Ultra-Eve

The 28.4 mile Susquehanna Super Hike and Ultra-Trail is tomorrow. As a matter of fact, my best guess is that I'll be finishing it around this time tomorrow.

Here's my back-of-napkin math:

1. In a road marathon with no elite competition, I'd finish about an hour behind the winner, around 3:30.
2. Last year's winner of this race did it in 4:05, so the course is roughly 90 minutes slow.
3. Buuuuut - last year's course was 25 miles. This one is 28.4.
4. I expect the winner to be around 4:40.
5. Because it's so much longer and I haven't run trails in a looong time, I expect to be about 90 minutes behind the winner: 6:20.
6. I haven't run more than 15 miles in months.

All of which goes to say I'm putting in a goal of 7 hours and hoping that's relatively easy. If all goes well, a 6:45 isn't out of the question.

But here's the thing: a 7 hour race, to borrow a phrase, isn't really about running. It's a distance nutrition competition, measured in time. And as a diabetic, it's a much different deal because I'll have to maintain an even blood sugar along with my energy level.

On a course with no bag drops and just 3 aid stations, which have claimed to have "snacks," whatever that means.

So here's my plan:

1. Monitoring. I'll be wearing my DexCom CGM. However, I'll also carry a back-up blood sugar meter. Between the two, I'll check my blood sugar level at least every hour.

2. Insulin. Tricky. Tricky. This could go either way. On one hand, a high adrenaline level before the race will dictate a high basal rate. On the other hand, I'm going to be moving for 7 hours. The plan right now is to go with a basal of about 40% of normal. That's enough insulin to allow me to eat a lot, too, which is good. In addition, I'm planning on having a back-up infusion set on my belly in case the first tears on tree limbs, boulders, etc. I pondered carrying a third infusion set, but have decided not to. I'll probably take a bottle of insulin and a spare syringe just in case things go very bad.

3. Food. My plan right now is to have a 25g. Clif Gel every hour for the first 3 hours. After three hours, I'll want to have some protein, so I'll switch to a Mojo energy bar or snack on Clif Protein Bites. Of course, I'll balance this with whatever I find in the aid stations.

4. Hydration. I'll be carrying my Camel-Bak, filled with water. This is a definite switch, as I haven't trained in the Camel-Bak for a while and usually carry a bottle of Perpeteum. However, I didn't want to have a carb drink in a backpack, where I didn't know exactly how much I was consuming, so water it is. As I'll probably be between aid stations for a good two hours or more, this is a great way to make sure I stay hydrated, too.

5. Supplements. None of my gels have electrolytes, so I'll be taking a few Hammer Endurolytes every hour. Also, I'll have a few FRS chews at the beginning for a small energy boost.

6. How will I carry all of this crap? My Race-Ready Shorts and my Spi-Belt. I'm not 100% certain it will all fit, so I may have to get creative with Gels and safety pins.

7. Shoes? My trusty Inov-8's.

The best part? My nerves. In many ways, I'm woefully unprepared for this event - both the distance and the terrain. But that's given me a certain freedom to not put much pressure on myself. I'm looking forward to the event, and know that I've got enough miles in me over the past months that it won't be impossible. Probably just really painful.

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