Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 4

Cocodona 250 Arizona 2021 Race Across The Desert

It’s been two weeks and last week alone felt like a month so it may be almost 6 weeks since my last blog post about training for Cocodona 250? It’s hard to keep track these days, especially with everything going on outside of the ultra / trail world. I hope this blog post helps you get away from the anxiety and stress of COVID and the Presidential election and aftermath.

If you want to get caught up then you can click the links for Volumes 1, 2, 3

Let’s Get Into What Has Transpired In The Last Two Weeks

I had another idea of what I was going to write in this space but then I received an interview request that was asking about setting goals. A day after that I listened to The Trail Life podcast Episode 8 and the conversation was about goals and going after them. Finally, while listening to the podcast The Social Run Episode 31, I knew that I wanted to tell the world my goal for Cocodona 250.

Let me preface this by saying that I had an idea, a few months ago, about this goal and shared it with Greg and Jen. I laughed at myself, so they didn’t have to, because it just seemed so absurd. Without knowing anything about the course or about training for this event, the goal was just kinda slapped onto a text message.

Here is the thing about me and goals. Once I’ve established it in my mind then I can’t let it go. It just sits there and gnaws at me as I train, as I sleep, as I eat and even as I execute on race day. I’m not afraid of going after what some would deem as ridiculous when it comes to goals because failure is not the end. For me, failure is the beginning of the process to getting to that goal. If I succeed on the first try, then the goal was too easy and I will need to go back after it.

Here are some examples of me setting goals and where I’ve fallen on them:

  • Going under 20 hours at Rocky Raccoon in my first attempt on that course in 2015. Finish Time: 19:22
  • Going under 19 hours at Rocky Raccoon in each attempt since then:
    • 2016: 20:23:32
    • 2017: 19:11:36
    • 2018: 19:21:30
    • 2019: 21:59:00
  • Going under 11 hours at an Ironman after an 11:00:50 at Ironman Chattanooga in 2014. Results of each attempt since then:
    • 2015: Ironman Florida – 11:27:26 (First Sub-4 Hour Ironman Marathon)
    • 2016: Ironman Louisville – 11:22::12
    • 2017: Ironman Maryland – 11:35:27
    • 2018: Ironman Chattanooga – 10:31:00 (No Swim and probably would have been near 11:30)
    • 2019: Ironman Wisconsin – DNF
  • Western States 2019 Goal: Sub-24. Actual Time: 26:36:53
  • Black Canyon 100k 2020 Goal: Sub-12. Actual Time: 11:57:27

Putting myself out there isn’t new, failing isn’t new, and these just out of reach goals allow me to be a better athlete during training and especially during racing as I chase those numbers.

With that being said, I updated my Training Peaks account with Cocodona 250 as a race and with a goal. What’s that goal? 80 Hours.

My original text message to Greg and Jen said that I think we can finish this in 72 hours. 100 miles in 24 hours + 4 hour nap + 100 miles in 28 hours + 4 hour nap + 50 miles in 12 hours = 72 Hours. After seeing the winning finishing times at Moab of 61 and 63 hours I decided to check on the elevation profiles of each. Cocodona has about 10,000 more feet of climbing than Moab and is 10 miles longer so I pushed my 72 hours to 80 hours. Can this happen? No Fucking Clue, but you can put every dollar you own on the fact that I’ll go #AllGas #NoBrakes chasing that time during the event.

Cocodona 250 Jason Bahamundi Goals

Now That We Know Your Goal, What Has Training Looked Like?

The first official week went very well. As you can see from the image below, I was spot on when it comes to time spent training as well as hitting the TSS score I had planned. The combination of bike work, hill repeats, trail running, speed work and swimming was awesome. I will add in that I also took naps on Saturday and Sunday which helped facilitate my recovery for this upcoming week.

The upcoming week looks very similar in terms of the plan, but I am adding in a weight vest hike post bike ride as well as bringing back the Man-Maker. This workout is a beast and when you are done, the idea of curling up in a ball and crying then napping is welcomed!!!

Training Peaks Jason Bahamundi Weekly Training Plan for Cocodona 250

Conclusion

Last week I was able to solidify the team that will help me across the finish line (or at least not die!) and that has been a huge relief. These last two weeks have given me the opportunity to set a goal and develop the plan that is going to get me there. With November 1/3rd over, I can say that I feel like I am in a good spot. Our Team Dirt and Crew will be heading to Huntsville State Park for some Rocky Raccoon training, and there is another opportunity (in a couple of weeks) for me to test fitness and gauge how the plan is progressing.

I am also starting to get more serious about registering and booking accommodations for races in early 2021 as a setup for Cocodona.

So, until the next time I post……Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to ask me questions because they will help me formulate my plan.

Happy Trail Running….Find Your Dirt and Your Vert

Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 3

Cocodona 250 Aravaipa Running Heart of Arizona Footrace

Two weeks or so ago, I posted Volume 2 of Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line and a few things have happened in those two weeks that it felt like the right time to post Volume 3.  Before you get started on Volume 3, and want to read Volume 1 and 2, click the link and then come back. For those of you that are just finding this blog series, the backstory is that Greg and I are running/racing Cocodona 250 in May of 2021 and this is a way to track my progress toward that finish line.

Thanks For The Links To Vol 1 & 2, Now Give Me New Info

Crew Chief and Pacers Are Starting To Line Up

Crew Chief – Maria Simone of No Limits Endurance Coaching

Maria will be my crew chief for this race and we have a long history together. Maria and I go back to 2012 when she coached me for my third Ironman at Ironman Texas in 2013. Since those days, Maria has remained a great friend of mine and somebody that I always look to for inspiration, laughter, motivation and insight. The reason that I had Maria as my number 1 draft prospect for this event is her experience at Tahoe 200 and how invaluable it will be to me during the lead up and in the moment of the event. I was also sold on our ability to work together in the toughest of times when I paced her at Rocky Raccoon earlier in 2020. We spent nearly 7 hours on the trail that night and we laughed the entire time. When things get tough, and they will, you will want to have people around you that will cheer you up but also smack you into reality and get you going again. Maria will be that person for me.

Pacer / Crew – Ashley Durstine

You may have seen Ashley’s name pop up in association with Team Dirt and Vert on this site as well as on social media. Ashley is our Group Lead in Phoenix Arizona and will be leading runs out there on Wednesday and Saturday. I was following Ashley on Instagram and all of her photos are of the White Tank Mountains or of Skyline Regional Park and they are always just so gorgeous. Over time, I’ve seen her ability to run and climb in the type of terrain that Cocodona will be run on and it just made sense for me to ask her to be a part of this adventure. Having somebody with experience and understanding of where I’ll be running will prove to be invaluable.

Pacer / Crew – Courtney Schwartz

If you can have somebody who lives in Idaho and has an ultra-running resume like she does, why wouldn’t you ask her to be a part of your team? Courtney lives in the mountains and runs up and down them (with her good dog Rush!!) and has an immense amount of experience that I will lean on during race week. Her knowledge of wind and different types of weather at the top of a mountain versus in the canyon will be helpful and her joy will be welcome when the moment comes, and it will come, when I am overly tired, overly hungry, snarky and just ready to tell everybody to fuck right on off.

Pacer / Crew – Michelle ‘Drum’ Blackard

Where do I begin? I met Michelle back in 2012 when we trained together for Ironman Arizona. 2 years later we trained for and raced Ironman Chattanooga. From those days in 2012 to now I have always looked to Michelle for inspiration and motivation as she goes from Ironman to Ultra Trail Runner to Mountain Biker. She moves through these sports with grace and with a passion for success. Michelle is also one of the most organized persons I know and that is going to be valuable as we make our way from Black Canyon City to Flagstaff. Having shared many laughs with Michelle over the years, I know that when the going is horrible she will get me to smile and laugh.

To the four of you, Thank You. You do not know what a relief it is to have this part of the race complete. It may not seem like much, but asking people to give up a week (or more) of their life to join me on an adventure through Arizona was stressful. This isn’t asking somebody to pace you for 5-7 hours on a trail and then get home within a day. This is asking somebody to give up time with family, friends, work and wait on you hand and foot (literally!) I cannot be more excited about this team as each brings with them a different perspective and experience that will prove to be invaluable during race week.

How Is Training Going?

Glad you asked. It is unofficially starting this week, and officially starting next week. October 1st was to be the day I started but I didn’t and then last week I had a lot of stress about life and I decided starting a training plan under those circumstances didn’t make sense. I wrote my first official week out and put it into Training Peaks with a November 1st start date. On Monday October 26th, I woke up with a green whoop recovery score, following three straight days of red, and that was very uplifting. I decided that I can start an unofficial plan during this week and allow that to flow into next week. In addition to that, Team Dirt and Vert is hosting a Halloween Night Run at Erwin Park and that’ll be a great way to kickstart this training plan.

Training Ideas? Have You Formulated Those Yet?

Yes, my goal is to be the strongest version of me when we start on May 3rd. This means that in addition to running, there will be a lot of hill repeats with different focuses. One day will be running uphill and not crushing myself downhill while others will be easy on the uphills and smashing myself on the downhills. I will be adding in running/hiking with my pack on to simulate those days out on the course when that pack will feel like it weighs 100 lbs. The Man-Maker on the treadmill will make a come back as will weight vest hikes on the treadmill followed by swims.

What I will not be doing is sleep deprivation training. I have not done that in any of the 100 mile training cycles I have done and find it hard to wrap my mind around. I am a big believer in consistency in training and recovery. Interrupting sleep patterns and causing inconsistencies in training doesn’t make much sense to me. Since I’ll be having a rolling aid station and pacers the need to train while sleep deprived and increasing my ability to get injured doesn’t make much sense

Are You Planning To Race Prior to May 3rd?

Simply put, YES. I am also planning on pacing.

Anything Else You Want To Share With Us?

In my last post, I mentioned getting another Inside Tracker test done. The results have come back and I have a few tweaks I need to make to my diet, and have already begun that process. I have increased my consumption of soy along with a bigger breakfast to get Iron, Vitamin B and Vitamin D into my system. I have also ordered AltRed as beets were a suggested food that I eat to help with my biomarkers. My morning and afternoon smoothies now incorporate beet juice, tart cherry juice. I’ll use AltRed on big training days.

I listened to my boy Hector Rodriguez on The Trail Life Podcast and it got me fired up for Coco250. Hector recently completed the Moab 240 and is in the lottery for Tahoe 200. Listening to him speak with excitement about racing, and the grind to the finish line and insight into racing this distance was awesome. I’ll be bookmarking this episode and listening over and over again because it’s down to earth with insight from a person who is not sugar coating the truth of the adventure and accomplishment.

Conclusion

This adventure is starting to take shape and I am excited for what is going to happen over the course of the next few months. There will be lots of thrills and excitement as well as downs and fuck this, I don’t want to train anymore. It’s all in a training cycle and especially for something like this where I have no idea where I’m headed but I’m certainly going to get there.

So, until the next time I post……Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to ask me questions because they will help me formulate my plan.

Happy Trail Running….Find Your Dirt and Your Vert

Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 2

Meandering Purposely To The Finish Line Jason Bahamundi Cocodona 250

It’s been nearly two weeks since I posted Volume 1 of the Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line and this felt like the right time to write another blog post as I meander my way to the finish line of Cocodona 250 in May 2021. With 8 months to go before race day things are still very much up in the air with regards to training plans and crew/pacer plans but things are also starting to formulate in my mind about who/what/when/where/how. You may have just said: What about why? The why was decided way back when I pressed register so that question has been answered.

That’s Great, But Did You Tell Us Your Why?

I did not tell you my why when I wrote the first blog post so now is as good a time as any to tell you my why. The first and simplest answer is: Why Not? Why not run 250 miles across the heart of Arizona? Why not test my limits and see how well I do? Why not seek the euphoria of crossing the finish line? Why not seek the despair and brink of failure, for there is where I’ll find my next success?

It’s all of those things and more. I remember when I signed up for my first 50 mile race and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll race a 100. I remember registering for my first 100 and finishing that race and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll ever do that again. I remember seeing Maria Simone of No Limits Endurance Coaching and my former coach go around Lake Tahoe during Tahoe 200 and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll ever race a 200. I remember seeing Sean Nakamura tackle the Grand Slam of 200’s and thinking: Not a fucking chance I’ll ever do that.

Then the competitor in me started saying: Why not you? And I pressed register on the 100 mile race then the next 100 mile race and 8 belt buckles later I am registered for the 250 mile adventure.

It’s competition with myself about finding what’s next. It’s competition with myself about finding the edge of my ability. It’s competition with myself to say: Failure is a possibility, but I won’t fail.

What Are Your Next Steps In This Meandering Plan Of Yours?

My next step is on deciding what the pace/crew team is going to look like. I’ve got a few names that I’ve written down and will be reaching out in the next week or so. Pacing and crewing  a 100 race is a huge ask but that is typically a 1-2 day request. This could be upwards of 5 days of work plus a few days before and after for recreation. This is going to be the biggest request I make and I want to make sure that the team is compatible with me during the down times because hanging out and laughing with me will be easy during the good times. It’s when I want to take a dirt nap, when I want to tell the world to fuck off, when I want to sleep for more than 4 hours that this crew is going to need to know how to manipulate me into getting my ass going again.

If your phone rings and my name shows up, just know that I am asking you because I think you’re the PERFECT fit for me and this adventure but don’t feel obligated to answer right away or having to say yes.

Training Ideas? Have You Formulated Those Yet?

Not completely. Yesterday, during the Team Dirt and Vert StruggleBus Sunday run I decided that I was going to chase a PR on the TD&V New Big Loop Strava segment. I think I decided to do this as a baseline test for my fitness heading into an official training plan. After the run while Jen and Greg and I were chatting we figured that now is the time to include Trail Fartleks into our Sunday run. Jen will be heading to Bandera in January and with the flat and very runable segments there she’ll be working on speed and since I don’t do track workouts this will also be my speed workout for the week.

I am still swimming my way across Lake Tahoe in the #AmazeRaceSwim that I am hosting on Instagram. This is helping me keep my goal of 6,000 yards per week and aid in recovery. I am also still riding my bike and have decided that even when the weather gets cold I’ll put the bike on the trainer and keep that component going as well. Riding my bike will also be a huge benefit for recovery from the runs and addition of strength training to the plan.

Anything Else You Want To Share With Us?

Yes, as a matter of fact there are two things that I want to share with you.

1- I am going to get another Inside Tracker test done. I participated in the study when I went to Western States in 2019 and it was a benefit. It showed me that despite my consumption of mushrooms and spending hours upon hours in the sun that my Vitamin D was still low as well as my iron levels. I have taken a more conscious approach to getting Vitamin D and Iron supplements into my diet, but I am also interested in the other biomarkers since it’s been a year and a whole lot can change.

2- I have become and ambassador for Rbar Energy. I was introduced to the product by Ashley and was invited to join the team. After tasting the first couple of samples I knew that this was the direction I wanted to go in because the taste was fantastic. The ingredient list is minimal (think 3-7 ingredients) and they are plant-based. This weekend, instead of the usual bowl of granola 2 hours before a long day of riding and running, I went with Rbar. On Saturday, I tested out the Cranberry Cashew and on Sunday, I went with Chocolate Peanut Butter. Both were excellent tasting and I was satisfied with my performance on both days. Best part, is that I have a 20% discount code for you to use. Go shopping and use code: JBAHA and save 20%.

Conclusion

This plan is still a work in progress but little pieces are coming together. Like anything else in life, it’s the little things that amount to big things. Right now, my stress and anxiety is about the pacing/crewing component of this process and I have a solid idea of how I want this to unfold and soon that will be behind me and the focus can turn to the core, balance, stretching, strength, run, ride, swim planning and executing.

So, until the next time I post……Thank you for reading and please do not hesitate to ask me questions because they will help me formulate my plan.

Happy Trail Running….Find Your Dirt and Your Vert

Meandering…Purposely Toward The Finish Line Vol 1

Meandering Purposely To The Finish Line Jason Bahamundi Cocodona 250

When I registered for the Aravaipa Racing Cocodona 250, I thought about how I want to remember this race/event. It would be easy to post pics to Instagram and talk about it on Twitter, but that didn’t seem like enough. I wanted it to be more than just that. I wanted to be able to reflect on the journey whenever I wanted and smile, laugh, cry or all three at the same time. Back in the day, I used to blog on the Cook Train Eat Race site but closed that down because blogging became more work than I wanted. Now, I sit here thinking about chronicling this journey through blogging and it feels right.

I won’t be posting any sort of training specific workouts, unless it fits into a bigger narrative for the week, month, goal. That means, you will not see: Ran 5 miles at XX:XX/mi pace and it felt shitty. What you will see is, ran 35 miles this week and the entire time I envisioned how fucking cold it’s going to be in the mountains when we get closer to Flagstaff and trying to make sure that my mind is prepared for that……or something similar.

With that brief intro into what this space is going to be used for, let’s dive in a bit.

Why this title for this series?

This was something I thought of on my drive to the Team Dirt and Vert #StruggleBus Sunday run and it made total sense. This is an endeavor that has no precedent for me, similar to the journey I embarked on when I started training for my first 100 mile race. I look back at that training plan and shake my head over the ‘mistakes’ I made and how different a 100 mile training plan for me looks today. I can converse with Maria about how she tackled the Tahoe 200, but what she did will be different from what I am going to be doing, thus I’ll be meandering….with a purpose toward the finish line.

Have you developed a goal for yourself?

That’s a very good question and the answer is yes. If you’ve communicated with me about racing then you know I race by the mantra: #AllGas #NoBrakes so I will put what seems to be an out of reach goal and then go for it. I’ll fail (A LOT) and that’s ok because it’s all a learning process, but for this race…..how do you develop a goal? I shirked and said to myself:

  • Running 100 miles can take 24 hours.
  • Sleep for 4 hours.
  • Running another 100 miles can take 28 hours.
  • Sleep for 4 hours.
  • Running 50 miles can take 12 hours
  • Total: 72 Hours

Is any of this feasible? Of course. Is any of this realistic? Of course. Can this blow up in my face? Of course.

And that is the beauty of this GOAL. Who the fuck knows what’s going to happen?

BTW – Jen and Greg laughed at me via text when I mentioned this. BUT, I will let it be known that while running on Sunday September 20th….Greg asked me about nutrition and low carb / high fat diet for prep for the race BECAUSE we will need to be dependent on energy sources for those THREE DAYS. I believe he’s on board the: Fuck It, let’s try to finish in 3 days train…..ALL ABOARD!!!

How are you going to lay out your training plan?

Another very good question and one I will shrug my shoulders at for right now. For me, a typical 100 mile or Ironman training plan is 16 weeks with 4 cycles of 4 weeks each. This is unlike anything I’ve ever trained for so I am going to go with…..It won’t be 16 weeks. This is why I am starting on October 4th with a meandering….with a purpose training plan. For October, I am going to be working on strength because I believe that the person that is the strongest (not fastest) on Day 3 is the one that will finish the fastest. Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges, KettleBell Swings, etc. Focusing on leg strength which means a little less running. I’ll still ride and swim as those will be great ways to improve fitness without the stress of banging on the road or trail running.

After that first month, I’ll re-evaluate where I’m at and make changes for November but won’t know that until I get closer which means…..you’ll have to keep coming back for updates!

Nutrition and Hydration. What are you going to be doing for nutrition/hydration?

Testing. It’s that simple. During a 100 mile race, my desire to eat an Oreo at mile 18 will be replaced with a desire to eat pickles at mile 35. At some point, eating will sound like a terrible idea and I’ll turn to liquid nutrition. I believe that in order to get through this race I’ll be eating and drinking all sorts of different items which is an indication that I’ll have to test, over and over and over.

My current staples, will be there and those are:

  • Skratch Labs Hydration Powder (preferably Lemon-Lime and Fruit Punch)
  • Floyd’s of Leadville Hydration, CBD gems and Recovery Bars
  • Spring Energy Gels
  • OralIV Hydration
  • Vega Sport Premium Protein and Recovery

Mints will be a part of this process, as will simple carbs like Oreos and other candy but there will have to be very tired night runs to test out different forms of nutrition and hydration to see what is an absolute no-go and what is a must have just in case.

Conclusion

I am not sure what lies ahead of me over the next 8 months but what I do know is that I am going to have a blast figuring this out. Experimenting with different forms of training and diet (maybe #BedBread makes it’s way back into my life?) and gear and who knows what else along the way. This is going to be a journey unlike anything else I’ve ever done and I am thrilled to have Greg going through it as well as a handful of other DFW runners. In addition to that, I may have a guest to provide guidance and critique and high-fives and go get ’ems along the way so you’ll definitely not want to miss out on this Meandering…Purposely To The Finish Line series.

If you’ve got questions, or if there is a topic that you want me to address along the way don’t hesitate to contact me ([email protected])

Until the next post……Happy Trail Running.