By: Roel C. Manalastas
My conversation with a dear friend years ago pertains to some gifted individuals who are able to run a 30, 50 and 100-miler. I never knew that one day I’d be on the same field.
Summer heat and freezing cold winters means that year-round training for an ultra race can be challenging both mentally and physically. Our training environment could be the mountains or the desert. Sometimes you’re alone and unsupported during long training runs. The positive part of it is, we’re able to do and enjoy what other people would just dream of.
One of the races that I would love to set foot on again is the UROC (Ultra Race of Champions). Two years ago, I hit the hills and trails at Auburn, CA. My pace during the early stages of the race was easy, dealing with some manageable steady ascends while preserving my energy for the entire duration of the course until we reached “cardiac hill,” where my quads and calves started tightening up and eventually turned into full-blown cramping! Loading salt and electrolytes didn’t do any good, but I still managed to get to the finish, albeit longer than I had anticipated prior to cramping.
Then came last year’s Joshua Tree Ultra 100-Miler. It was the last week of summer at the high desert of Twentynine Palms, CA. As this was only my second time running in the desert, I didn’t expect that the heat could drastically go up to 90 and 100 degrees that day. Cramping hit me as early as mile 25 and it was a struggle from then on. One of my running buddies, who was also competing in the 100-miler, noticed salt on my face, arms and chest. I was losing electrolytes faster than anyone else. At that time, I wasn’t feeling my best. Each mile became a struggle and I became less competitive in each succeeding hour. Neither salt nor food – not even pickle juice -- could remedy my situation as my body was having a hard time on processing and getting the nutrients to my system. Since my running form was already messed up (running through pain), mile 40 became my deciding point as an old injury suddenly emerges out of the blue (IT band Syndrome). I knew at that point that I would not make it to 100 miles in the 30-hour cutoff but my heart and will would hang on at least to make to 50 miles before dropping out.
Last March, however, was a different story. HOTSHOT was given to us via IRUN4ULTRA, where I am a brand ambassador, to try during the race. The 2017 Barn Burner 12 Hour race was the beginning of HOPE, DRIVE and ENTHUSIAM to run with CONFIDENCE and using HOTSHOT would make cramping a the thing of the past! Finishing the 50-Miler in 10:35:12 and placing 8th overall was motivating enough knowing that chronic cramping would end.
Next stop will be the Santa Barbara 100 this July. With HOTSHOT on my side, I am STOKED on getting it started!
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