Training flexibility. I had to train around work trips, hockey, and weather reports, and I didn’t have a treadmill to fall back on when it was colder than the Arctic outside. I also wasn’t following a specific plan, but I still managed to get in long runs, 50 mile weeks, and a bit of quality tempo work. I got out there and ran when I could. I didn’t take too many unscheduled rest days. I dragged my butt outside in layers of clothing and still froze, but got my workouts in. I talked myself back into runs I’d talked myself out of running. I ran the same boring routes when sidewalk and trail conditions limited my options. I got sh*t done.
Preparedness. I made several checklists, and the only thing I didn’t do was purchase a travel-sized spray sunscreen. I brought along a full sized one instead. There wasn’t a single thing I forgot to do, or wished I’d done once I got out on the course. I put everything on these stupid checklists, by the way. I wrote down stuff like “take off rings,” “fill hydration pack,” and “leave race bib in the car.” It takes my mind off the little things to just write them all down.
Nutrition. Being hungry at the start of a race is a bad idea. I made mistakes in how much I ate. But ultimately, it goes further than that. I haven’t done much to address the diet side of my training, and that’s going to have to improve right away. I need to eat better during training as well as eat better pre-race. I think I do an ok job of eating during the race – not fantastic, especially if there are no potato chips, but ok.
Training volume. I did what I had to do. However, I still only averaged about 38 miles/week, and I didn’t do a whole lot of that on trails. More time out on the trails, on tough, hilly routes, and more miles in general (maybe an average of 42 mpw, nothing insane), would have given me a bit more stamina. I can look at all kinds of “reasons” for why my training wasn’t so great (travel, weather, etc.), but the “reasons” don’t magically turn it into a good training cycle, they just show I made the best of what I could get.
Sleep. I got probably 3 hours of sleep before the race, which is an improvement over my pre-race sleep at Wild Duluth. I am not sure how to fix it, but I’m going to keep trying. Maybe I’ll take a hot shower in the evening or something.