Author Topic: FFF – Flatlander, First timer, Finisher of PPA, thoughts  (Read 678 times)

epictetus

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FFF – Flatlander, First timer, Finisher of PPA, thoughts
« on: November 25, 2019, 09:17:25 AM »
I thought I’d make a post (my first), to share my experiences as a FFF, since I gained so much good advise on these forums to train and prepare.

My situation: I live in a flat state, where my running routes typically was between 200 – 900ft elevation, a far cry from the 7000 – 14,000ft of the event.  I only ran two half marathons in my life, one in CO (was flat but at 6500ft) at 2:27 in 2017, so didn’t qualify, then another in my home state at 2:09 in 2018.  I have a chronic knee injury that prevents me from training too hard/long, so mileage was minimal (for the halfs usually 10- 15 a week).

My training: I took advise from these forums and youtube videos to train on treadmills at high % gradients to help replicate the near constant uphill nature of this race.  I started training in January specifically for this race, and on average only twice a week.  Each training session was 40 – 100 minutes, between 10-15% grade, always at 3mph (20min/mile).  Rarely, I did a third day, between 20 -40 minutes on a stair climbing (the escalator type).

Nutrition: Day before was normal, no carb loading, just my typical 3 meals.  I woke up at 4:45am, and between then and race start, had two bananas, two yogurts, some electrolyte beverage, and 2 Excedrin.  During race, I drank water and electrolyte beverages, and only at Cliff Blocks energy chews (one chew basically every mile, so two packs of 6), and another Excedrin.

Gear: I wore shorts/tshirt, hat, belt pack with two water containers.  I’m from an extremely cold state, so did not worry/care about the peak being cold and windy, and had no issues being up there two hours after the race outside (cheering on other runners, and talking with runners).

The race: The first mile I ran, and was about a 12 minute pace, then got the trail and fast hiked the rest.  I never “pushed” myself hard until the last 2 miles, which I picked up the pace to finish on time.  I did finish with a time right under 6:20.  I greatly enjoyed the race since I didn’t go too hard early, and actually finished with a smile and energy in the tank.

Final thoughts: I definitely will be doing the PPA again, possibly the PPM but not sure if it would trash my knee for good.  Going up is fine on my knee, down is a different story.  I’m training the exact same way for next years event.  Literally not going to change a thing.  Going for finish, rather than PR made the race actually fun, which I haven’t experienced in the last 25 years of running, so that I loved.  Training on incline is a MUST.  I was around some CO natives, one a multiple time PPA finisher, another a two time Leadville 100 finisher, but neither finished.  Both had ankle/calf cramping from not training going up hill constantly. 

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to address them!  Lastly, have fun, you can do it!
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 09:21:45 AM by epictetus »

dnavarro927

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Re: FFF – Flatlander, First timer, Finisher of PPA, thoughts
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2020, 02:31:55 PM »
This is great, thanks for sharing.

I'll be giving the PPA a go this year, so this information is helpful.  I am a Chicagoan, so obviously pretty flat over here, but none the less my goal will be to finish under 5 hours (4:59:59).  And yup...I know it's a lofty goal, so we'll see.

My half marathon time is 1:37 with about a solid five weeks of training.  Prior to that, I already had a good level of fitness...in previoius 5k, 10k and triathlons, would finish in the top 10%.  Now, saying all that, I know racing at elevation will completely flip the script and quite rudely slap me in the face with some good ol oxygen deprivation...can't wait, ha!

I've looked at last years times, specifically the people form the flat land states that finished under the cut-off:
Fastest: 3:00:13
Slowest: 6:29:48
Average:5:14:43

The clear training method I've found is to embrace the treadmill at full incline.  Aside from that I have a couple hills roughly 250 to 500 meters in length.  Would it be at all beneficial to tackle that with a weighted vest (20 - 40lbs)?  Doing it X amount of times, maybe mixing in running after every 5 climbs for example?  Just trying to think what else can be done to compliment the treadmill work.  Stairs?

As of today, I have a decent base where I can comfortably run 4-5 miles @7:45 pace over small rolling hills.  Seeing that I live in a flat area, should keep building that base (a.k.a. mileage) work with straight road/trail/treadmill running to build cardio?  Or does that not matter with an event like this?
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 09:41:06 PM by dnavarro927 »

Jasper

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Re: FFF – Flatlander, First timer, Finisher of PPA, thoughts
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2020, 05:44:56 PM »
Nice going epictetus, sounds perfect.

Do check the Cutoffs this year, the page is updated.
https://www.pikespeakmarathon.org/Rules.shtml

The 1:40 Cutoff at No Name Creek for both Runs is a ~5:40 Ascent pace, so you may need to be faster to No Name than you were last year (and unless it is changed it will predictably catch a LOT of people off guard who simply won't have known, and who will complain bitterly of the conga line in the W's prevented them from going faster).
The 3:10 cutoff at Barr Camp is actually slower than before, and is a 6:15 pace, so you can see it's all over the map.
Keep Up the Good Work!

And dnavarro927
IDK about weights. I'd just say start at 1-2hour 11% Treadmill on weekends now, go to 2Hours late in March and into April, 3hour in May/June, and 4 hours on Treadmill, at a combo of 11% and 15% in July into August.

There have been some 'Treadmill Equivalents' of the Ascent, posted on this site over the last 15 years... click on my name and 'Send PM' and I'll send them to you in a Zip File.

Once you've done 4 Hours a few times on Treadmill at 11% and 15%, you KNOW you're as ready as you can be coming from even Sea Level. Just load those drinks into a 6-pack bottle holder you keep close, and bring a nice big towel!

John Garner

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Re: FFF – Flatlander, First timer, Finisher of PPA, thoughts
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2020, 06:42:20 PM »
The 1:40 Cutoff at No Name Creek for both Runs is a ~5:40 Ascent pace, so you may need to be faster to No Name than you were last year (and unless it is changed it will predictably catch a LOT of people off guard who simply won't have known, and who will complain bitterly of the conga line in the W's prevented them from going faster).
The 3:10 cutoff at Barr Camp is actually slower than before, and is a 6:15 pace, so you can see it's all over the map.

Side note: The cutoffs were based on the last few years of results. We found that the number of folks who got to NoName after 1:40 and made it to the summit under 6:30 were outnumbered 10:1 by the folks who failed. Matt's pace calculator is based on a runner who can, well, run to the summit and not drop any time above treeline because they did the requisite training up there. For 99% of the runners it tends to overestimate the time to get to the earlier splits and underestimate the time for the subsequent ones.  For power hikers it is way off at the start as most will at least run to Ruxton or even Hydro, cutting 8-12 minutes off of the anticipated NoName split for their eventual pace. The flip side of this is why the upper cutoffs actually went a bit longer than before.

--john

dnavarro927

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Re: FFF – Flatlander, First timer, Finisher of PPA, thoughts
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2020, 08:28:46 AM »
So as I start training for PPA, a few quick things I am noticing.
- Calves, achilles and hip flexors get super tight
- One thing I wasn't even thinking of was how my lower back got sore as time went on.  Will definitely have to incorporate core and back exercises