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2013 Croatan 24 Hour

13 bytes added, 21:58, 6 November 2014
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I ran the 2013 Croatan 24 hour race in Eastern North Carolina, finishing in third place with 106.8 miles.
=The Race=
The Croatan 24 hour race is located in a small national Forest near the Outer Banks in eastern North Carolina. It is a 1.36975-mile loop course on hard packed dirt paths and bridges. The course is mostly shaded, but there are some stretches of full sun. As you can see from the course map below, there is a large main loop, connected by a short note on back to the headquarters loop. This headquarters loop is where the aid station is located, and is the only place where aid can be provided.
[[File:Croatan 24.jpg|none|thumb|500px| the Croatan 24 hour course.]]
=What Happened=
My race was pleasantly uneventful, and I rapidly found a sustainable rhythm. I had my drink located on a table at the entrance/exit to the headquarters loop, and would walk this 100 yard (100m) section while drinking, then I run the rest of the loop. After I hit 100 miles I changed socks, and walked the last few laps until the end. I had a section of tent next to the timing tent that I shared with the other competitive runners. Valmir Nunes, the elite Brazilian ultrarunner stopped after just over 100 miles with nausea and vomiting. Connie Gardner also had nausea problems after about 90 miles and had to lie down for quite some time. Connie managed a remarkable comeback to get up and continue running, winning the women's race. Cheryl Yanek had problems with blisters, but she kept going to take second in the women's race.
=Food, Drink, and (lack of) Nausea=
I've had a few races recently that have been destroyed by [[Nausea]], so one of my main goals for this race was to try and find a solution. Normally, I follow the best practice of "drink to thirst", which is a recommendation for preventing [[Hyponatremia]], a potentially life-threatening condition. For this race however I intended to hydrate rather more aggressively. On every loop I took a drink, and I found that if I started to drink, I would consume rather more than I expected. Overall, I drank about 2 gallons of my [[Fellrnr's Go Juice| Go Juice]] and 2 gallons of my [[DIY Electrolyte Drink]]. I probably would have drunk more of my go juice, but I didn't bring enough as I radically underestimated my need. During the night I also started to drink Coke, as I've seen Mike Morgan run remarkably well on it. It seemed to work well, which surprised me until I worked out how much [[Caffeine]] I was getting. I also ate some cake, cookies and potato chips, but most of my calories were from my drinks. While this fluid meant I wasted some significant time stopping for the toilet, I had no digestive problems or nausea at all.
=Performance and the Ketogenic Diet=
As those of you who follow my training know, I have been following the [[Ketogenic Diet]] since April 2013. While a discussion of the pros and cons of the ketogenic diet are outside of the scope of this race report, I have become concerned that I am a slower runner on the ketogenic diet. For this race I took on a lot more carbs to see if the combination of a routine ketogenic diet combined with carbs during the race time would work better. This combination seemed to suit me quite well, but my performance was still far below what I would expect. I don't see any other obvious explanation other than the ketogenic diet for my lack of speed. My training leading up to this race was solid, putting in a regular 100 mile weeks, with [ a 200 mile] [[Three Phase Taper| overload week]] and a good taper. I've also been doing [[Downhill Running| Downhill Training]], [[Altitude Training]], and my weight has been close to optimal though I did put on a few pounds during the taper.
=What Worked and What Failed=
As always, I like to document what worked and didn't work for a race. For this race, things that don't split into worked/failed cleanly, so the list is a little more nuanced.
* '''Community'''. Ultra running is one of the friendliest sports I've come across, with a great sense of community. Ultrarunners are cooperative and supportive more than they are competitive, and small loop course is like this provide ample opportunity for runners of vastly different ability to support and encourage each other. The Croatan 24 was a great example of enthusiasm and corporation, with runners taking time to encourage and advise each other.
* '''The Stars'''. The clear night sky and the lack of light pollution resulted in an amazing night sky. It was worth stopping for a couple of minutes to admire the spectacle.

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