I was in New Orleans for the past 10 days for military reserve duty.  There are other cities I would prefer to be in, but I’m spending my reserve duty in the U.S., not in a fighting hole somewhere, and I don’t have to go to Korea in the middle of August when I should be fishing in Yellowstone, so all in all it’s ok.

The biggest problem was how to maintain my training. I’m running the 20-mile version of the Pocatello 50 on June 1, and spending ten days away from home at sea level right before the race presents several issues:

  1. How to maintain the right amount of volume.
  2. How to maintain the fitness I have for running at elevation.
  3. How to maintain a good diet.

I thought through these three issues before going on the trip, but I didn’t write down the goals and ways to “beat” each of these “enemies” of success.

To maintain the volume, I needed to find the time and a course to fit in a final long run of 18 miles and some daily runs of 7 miles. These are longer than I would do at home, at 4600 ft elevation, but I think the added volume when combined with the elevation change is a sufficient way of continuing to properly stress my body in the last couple of weeks leading up to the race.

I found a great course running on the St Charles trolley line, and did 17 miles on Saturday, versus a goal of 18 iles.  I walked mile 15 because it was SO INCREDIBLY HOT AND HUMID. The biggest issue on a run like this is finding water along the way. I found a park with water fountains at the four mile mark, so I planned around that, not knowing how far the trolley tracks went. In the end, it was a great final long run, and I think the heat/humidity provided equivalent stress on my body as the elevation back home would have, even in a cooler and drier climate.

Outside of that, I ran a 10-miler the first day there, and consistent seven milers the other days, taking a day off on Tuesday because I ran two days directly after the long day and needed some rest in my legs.

I didn’t do so well with the diet goals, but I did better than I normally do. I was so incredibly hungry the whole time because of the heat, that it was difficult to maintain a standard calorie intake. I did get to the grocery store to get some SmartStart cereal for my mornings and turkey/bread for standard turkey sandwiches for lunch. But that just did not satisfy the monster within. I generally had breakfast, brunch, lunch, second lunch, and a big dinner every day…..plus a few full-calorie powerade drinks each day to keep my electrolytes up. And of course, I was obligated to have a few beers with dinners out in the French Quarter. I took in a lot of calories, but I think I sweated them off during the runs.