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RacingThePlanet: Sri Lanka 2016 Blogs

Post Race Reflections
03-Mar-2016 04:15:09 AM [(GMT-07:00) Mountain Time(US & Canada)]

This is a long blog post – my apologies in advance.


It’s almost 2 weeks since I finished the Racing the Planet Sri Lanka ultra. I’m now home in Boulder, Colorado after resting and recuperating with my family in Maui, Hawaii. Fish tacos, cold beer, sunshine, and chilling by the pool did a body good! Had lots of quality time to reflect on the craziness of my first ultra-marathon. All I can say is “wow!” My race performance and the overall experience far exceeded my goals and expectations. I have profound gratitude for the life experience. It left me physically and emotionally spent beyond anything else I have done in my life.


This was my very first ultra-marathon and multi-stage race. In fact, it was my first race of any length over a single half-marathon (which was actually part of my training). After all is said and done, what worked and what didn’t for this middle-aged rookie?


My strengths:

  • Stages with lots of elevation change – big climbs and fast descents
  • Technical trails and single track. I kicked ass in the thick jungle.
  • Power hiking faster than many people jog
  • Racing at altitude – high in the mountains
  • Experience and comfort running with a pack on my back
  • An ability to recover quickly and perform over multiple days
  • My mental attitude and ability to persevere through intense pain and suffering


My weaknesses:

  • Running the flats
  • Roads. Boy did they suck, and suck some more!
  • Lack of real marathon speed
  • Poor running gait and biomechanics
  • Poor adaptability to the heat & humidity due to my high sweat rate


What worked:

  • My overall race performance and results. Placing 10th overall and winning Stage 1 were way beyond my expectations.
  • Training plan and taper prepared me well. I was rested and ready.
  • No injuries and relatively blister free feet.
  • Gear plan. Very few, minor changes needed for next time. I had one of the lightest packs in the field.
  • Race fuel plan. The combination of Stingers, GU, Fritos, and peanut/almond butter worked well. Sweet and salty ratio was good.
  • Hydration plan (mostly). With the exception of the last long stage, I was hydrated and had good electrolyte balances. Hammer Fizz worked great.
  • Despite a freak performance on Stage 1, my race strategy worked. Power hike all ascents (regardless of grade), run all descents, and ‘play it by ear’ on the flats with a run/walk approach.
  • Checkpoint strategy. I minimized wasted time in all checkpoints, gaining valuable time as I often passed faster runners this way.
  • I successfully managed my ego as I power walked often, while others were running.
  • Managing my heart rate. With the exception of redlining early on a big climb in Stage 2, I did a good job of running within myself and managing the dosing of my energy expenditure. Maybe even too much in some cases, as perhaps I could have run more on the flats.


What didn’t work:

  • Food plan. I took 16,000 calories (2,000 more than the mandatory minimum), but I was still way under-nourished. Led to a falloff in performance late in the week.
  • I started the race too lean at ~160 lbs. I lost 13 lbs. by the last stage and was burning way too much muscle late in the race. My body had nothing left. Try starting at ~165 lbs. next time.
  • Expedition Foods dehydrated meals suck. And next time don’t choose flavors based on calorie/weight ratio but on taste.
  • Needed much more variety in my food, particularly at breakfast.
  • Communal sleeping arrangements. While I loved spending time with my tent-mates, I did not get a single night of good sleep. I was too worried about bothering/waking others with noise from my sleeping pad and snoring. Can I sleep outside and not be considered antisocial?
  • Race strategy to ‘go out slow and hide mid-pack’ early in the race. Due to a combination of tactical factors, I found myself with a completely unexpected breakaway lead at checkpoint 1 in Stage 1. I made a conscious decision to go for the win, knowing full well it would lead to an early expenditure of energy that would not be recoverable. The falloff in performance later in the race was highly predictable. But I would absolutely do it again to hold the yellow leader’s jersey!


I want to thank a whole bunch of people. First and foremost to my wife, Dee, and my beautiful daughters, Emma and Grace, thank you deeply for supporting me throughout the long training and allowing me time away to chase my dreams. To my family and friends, the encouragement was unbelievable. It made a huge difference! To all my new friends from the race, thank you. The experience would not have been the same without getting to know so many cool people with such great life stories to share. To the race staff, volunteers and local support crew, the race was well run and organized.


I’m grateful for all of you!


And what's next? While I haven't yet fully committed, I'm strongly considering running this June the Dirty 30 (a local, mountain, trail 50k with 2,500 meters of ascent) and then competing in the Grand to Grand multi-stage 170 mile ultra next Fall. We will see.


Ciao, mahalo and namaste!

RacingThePlanet: Sri Lanka 2016

Boulder, Colorado USA


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RacingThePlanet: Sri Lanka 2016 competitor


Retired entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

Boulder, Colorado USA


Why are you competing?
I have a background in long trail, thru hiking and
trail running. I thought I would try a multi-day
ultra just to see if I could do it.

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