It’s Friday, May 4. National Celiac Disease Awareness Month has been in full swing for four days, and tomorrow—Saturday—is Cinco de Mayo. The number 5 is significant tomorrow for another reason: I’m racing in my second major ultramarathon of the season, and the distance happens to be a multiple of 5 … it’s a 50-mile trail running race.
The race is the Bear Mountain edition of The North Face Endurance Challenge Series. Bear Mountain is the first of six major races taking place across the country this season, and it’s known as the most challenging of the group. In the course of the last month, I’ve had occasion to pre-run about 2/3 of the route during training sessions. It covers some beautiful country in Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks in the Hudson Highlands, a surprisingly rugged mountain range halfway between New York City and where we live in the Hudson Valley.
The 50-mile race is the marquee distance of a weekend that also includes 50k, marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k races. The route ascends a burly 7,000 vertical feet of elevation gain over the course of the 50-mile length, including at least one brief stretch so steep and rocky that I had to use my hands to scramble up it a few short weeks ago.
The race starts at 5:00am, which means we’ll wake at 2:30am and be in the car and on the road at 3:00am. My goal is to finish in under 10 hours. Based on last year’s race—for which I was registered but spent hooked up to an IV in the hospital with tick-borne ehrlichiosis—my target of a sub-10-hour time would be good for a top 20 finish out of 200+ racers.
If you want to follow my progress in the race, there are several options:
1. If you’re personal friends with me on Facebook, my status will update in real time as I pass through race checkpoints.
2. If not (and this will be most of you, I suspect), follow me on Twitter. Kelli will tweet race status updates throughout the day as I pass through each support-crew-accessible aid station. (A handful of aid stations are for race staff only…)
3. Otherwise, check back here on No Gluten, No Problem next week, when I’ll post a full race report!
This race is also part of the 2012 prelude to the 3rd Annual Gluten-Free Ultramarathon Challenge, which raises money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. The main event is the Virgil Crest Ultramarathon at the end of September—it covers 50 trail miles with 10,000 vertical feet of elevation gain.
I’m proud to report that we’re already 35% of the way toward my goal of raising $5,000. Thank you to everyone who has donated and shown your support! On behalf of the NFCA, I sincerely appreciate it!
I’ll announce the winners of the April book giveaway on Monday. Remember: each month I’m giving away one signed copy of one of my books (your choice!) to a donor to the GF Ultra Challenge. This time around, I’m giving away a second book in honor of the Bear Mountain race. And if I succeed in cracking the top 10% in the race results, I’ll give away a third book!
Finally, I thought I’d share my gluten-free race nutrition plan for tomorrow’s event. Here’s how my food and hydration will break down:
Whole grain brown rice pasta, with turkey bolgnese, and lots of water to drink
Breakfast Tomorrow Morning
A banana, blueberry, chia smoothie, plus a bowl of Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise gluten-free cereal with homemade almond milk
During the Race
First Endurance Electrolyte Fuel System for hydration (and some nutrition)
GU energy gels
Homemade GF banana muffins
GF chocolate chip cookies
Apple slices with peanut butter
Bacon (yes, bacon … for salt and fat … seriously)
For Recovery Immediately Following the Race
First Endurance Ultragen
Fanta soda (one of the only times you’ll see me with a drink like this…)
See you on the flip side of the race. Wish me luck!