Monday, April 24, 2017

Q & A With Mark Cucuzzella

Mark ( 2377 ) 2017 Boston
I want to thank Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, who is a fellow Dr Phil Maffetone enthusiast and has the website as well as being the founder and owner of Two River Treads,   walking and running store, for answering some questions I sent to him.  Being one of the admins at The Maffetone Method FB group I thought it would be nice to have his thoughts on a number of areas.  Mark, who also just competed the 2017 Boston Marathon in 2:56:03 at age 50, has run a sub 3:00 marathon a year for the last 30 years is an avid barefoot runner and all-around great source of information.
Natural Running Center

Mark will be presenting alongside Dr. Maffetone this weekend (April 26-29, 2017) at Healthy Running San Luis Obispo.  According to Mark you can still come!  Also Dr. Maffetone shared Mark's story last year.

Now lets get into the interview:

Q: What is your regular diet?  Would you consider your diet LCHF or some version of it?

Definitely LCHF and flux between 50-100g of healthy carbs/ day (sometimes less).  May have an occasional day over this but rarely.  If you download the “real lists” on Real Meal Revolution I am pretty much green list with occasional dips into the orange for good quality fruit and legumes.  Bread and grains almost 100% gone other than a rare treat of thin crust homemade pizza where the wonderful toppings buffer the little bit of homemade crust (which is loaded with olive oil).

Q: What are your thoughts on MET (Metabolic Efficiency Training) and being fat adapted?  Do you think this works for shorter distances as well as long?

The key is about restoring your health, and then your workouts will go well either high intense or endurance.  So if you are insulin resistant (IR)/carb intolerant  you need to be fat adapted for your health.  Phil’s White Paper spells it out. I have some good friends crushing their Crossfit workouts once they figured out they were IR.

Q: How do you fuel your training runs & races?  What are your thoughts on fasted runs?

For training it’s pretty much all fasted.  I going for long morning run I get up and have good coffee then go.  I’m never hungry or feel depleted during long runs anymore. For long races where performance (not adaptation) is the goal I have a low carb cocktail of UCAN, VESPA, and a packet of Keto OS.  If I can get it on the course I will use UCAN Hydrate (zero cal electrolyte) and Superstarch and a VESPA every couple hours. I think for fat adapted athletes there may be some benefit to a little exogenous ketone salt before the race.  Not much science yet on this and like every strategy we are all individuals who need individual self-assessments in training and racing

Q: What are your thoughts on Carbohydrate Intolerance/Insulin Resistance?  Do you think this is pretty regular occurrence in the general public or a person by person thing to figure out?  Also, how much of this do you think comes from how our food, in general, has been modified or processed?

I see this as the root cause of patients who have obesity, pre DM/DM, Fatty Liver, High Blood Pressure, Coronary Disease, and metabolic syndrome.  This is about 70% of the US population now.  Dr. Gerald Reaven who has published 800 papers should have won the Nobel Prize with the discovery of what he termed “Syndrome X” over ten years ago.  He outlined the cascade of nefarious pathways ignited by IR and hyperinsulinemia.  The foods that accelerate the slow steady march to IR are the sugar sweetened beverages (incl. juice), all process grains, added sugar products, and refined vegetable oils.

Dr. Tim Noakes explains it well in “The Real Meal Revolution” as well Gary Taubes in his 3 best selling books “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, “Why We Get Fat”, and “The Case Against Sugar”.  “New Atkins for a New You” by Drs Phinney, Volek, and Westman is another must read and was the book that sent Dr. Noakes down this rabbit hole.

People need to check their HgA1c, fasting glucose and insulin levels, and well as glucose and insulin levels after a load of glucose (called a glucose tolerance test).  This will give an individual an objective measure.  NMR Lipid Profile can also give you a IR score.

Q: When did you start running barefoot?  How long did it take you to adapt to running regularly barefoot?

Started full barefoot in 2011 when asked to speak on this topic at the Boston Marathon. I 2 months could go on 10 mile runs with no shoes on smooth pavement or grass.  This is not the norm.  I had been full on minimal with a focus on form for a solid 5 years at this point so was essentially there other than adapting the soles of the feet.

I presented this video at the Boston Conference as a demonstration that this was not academic theory, but something anyone could learn safely.

Q: How did you come about with your thoughts on form and barefoot running?

I was always geeked out about the biomechanics from a foundation of understanding the role of spring and fascia.  Dr. Irene Davis has enlightened me on the importance of the foot.  I would read something and then try to feel it while running.  South African Sports Chiropractor Dr. Lawrence Van Lingen has helped shaped my thought with his endless curiosity.  Jay Dicharry and Dr. Ray McClanahan also huge influencers who also treat runners.  I think the video we shot in 2012 for UVA Run Med Conference is still pretty spot on.

Q: What are your thoughts on cadence?  So many have issues, me included, when they try for 180 cadences when running slowly, especially when starting MAF.  Do you think that the 180 number might change as one gets taller?

The cadence is about how your foot functions.  If you have a springy foot like a child the 180 is natural.  If your foot behaves like a hacky sac then it is more difficult.  Just try jumping rope or hopping on one foot barefoot, you will get your answer. If you have hallux valgus your will never have a springy foot.  The foot will collapse and land with a “thud”.  Correct Toes from Dr. Ray have been my lifesaver since I have this condition.

Mark @ the JFK 50 Miler
Q:  With how low your HR was for the first 43 miles or so of the JFK 50, under 100, lots of people were wondering how long it took to get there.  Do you regularly train at your Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF)?  Do you use the standard 180-Age with some adjustments?  If so how long have you been training like this?  I know I have been running for many years so early on since Arthur Lydiard was influential some of my early training was probably at MAF but did not know it.  Do you train in cycles and when do you add speed work and how do you do that?

I started training with MAF HR in 2000 after reading a Maffetone article about Mark Allen.  Ran an amazingly comfortable 2:28 for 3rd place at the 2000 Marine Corps Marathon after about 4 months full MAF. Haven’t looked back since.  I rarely use HR in training now and breathe through the nose. This assures aerobic without needing technology.  I’m a Ludite by nature.  When I do put HRM on I am usually below 130 on an easy/moderate training run.  I keep a strong base year round and a couple months before a main marathon will dial in a longer and quicker 2 hour run to get a feel of race tempo.  This is not “hard”, it’s just a quicker gear. I do drills daily as shown here on these short videos.

Q:  I have seen you mention that you do strides daily, can you explain the reason and how many, how long and how fast they are?

I do strides as a form of neuromuscular training.  Lydiard called these “alactic sprints” The goal of training is to gain endurance and speed without running “hard”. I do 4 to 6 of maybe 50-80 yards on grass.  I aim for fast turnover as fast as I can go on the last couple.  Again they are so short this is not hard or acidotic.  When done all joints are mobilized and sets me up to recover optimally.  Just do not return to 6 hours of sitting after these sessions.

Q: Will wearing regular running shoes occasionally, and even on a more regular basis, impede progressing towards a more natural running form?

In my opinion yes.  Mix up the surfaces and paces of your runs but stay as minimal as possible for the proprioception and optimizing foot function.  If you need a lot of cushion to recover you are training too hard. Better to do easy runs and recovery ridiculously slow using the body as designed vs using an adaptation (structured and over-cushioned shoe). After several months/years your body will tell you what is best, and I’ve never seen anyone who starts down this path go back to the big bulky shoes.

Q: Do you train exclusively barefoot, or w/sandals, or do you wear conventional running shoes as well?

At this point almost all my running barefoot or sandals (with Injinji socks if cold).  Hard to explain but there is a feeling of freedom in the sandals.  I have thin sandals for smooth terrain and thicker ones for trails.  Weather proof  Vibrams are great in the snow. Now that it is spring weather the shoes are coming off again.  For runners entering the space a firm level training shoe with some protection is a good entry in and may be the ideal long term place to be.  At Two Rivers Treads we carry Newton, Altra, Topo, Merrell, ON, NB Minimus, Inov8 and some others which our customers really enjoy and I stand behind.  The lifestyle shoe is critically important and make this your covert foot strengthening system.  The brands VivoBarefoot, Lems, and OESH have some great minimal shoes for all occasions. Support small business and shop with us online!

Q:Are there plyometric or other drills and exercises you recommend to help injury prevention and if so how often?

I do light plyos almost daily as part of my runs. The whole routine of skips, plyos, burpees, mountain climbers, and short sprints is a 10 minute investment for the present and the future. The drills shown on prior question are all a form of plyometric. Episode 3 on this page also has some good light plyos.  Doing them with my kids!

Q:Along those same lines, do you advocate foam rolling or any other work to relieve tight calves or hip flexors ?

I have a morning routine with a roller for quads and calves and movement exercises for hip mobility.  This needs to be individualized for each runner and has to be so simple that it becomes an ingrained habit.  When the coffee is brewing I’m on the ground with the dog doing my morning routine.  This is good attention time for my dog too. To her its 10 minutes of pure love as she gets some good belly rubs.  I do not roll aggressively, just easy massage with breathing.  Your muscles should feel supple between your fingers, a cue your fascia is healthy.  Healthy diet and not overtraining is more important than rolling in my opinion.  It’s best not to create damage in the first place!

Q: Lastly for those of us in our more “mature” years how has your training changed as you have gotten older? What percentage of your training is spent on preventative maintenance and prehab to maintain flexibility and joint mobility? While you have touched on some extra drills and exercises are there any things you have found specific to people as they age that you recommend?

Great question.  It used to be 100% run, rush, pile in lots of quick carbs, and get back to work.  My mileage maxed out at about 70-80 miles per week in college and later in my 20 and 30’s when I was running faster marathons and getting close to Olympic Trails standard.  I wish I knew half of what I do now as I was trying to run the Trials standard of 2:22.  Managed 2:24 twice but always hurt myself in the process.

Now it is about 70% running and 30% strength, drills, and mobility.  Total running volume now at most is 50-60 miles a week in a 2 month marathon build.  Like many overextended people, I have learned the hard way to make sleep more of a priority.  Engaging and helping those in my community find health through better diet and easy aerobic activity also keeps me honest to the principles and makes me want to go to work every day.  When we get older it’s about “purpose” , not one’s individual goal of a PR in some race.  I think I have found my purpose through communities like this one following the principles of my good friend and mentor Dr. Phil Maffetone who to me is truly “Yoda”.  So keep passing it forward.

Thanks again to Mark for his answers and I encourage everyone to go to his website the Natural Running Center and this post is also up on his site as well.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Weekly RunDown #33

Steve Prefontaine
“You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.”
Steve Prefontaine

Ryan Ghelfi reports on his run at the 2017 100 Miles of Istria in Croatia

UTMB is not too far away (Sept 1st, 2017) so if you want to keep up to date they have a new blog - UTMB Blog

Looking back at the 2002 London Marathon where Paula Radcliffe ran 2:18:56 to just miss the world record and Khalid Khannouchi ran a then world record of 2:05:38.  Radcliffe would go on to lower the World Record to 2:17:18 at Chicago later in 2002 and then to the now world record of 2:15:25 at London in 2003 - that's some string to times!'s This Week in Running: April 17, 2017

Quite the run for Jordon Hasay at Boston with an American record marathon debut

Adidas may be the Boston Marathon sponsor but Nike got the podium with the top three in both the men's and women's race. gives it's report card for the Boston Marathon

They also give their preview of the upcoming London Marathon

You can watch the marathon on NBCSportsLive if you have a cable account and if not and are adventurous you can try  I say adventurous as many times the links are filled with spam you have to find your way through.  I have not had a problem in the past on my Mac but no guarantees so proceed at your own risk and just wait for the replay on Youtube.  The elite women's race starts at 4:15 AM (EST) and the men's at 5:00 AM (EST).

Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, who is 50, writes on his run at the 2017 Boston Marathon where he went under 3 hours ( 2:56:03 ) in the marathon for the 30th time in 30 years with the record at 33 years: Mysterious Reservoirs of Power at the 2017 Boston Marathon

Another 50+ runner, Rich Hanna, was 3rd overall at The 2017 American River 50 with an amazing 6:18:40.  Being 57 it is nice to see what what can be done in later years if you run smart - Way to go Rich and Mark

If you watch the Mountain Outhouse videos here and other places here is a Q&A with the guys from Mountain Outhouse.

Are you getting ready to run the Spartathlon, as Will Rivera of Running Soles in Elizabethtown KY is, then here is some advice to get ready for it.  By the way if you are in the E'town area make sure to stop by the store and if Will is there he is a wealth of info, especially on Ultras of which he has completed many.

Interesting site as there is a link to where you can see the comparative difficulty of Ultras in your area. 

Sounds like a nice race, and a beautiful place to run, if you are in the Big Bear, CA area June 3rd - HLÖKK Race Preview

Speaking of a beautiful run I bet the Blue Ridge Marathon, being run this weekend, is very scenic but for a road marathon it is a tough one with a total elevation gain & loss of 7430ft.

DC Rainmaker always has good watch reviews and here is his review of the Garmin Fenix 5/5S/5X and the Garmin Forerunner 935

Races this Weekend 
London Marathon - April 23rd, 2017
Leona Divide 50/50 - April 22nd, 2017

Race Results from the Last Week
Lake Sonoma 50 - April 15th, 2017
Boston Marathon - April 17th, 2017

In honor of the Prefontaine quote here is the 1972 Olympic 500m Final

If you missed the 2017 Boston Marathon you can catch it here

Great video from Run Steep Get High of the Lake Sonoma 50

Jamil and Schuyler of Mountain Outhouse add their own flair to an aid station at the Lake Sonoma 50

Here is one from the Ginger Runner on his wife's run at the Lake Sonoma 50

2017 TransGrancanaria - 6 Races between Feb 22-26, 2017

Cappadocia Ultra Trail - Turkey October 2017

2016 Wooler Trail Marathon in Northumberland National Park, North East England - Course Video

1965 - 13 Minute Barrier Broken

The guys at Mountain Outhouse were busy this week and as usual here is their weekly roundup

Friday, April 14, 2017

Weekly RunDown #32

Glenn Cunningham
“In track (running) it is man against himself, the cruelest of all opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies deep within him, in his ability, with brain and heart, to control and master himself and his emotions."
Glenn Cunningham

Lori writes on the Top 10 Kentucky Trail Races You Need to Sign Up For.  I would add at least one, being the (un)Pleasant Hill Trail Runs at The Shaker Village in Harrodsburg which is a beautiful place to run.

The Yamacraw 50K, mentioned in Lori's post, is indeed a great race and by no means easy. here is my race report, even though the vert seems not that great as compared to other races.  What it may lack in climbing it makes up with some difficult descents and awesome scenery.  Later this year (October 14, 2017), as mentioned above, there is going to be a sister race called The No Business 100 (actually 103 miles) also starting in Sterns, KY and it should be a tough one.

A talk with Everett Carson of Carson Footwear on the HeartlandRunning's Podcast.  If you want to try out the Carson shoes you can get 10% off by using this code: Run2017tonyk

The Lake Sonoma 50 Miler is this weekend.  It is the last Golden Ticket race for Western States even though it is not a qualifying race for Western States.  Here is a preview of the Men's Race and the Women's Race.

Probably not new to many of you but 2016 Women's Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong failed her sample "A" test for EPO and if the "B" sample finals she will be banned for 4 years.  What a mess this is as when this happens clean athletes get questioned if they have a good/great performance because of those that cheat.

The Nike Sub-2-Hour Marathon project will be ready to "stage" an attempt some time from May 6th thru 8th on a Formula One track in Monza, Italy.  While it will be interesting to see the results it will still carry with it some many questions as it is not an official race so will not count for a WR.  Have not heard who will be doing the drug testing pr if they will, would hope so with all the stuff going on today.

Ian Corless talks to Anna Frost: The Times They are a-Changin''s This Week in Running: April 10, 2017's The Week That Was In Running April 3-9, 2017

Cora Gallup goes from High School Basketball player to a NAIA Triple Jumper to one of the top D1 NCAA Steeple Chasers

Good article dealing with Visceral Fat and a LCHF diet:  The Fat Adapted Healthy Athlete: Visceral Fat and its Relationship to Health and Performance

Check out's movie on Karl Meltzer's run of the Appalachian Trail: Made to be Broken

Interview with John Kelly, 15th finisher of the Barkley Marathons

With Boston this coming Monday here are The 12 Most Important Boston Marathons

Here is a look at the American women in the race and the International Women

Here is a look at the American men in the race and the International Men

Races this Weekend 
Lake Sonoma 50 - April 15th, 2017
Boston Marathon - April 17th, 2017 - If you are looking to follow someone at Boston the 2017 App is available for Android & Apple

Race Results from the Last Week
Yamacraw 50K - April 8th, 2017 - Here is my re-cap of my race
Gorge Waterfalls 100K & 50K - April 8th & 9th, 2017
Brazos Bend 50 - April 8th, 2017
Mad City 100K (USA National Road Championships) - April 8th, 2017 - Race Review
Paris Marathon - April 9th, 2017 - Race Review
Rotterdam Marathon - April 9th, 2017 - Race Review

This weeks Mountain Outhouse

Video from this past weeks Gorge Waterfalls 100k where Jim Walmsley crushed the race

2017 Sean O'Brien 100k

2017 Carlsbad 5000 Women's Race

2017 Carlsbad 5000 Men's Race

I have to admit it I can never get enough of UTMB videos

Australia's Richest Mile - The Leonora Golden Gift

 Steve Cram Vs. Said Aouita 1500m World Record (1985) and first time under 3:30 - See 4 other of Steve Crams races here: Steve Cram's Top 5 Races

 Otillo SwimRun 2016

Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 Yamacraw 50+K Recap (April 8th, 2017)

Well the experiment is over.   In 8 weeks I have run three Ultras with the Yamacraw  50K being the 50K time trial with 2550’ of climbing in California on a loop course I set up in a time of 5:02.  This was followed 4 weeks later on March 11th at the Land Between the Lakes 50 Miler in 8:44:51 with 4500+’ of climbing getting 10th overall and 1st in the 50-59 division, see race report here.  The string of Ultras finished this past Saturday (April 8th) with the Yamacraw 50K, well it is said to be actually around 33 or 34 miles, and its 3540’ of climbing.   What I learned from this is that while I could indeed run this many long runs I need more miles in my legs to do so effectively as I felt the previous two runs in this past Saturday’s race and my heart rate also indicated it as well.
last.  It all started with a

Here is a Recap of the race

Considering the weeks preceding the race had been quite wet race day came with no rain and little wind.  The temperature was in the low to mid 30’s at the start but with no wind was not bad at all and the forecast was for upper 50’s by noon, race stated at 7:30AM.  Due to this I figured to wear a singlet and arm warmers and it was a good choice as it did indeed warm up and while I am not sure the actual temp it sure felt like it was in the high 60’s to low 70’s and sunny.  It was a beautiful day and while for me it could have been a little cooler, and for racing I like it to be overcast, it was all in all great weather.  With all the rocks on the course and stream crossings if it was raining I could see this course being much tougher and treacherous, well at least for me.

Trail Condition
As I have already alluded to the trail conditions were great with the creek crossings not too deep and mud at a minimum, but when it was encountered it was mucky.  One thing about this course is that it has many sections with rocks and roots hidden by leaves but also other areas that were just leaves.  Not sure I would label this course as fast with its more technical terrain in various areas it is still a runnable course.

The Course
The course is advertised as 33 miles, with one map saying 34, and my watch saying 32.3, others were getting 33+.  The mileage is made up of dirt roads, double track, single track and a very few paved sections.  The single track ranged from clean fast trails to areas with many rocks and roots often covered in leaves.  As seems to be the norm for the Daniel Boone National Forrest many of the descents, and climbs, were made up of rocks and in some areas even stairs.  Concerning the stairs in the last 5 miles there was a set of stairs that were very steep and the steps small, well small for my size 12 feet.  Many talked about the stairs and I must have looked funny going down as slow as I went.  There are also numerous creek crossing and even one with a line to hold on to that was about thigh deep this year in spots.  While I am sure many seasoned trail racers may not see this as a technical course I would say for most people it is and thus what you lose on the climbs is hard to make up on many of the descents.   That said all in all it is a great course and while not what I excel at now a-days it is still one that is enjoyable and very scenic.

As far as how the course is run it starts slightly up hill then drops down till about mile 4.5, or so, then things go up for a few miles. At about mile 7.5 there is a steep descent for a mile and a half then a series of rollers to mile 17.8 where things go up again followed by more rollers.  Then came the road that while only showing to be a mile, from mile 23-24,  on my watch sure seemed to go on forever followed by more rolling road and then the final aid station at about 26 miles.  From there to the finish includes a couple good descents with a combination of fast single track, rocky sections and even stairs along with a couple ascents.  You then finish on a descent till you get to the bridge to the finish, which is pretty cool.

Here is a map of the course.

The Race
I came into this race having never run the course or having even run in the area so was not sure what to expect.  Thus estimating what time to aim for was difficult and since I started off thinking it was a 50K (31 miles) and as things went on I started to hear it was closer to 33 or 34 my time goals moved out.  While I would have liked to have gone under 5:30 I was hoping to at least break 6 hours.  Again, not knowing the course makes estimating times difficult as terrain, not just vertical, can dictate time as much as anything. In looking at the topography it did appear there were some good climbs but as with most maps they do not always tell the entire story.  What I was not as ready for were the more technical descents although I should have been ready since this is in the Daniel Boone National Forest, as is the Rugged Red Half marathon, held at the north end of the forest that I ran in a couple years ago and it had the same type of terrain.

Still feeling a little tired from the Land Between the Lakes 50 (LBL50) miler 4 weeks ago I was a little unsure how the race would go so decided to just run and see how I felt.  As with the LBL50 I wanted to go out slower for the first couple miles but still stay up a little farther forward to avoid having to pass people on narrow trails.  From the start my heart rate was in the 140’s even though it did not fee that hard.  Comparing that to LBL50 where it was in the 130’s I knew things were not quote right.  That being said I just tried to stay relaxed.  Not sure what place I was in but based on my finish I was probably in the top 30, or so, thus was good as far as not having a crowded trail and it was stringing out anyway.

There were a number of river crossing and navigated them pretty well till about 10 miles where on crossing one of the  smaller crossing I stepped on a rock that was slippy and took a tumble backwards.  In falling I hit my hip, cut a couple knuckles, bruised a finger which was pretty sore and got nice and wet.  Maybe worse is my hand help water bottle strap broke and the thought of having to carry it by holding to it for 23 miles did not seem all that fun.  Fortunately the bottle had a neoprene wrap so at the next aid station I chucked the strap and just fit my hand in the neoprene and this worked for the rest of the way.  It took a few miles to get things going again and work out the kinks and in that time a number of people passed me but not as many as expected and I was able to catch up, by the end of the race, to all but about 3-4 of them.

The next bit of fun was that at about 15 miles I realized I had a blister on my left heel so stopped to adjust my sock and loosen my shoe a little.  Man I like using the Lock Laces as they adjust very easy without messing around with tying the laces.  By loosening them it seemed to help quite a bit but was still sore.  Not sure if it was how I ran or some other factor but the pain subsided some, did come back at each stream crossing but in general was able to keep going and not feel too bad.  When the blister broke at 15 miles I was not sure how the next 18 miles would go so I am thankful that it went well.

Basically from 15 miles on I just figured to keep moving along and try and keep the best pace possible and look at pushing it in the last 7-10 miles.  The problem was my watch seemed to be short on the mileage so I thought I had more to do than I did which was a little depressing with how things were going.  Once I hit the last aid station at about 26 miles I decided to start pushing on to the finish.  I then saw a trail sign that said 5 miles to the area where the race finished and looking at my watch I figured there was still a chance of a sub 6 hour race.  The problem with my calculations, which led me to think I could finish by 5:50, was I did not realize how difficult some of the descent sections were, including the infamous stairs.  Thus the closer I got to what should be the finish, hard to tell where it was, the more difficult sub 6 hours seemed.

Finally, I got to what I figured was a mile from the finish and started to push it a little more.  Then I got to where I could see the bridge to the finish but did not know how long the bridge was and my watch said 5:59 thus I started sprinting.  I mean running as fast I could and according to Strava even hit as fast as 5:15 per mile, last 0.2 miles came out to 6:13/mile, all the time trying to see the clock and all I could make out was 5:59 then something as I could tell it had not gone over to 6 hours yet so I pushed on.  I realized my clock time was a little off from the chip time as I had not crossed the start line right away but wanted to still beat the clock time to 6 hours.  I did not let up till I crossed the line to see 5:59:42, or so, which ended up being a chip time of 5:59:37.  I ended up getting 21st Overall, 18th Overall Male, and 1st in the 50-59 age division.  While not the time I had wanted all things considered it was good for the day and all the miles in the last 2 months.

Having run a 50 miler 4 weeks earlier I pretty much was going to use the same fueling plan, but for 50K (Approx 6 hrs). So here was my fueling:
  • Before the race, about 4:15 AM as race started at 7:30 but had to be there by 6:15 and had a 40 minute drive there, I had a Modified Bullet Proof Coffee – See recipe here
  • About 1 hour before the race I had three scoops of UCAN in 20oz of water, to preload some slow release carbs.
  • About 20 minutes before the race I took one Vespa CV-25
  • I carried a hand help water bottle with Tailwind’s Green Tea flavor, best flavor to me as it is not very sweet, but did not drink from it until after 2 hours
  • At 2 hours I took another Vespa CV-25
  • Then started sipping on Tailwind at about 2:15 in
  • At an aid station, about 2.5 hours, I took a 33Shake Chia Gel
  • With a long climb coming I took a Roctane Sea Slat Chocolate Gel, probably at about 3 hours
  • During the rest of run I topped of water at aide stations and a couple times added a half packet (100G) of Tailwind
  • After 4 hours I took another Vespa CV-25
  • At last aid station with 6+ miles to go I topped up water and Tailwind and had a cup of coke
  • Took last Roctane at about 5 miles to go 
  • Also took one S!Cap during race, at about 3 but probably needed to take more as it did get warm and I did get some cramping.
I think the fueling worked well as I did not feel hungry during the run or after.  Optimized Fat Metabolism (OFM) and the use of Vespa has seemed to make a great difference in the Ultras over the last two months.  I will say I was thirsty but it was getting hotter so that makes sense.  As I mentioned above I probably needed to take a couple more S!Caps since even though Tailwind has some electrolytes it was not enough.

Every race I run I hope to learn something, even after 44 years of running and this race was no different.  What I learned was that even when things do not go as planned keep moving forward as things can change.  Also, I have realized I need to temper my expectations on more technical courses and while working to descend better I might also work on going quicker on the less technical sections so as to minimize lost time on more technical ones.  Another area I know I need to work on is walking hills as for me if I walk I slow down way too much so for now I run most everything unless it is super steep.  Due to my not being able to walk hills in an efficient manner I just keep plugging along on climbs as it works best for me.

This is definitely a race I will do again, whether it is next year I am not sure as it depends on other races I may want to do but I will run it again.  In most races it is nice to know the course and Yamacraw is for sure one of those races so I think a trip back would make the race all that much better.

While I have heard that this race is good for ones first 50K I have to say – maybe.  It is for sure a beautiful course and a well-run race.   Add on to that the vertical gain is not extreme it does seem to fit into the first time race category.  But I give the “maybe” because of the technical nature of some descents.  If you are there to just experience your first 50K then this may be for you but if you are looking to race it you do need to be ready for the terrain that will be before you.  I say all this not to dissuade you but to make sure you know that this will not be a cake walk as saying a race is good for first-timers may convey.  There are for sure flatter and easier races that to me make for good first time Ultras but if you are up to a challenge, want to run a beautiful course and are not averse to work then this race may be for you. Also, if 50K is not for you they also offer a 20K and 10K.

If you think that maybe 50K is not challenging enough there is going to be another race in the area called the No Business 100.  Here is the description from the race website:

“The No Business Hundred is a 103.4 mile loop course with 11,383 feet of ascent that traverses through the heart of the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area across the state line into Tennessee and back on some of the most scenic & picturesque trails in the southeast.”

Yamacraw 50K
Race Results

Friday, April 7, 2017

Weekly RunDown #35

Races this Weekend 
Not really a race but a time trial - Nike's Sub-2 run is scheduled for May 6th - 8th

Weekly RunDown #31

Percy Cerutty
“Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer”
Percy Cerutty

In case you have not read about the Barkley Marathons from this past weekend it was full of drama and John Kelly became the 15th finisher while Garry Robbins was oh so close on his second try.  Recap of the race from Canadian Running Magazine.  News of the race finish even made Online with a story on the finish and Laz's comments as well.  To see the results of who finished what laps see below in the race results section.

A nice article on the Barkely Marathons -  Barkley Marathons 2017: Thoughts that have nothing to do with running

Nice post by Garry Robbins on the recent Barkley Marathons: Close, But no Cigarette - Class guy.

The US has a strong men's and women's team for the 2017 IAU Trail Championships June 10th in Bradia Prataglia, Italy

Great to see Yuki Kawauchi make his first National Team and be heading to London this summer for the World Championships in London.  Here is a three part interview with him:  Part 1 - Part 2  -  Part 3.  I always like hearing about Yuki as he is the working guys runner.'s This Week in Running: April 3, 2017's The Week that Was in Running

While not necessarily LCHF good to see the idea of Fat Burning getting out there more and more.  Here is Part 2 of an earlier post on the subject and here is Part 1

Got a little extra cash on hand and want to run in some interesting places, here is one option

Or how about traveling to Iceland to run one of 16 Trail Races there

Article in The Denver Post on Kara Goucher and being and Anti-Doping Whistle Blower.

As Meb gets ready to run his last Boston Marathon here is a good post at Boston by Meb - In his own words

Having been running for 44+ years it is nice to see some of the races I remember from way back still around, even if you do nto hear of them as much.  Toni Reavis writes on the Gasparilla Celebrating it's 40th Anniversary.

In cased you missed it I ran a post of an interview I did with Huw Williams who is running the Marathon Des Sables this coming week.  He is running the MDS to raise funds for Scope and you can donate at his Just Giving site.   Also if you want to follow him during the race you can do so at the MDS Live Site.  By the way this has been my most read post and glad to see so as to be able to get the word out about Huw's run.

Races this Weekend
Ragnar Trail Kentuckiana - April 7th - 8th, 2017
Yamacraw 50K - April 8th, 2017
Gorge Waterfalls 100K & 50K - April 8th, 2017
Brazos Bend 50 - April 8th, 2017
USTAF 100K Road Championships - April 8th, 2017
Rotterdam Marathon - April 9th, 2017
Marathon Des Sables - April 9th - 14th, 2017 (Travel and Pre-race briefing days are the 7th - 8th)

Race Results from Races Listed Last Week
The Barkley Marathons - March 31-April 3, 2017 - (Twitter - @BarkelyMarathon)
Umstead 100  - April 1st, 2017
American River 50 - April 1st, 2017
The Georgia Death Race - April 1st, 2017
Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon - April 1st, 2017
Carlsbad 5000 - April 2nd, 2017
Berlin 1/2 Marathon - April 2nd, 2017

Run Steep Get High from the Barkley Marathons

Latest Mountain Outhouse

So we remember that running existed before the 1970's - Here is the 1950 Empire Games Marathon

100 Miles of Istria is April 7-9, 2017 and this is the 2016 video

Not sure how many of you have seen this but here is the unedited footage of Jim Walmsley on the North Rim  during his Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim record run

The Ouray 100 2016 Documentary Trailer

Trailer for the 2016 Penyagolosa 115K Trail Race in Spain, this years race is April 22-23, 2017

Dragon's Back Race 2017 Trailer

Friday, March 31, 2017

Interview With Huw Williams Before His 2017 Marathon Des Sables Run

In a few days Huw Williams will be running the Marathon Des Sables (MDS) in Morocco; April 9th– 14th, 2017.  It is a six day 251KM (156 Mile) ultramarathon run through the Sahara Desert.  Over the last few months I have had conversations, via Facebook, with Huw as he is running to raise funds for Scope via Just Giving.  I figured it would be good to ask him some questions and also let others know of what he is doing so they can contribute as well.

Tell us a little about yourself:
I am from Pwllheli on the Llyn Peninsular in North Wales UK.  I am married to my very understanding wife Carys and have 2 great kids Gwion and Cadi and a nut job of a Dog called izzy. We live on a farm and I work as a business development manager as well as being the race director for the Pen Llyn Ultra; a 75 mile Ultramarathon in Pwllheli July 29th, 2017.

How long have you been running, how did you get started, what led you to choose running over other sports or endeavors?
I’ve been running distance now since my first Marathon in 2014. I am a keen sailor so the shift to run a majority of my spare weekends happened I would say 9 months ago when I signed up for the Marathon Des Sables last year.  This led to committing myself to running races on the weekends rather than sailing.  What I enjoy about running is you are telling yourself what to do, you are 100% accountable.  I love the freedom and also the friendship with the running community no matter what peoples capabilities are

How long have you been running ultras?
Although I have been running over the marathon distance for a couple of years my first official one was the Eryri Ultra in 2016 (58Miles through the Snowdonia region of north wales)

What is the longest you have run so far?
The longest I have ran in miles at one go is 58miles which took 18hours

I first met you on FB in the Maffetone Group – what led you there?
Yes, and great group!  Being a running geek I had heard last year a few guys talking about the MAF Method and being fat adapted.  In January I was running back to back marathon distances at the weekend and I was fatiguing early on and getting a swollen belly.  I made the decision that I needed to commit to my nutrition as much, if not more, than my fitness.  So I searched on Facebook and found it then started the 2 Week diet.

How has the MAF training been going?
It’s been very liberating!  The 2 Week diet worked so well and I was on a tiny amount of carbs afterwards.  The nutrition side of it really suits me as pasta, bread and potatoes make me swell and I didn’t really eat a lot of them before.  Training at a lower heart rate was all about control in the start, however as I am into Ultra Running and Marathons the pace suits me and the recovery is instant.  Running fasted works and listening to my body and understanding that I’m thinking I am hungry rather than being hungry

Are you doing  anything specific with regards to diet?
Yes breakfasts are either a bullet coffee (Black, coconut oil and butter) or Bacon, avocado and egg.  Lunches are nuts, chicken and salad and evening meals are mainly veg and meat, oh and cheese!

What led you to decide to run Marathon Des Sables (MDS) as a way to raise money for SCOPE?
Now then!

The Welsh Football coach said “Don’t be afraid to dream” so I contacted Scope to run this year and they said unfortunately all the places had gone but to put my name down for 2018, I said that I would be more than happy as a replacement should anyone become injured or pull out and a few weeks later they called to say a place had become available.  If I wouldn’t have asked about being a replacement in the first instance then I might have still been offered a place but who knows - it goes to show you have to keep chipping away at things even if its just and email, extra mile or half an hour less in bed!

Before my dad retired he was head of the North Wales social services and I have always felt humbled having an able mind and body so Scope was the first choice charity to raise funds for.  We are so lucky to have working vessels that we move and live in and so many people disable themselves through television and lifestyle choices

What sort of training have you been doing to get ready of MDS?
I’ve been averaging 100k a week made up mostly off road with 2 back to backs at the weekend and a few midnight runs for the long day practice.  I have also done weights for core strength as well as yoga and now walking with a sauna suit, hot baths and layers of clothing to get ready for the heat!

Are you ready for the race that is coming up in a few days, any fears?
Yes very ready. The taper time makes you excited and exhausted at the same time! A bit like Christmas!

Fears? Yes loads but I’m pivoting my thoughts away from them as they have no benefit to me when I’m out there.  As the jungle tribes men of Borneo said “Fear is a disease” and I have no intention of catching it!

How are you fueling for MDS?
I’m going away from MAF a bit for this as with freeze dried food I am taking they have Carbs and the REGO recovery has sugars.  I’m also taking back up gels but have nuts, cheese, pepperoni and biltong to snack on.

That should give you a little more information about Huw and I encourage you to follow his trek through the Sahara Desert.  You can follow it at the Official MDS site or you can also follow entires from the UK & Ireland at their own site.

Also, I would ask that you consider contributing the cause he is running for and you can do that on Huw's Scope Just Giving page.

Update April 5th, 2017 :  To follow Huw during the race you can go to the Live MDS Site

To give you an idea about the race here are a couple videos:

MDS 2017 Teaser Video

MDS 2016 Video

The Discovery Channels Toughest Race on Earth with James Cracknell