was starting to feel quite hungry towards the end. Hungry, because it was past my usual lunch time, but not at all depleted. I expect that I will need to start eating something solid after halfway at Comrades. I also plan to consume more gels early on in the race. At the pace I was running my 50 km training run, carbo loading and three gels was plenty to keep me going for almost six hours. Running over ten hours in the Comrades is going to require more. I plan to carry 10 gels although I’ll be surprised if I manage to consume them all.
My biggest worry about Comrades is heat. It is springtime in Canada and the highs are in the teens but it is cooler in the morning when I usually run. I am hoping that two weeks in SA ahead of the race will help me acclimatize. But I do need to prepare for electrolyte maintenance- something that is hardly ever an issue running here.
I have my general nutrition plan worked out although I am still researching salt and electrolyte products. I like the Vega electrolyte powder but it is not going to be practical to mix this with water on the Comrades route because the water comes in sealed sachets. Nuun electolyte tablets are good too but again, it would be awkward and time consuming to be trying to dissolve these on the Comrades course. I may need to bring salt pills especially if it is going to be hot. On the other hand I don’t want to overdo it since the gels contain electrolytes too. And I also have to be careful of consuming too much caffeine… Yes, I know I may be obsessing too much!
Except for my gels and some salt/electrolyte product, I do not plan to carry anything with me during the race. There are well-stocked aid stations every few kilometres.
And then there is my Comrades running outfit to worry about…. Fortunately I have my shoes sorted out. (New Balance 890 v5) The rest of my ensemble is undecided. Our Canadian Comrades team has some wonderful custom red shirts with polar bears on order but I am not sure if they will reach me before my early departure for SA. So I may need a back-up shirt.