Spartathlon
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Spartathlon

4. Lessons Learnt

Note to self

This is not a race report, but a write up with some takeaways from this years run. To be discussed and reviewed.

  • Official time: 28:56:39.
  • 16th men / 19th total out of 374 started.
  • Degrees: 36 Celcius at maximum

What worked out great?

  • Heat management: Neck cooler from T8 worked out perfectly. At the hotest part of the day, I stopped at every CP to refill the neck cooler with ice. Also very happy with the Bob hat from Salomon, the singlet, and armsleeve. And the fact that all this worked fine and I felt never overheated at day 1.
  • Head adaptation training. Very happy with my heat training. For the last months I have been sitting 45 minutes in my infra red sauna. The heat was not the issue, but the stiff upper thigh from start.
  • Runing gear: Injini socks, Altra Vanish Carbon, T8 shorts, T8 underpants, singlet. No issues with any of the gear
  • Race plan first half: My plan worked out fine. I slowed down the pace from 7am to 7pm to avoid the hottest part of the day. Focus from that part was to be good at eating, drinking, taking in electrolytes, and conserve energy. That worked out well.
  • Massage: I made use of the massage options four times. I think that helped me out that day.
  • Strecthing: Due to my unusual and extramly stiff upper thigh from the gecko, I did some streching to losen up a bit.
  • Dropbags: I worked out OK to not have support, and only make use of dropbags.
  • Writing down CP with dropbags at the backside of bib was smart
  • Himalya salt and Saltsticks worked ok
  • One pair of shoe and socks. No need to change.
  • Having family / kids with me was positive.

What can I improve?

  • Handheld softflask: For next race, include soft flask 25 ml with large openings for ice cubes. Spend less time at aidstations.
  • Head lamp: Always have a backup headlamp (a second Petzl Swift RL). (I was afraid of going our of battery).
  • Travel down to Greece earlier: This time we arrived late at Wednesday for the Friday morning race. Need to get in place at least a week before so that I get used to the local “bacterias”.
  • Add many more dropdags just in case. Things can happen. Plan for the unexpected
  • Make sure that you have a dropbag for the when the sun comes up (suncream, t-shirt etc.), and if you are behind schedule.
  • Avoid heavy training (and training race) two weeks race
  • Focus on rest, massage, sleep floating two week prior to the race
  • Food! I still have not yet figured this out. I tried to avoid sugery drinks like coca cola. And from tables I was only eating potato chips (very litle), raisins, peanuts. Had one bowl with rice at 80 kilomters. At Ancient Nemea I had a dry food (filled with hot water) of vegan risotto. I was in good shape after Ancient Nemea. (See below * for what I eat).
  • Always have some toilet paper in the “race belt”.
  • Add gpx route to watch just in case? I had some moments where I thought I had wrong way.
  • Tired. Add in caffeine pills?
  • Use magnesium balm
  • Try out nutrition drinks from Pharmacy?
  • Hand disinfection? Bacteria from checkpoints?
  • My energy lasted only for 100 kilometres or so. After that I was getting difficult.
  • More weight training. Need more power.

(*) Eat/Drink

From race belt:

  • Himalya salt
  • Saltsticks (electrolyte pills)

From checkpoints:

  • Water with ice
  • Raisins
  • Potato chips (salt)
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Orange juice (one cup)
  • Herb tea with sugar (one cup)
  • Cooked white rice with green beans and corrots (at 80 km)

From dropbags:

  • Dry Risotto (filled with boiled water) (at 128 km). Half portion.
  • Dry Thai red curry (filled with boiled water) (at 170 km). Just a few spoons.
  • Oatly Chocolate oat milk (at 80 km, 128)
  • Fishermen Friend (snacks)(one pcs)
  • Mentos (snacks) (five pcs)

— — — —

Race started at 06:45 September 30th. I was getting nauseous around 20:00–21:00. Tried to use the fingers for vomiting, but did not work. At early morning at October 1st, I was finally vomiting. Twice — and then a third and fourth time using my fingers. What was coming up included the rice which I had eaten more about 24 hours ago. It seems that none of the food had been “pushed down into the system” after the race started.

It seems that due to the heat, stress, activity, whatever — I had not been able to digest the food. Every item I added into the system were just stacked on each other.

I need to figure out why, and if I should do another approach. E.g. just stick to light fluid nutrition drinks — and not the mix of various real food.

At the end, only ice cold water worked out. (I had the same experience in the 2021 race — with the result that you are getting to low on energy and are not able to function).

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