Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Overtapering Can Leave You Exhausted-- My Pre-Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Work Schedule From Hell

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 7th) I return southern Wisconsin to do the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run and defend my title from last year. I am not feeling optimally rested.

The COST to an ultrarunning ER doc of getting to run 3 ultras (Miwok, Quicksilver, Ohlone) on 3 successive weekends in 1 month (May), during which one of the hospitals where I work transitioned to a new computerized inpatient tracking and charting system and thus my colleagues and I had to work lots of extra hours, was the following annotated work schedule. Note that more often than not, I get out later than the scheduled ending time:

(you may scroll down to see photos of my kids if you don't really want to read this...)


W 21st: 7am to midnight, call center work from home. sounds cush, but 17 hours of phone advice is a different kind of torture

Th 22nd: 2pm to midnight

F 23rd: 11pm to 6:30am the next morning

Sa 24th: 7pm to 7am the next morning-- note: starting a shift this early prevents me from getting the 2nd of the 2 naps I normally take on night shifts, guaranteeing inadequate sleep

Su 25th: 8pm to 6am the next morning-- note: 8pm ain't any better.

M 26th: 8pm to 6am the next morning-- note: Normally I only do 3 overnights in a row, not 4, and then get the next day completely off. I think the majority of the doctors with whom I work won't even do 3.

Tu 27th: "off" but not really because I just worked until 6am-- note: now I have to reverse my Circadian, but without any downtime

W 28th: meetings from 9am to 5pm, then another nonwork related meeting from 6:15pm to 8:30pm note: as an aside, I rode my bike to the morning meeting, but popped a flat trying to make the 6:15 and my wife had to pack both kids and pick me up, and I walked almost 2 miles half carrying the bike (the tire came off the wheel) so she wouldn't have to drive as far.

Th 29th: 8am to 8pm

F 30th: 7am to 3pm, call center work, from home. It's sad that an 8 hour work day felt like a day off.

Sa 31st: noon to midnight-- note: to go to a birthday party with my family ending at 1:30pm, I switched to the 3pm to 2am shift, which made for a quick transition to the next shift, since it's not like I get to bed at 2:15--


Su 1st: noon to midnight

M 2nd: on call. My boss felt I needed to work in the clinic when I woke up at 8:30pm, less than 6 hours after going to bed. I came in at 10am and when it seemed I really didn't have to be there, I left at 3:30pm

In summary, 13 straight days of work totalling more than 110 hours.

Barely any time to run. Maybe 2 hours on trails. Some short runs to and from BART. I probably overtapered. Not by choice.

We flew out to Chicago early, but due to various events beyond my control, including someone working on the gutters with power tools the day after we arrived, preventing me or my baby from effectively napping, rambunctious kids staying up late, my older son's inability to sleep if we go to bed in the same bed at the same time, and my younger son's being upset by some of the above, I have been unable to fully recover my sleep deficit, much less reset my late night Pacific Time zone clock to early morning Central Time Zone. Race morning I will be getting up at an hour later than at which I went to bed less than a week earlier. If you think this isn't a big deal, try it.

To be optimistic, this will make things interesting. Especially with the interesting development of the USATF 2003 Male Ultrarunner of the Year Joe Kulak registering for the race last week, which I thought he would (he commented that he might). I was getting all these comments and emails telling me I had no serious competition, but I knew better. I still think I'm the underdog, but I guess since I won last year, it's a hard sell.

It sucks barely seeing my family during these bad stretches. The party at one of those places fill with bouncy things last Saturday was a blast though, worth the 2am to noon turnaround.

Someday we will enjoy scrambling or climbing up rocks together...

First time trying air hockey, my older son trounced this kid a year older.

in action with enrapt audience

my younger at the playground on an earlier rare afternooon I wasn't working. Since his first unpleasant introduction to swings in April, he has come to love them...

First published Friday, June 6, 2008 at 10am Central Time.


Baldwyn said...

Mark, that was an exhausting read. I've pulled some long hours and long consecutive days for projects with unreasonable schedules, and just find it plain dangerous after awhile. I hope you hit the course tomorrow with eager legs, and the novelty of getting to run doesn't wear off until mile 101.

Peter Lubbers said...

So you are taking your cell phone with you to do some more call center work on the trail, aren't you?

Well, a little overtapering can't be bad -- good luck Mark! You'll be fine!

209Mike said...

I feel like I just worked a 12-hour shift reading that. All that craziness will just make the race even more rewarding. Sounds like overtapering might have been a good thing for you. Good luck this weekend.

Eudemus said...

Wow, that is one brutal schedule! But, hey, you've got your pre-race excuse out of the way. That always takes some pressure off! After your May schedule, I don't think it's possible to be over-tapered. I think you will find your muscles rested and ready to go even if your brain may not feel that way. Since you know the course you can just run it with your eyes closed!

Have a great race, Mark. We'll be pulling for you.

Alan said...

Wow! After all that, the 100 miles will be a breaze for you! Good luck and have fun Mark.

Jean Pommier said...

Good luck to the defending champion. This post should release you from some pressure and I agree with Alan, this 100-miler will be like a breeze now.

Mark, have a great day tomorrow,

Farther Faster

willgotthardt said...

I want to know next time you are on home call center so I can ask a bunch of random questions about blisters and black toenails around 11:45pm.

Hope you roll a KM100 repeat victory...best of luck.

Will G.

GB said...

I really do not know how you do it! You must be a machine! I'll be thinking about you at KM this weekend and I know you'll kick serious bootay, CHAMP! Can't wait to read all about it.

GB said...

Mark, I just saw the results. I wish there was some way to show you that I'm hailing you, saluting you and giving you high fives. You've had a busy several weeks leading into KM and you still finished AWESOME. Looking forward to your race report!

Are you going to rest for a while now? ;)

Baldwyn said...

That Will Gotthardt is pretty funny. When is that guy going to start a blog?

Congrats on your second place finish! Sounded like a hell of a race. Can't wait to hear the report, as I'm now curious about the mud-facial.

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

You forgot to include "playing chess on facebook" as part of your taper ;)

MN Ultra Runner said...

Talk about ironic...a friend of mine just told me today that he met you before the start of Kettle. I get home and whose blog pops up on Google reader as recommended reading? Great race, I look forward to following the blog in the future. My buddy (Runner Brewer in blog land) said he tried to convince you to come to Superior Sawtooth in September. I'll second his recommendation, it's a fantastic race! Best regards, see you around.

robtherunner said...

Congrats on your 2nd place at Kettle 100. I heard it was rough out there. I look forward to a report.

Nolan said...

Great run at Kettle Mark! I ran by you going the other way a few times. I finished 11th. What a CRAZY schedule... Mine is almost as crazy, but not quite.

Nolan said...

I also agree with mn ultra runner -- You should do Superior Sawtooth. I will be a pacer for this race, but am thinking about doing the whole race.