Monday, February 13, 2017

Actif Epica Preview

On to Winnipeg, Manitoba this weekend. Here's a quick update on recovery and a preview of the upcoming race.

The week following Arrowhead was a sleepy one. I mean it was literally very sleepy. I was in bed every night at ridiculously early hours. I was napping every afternoon. I have never been this sleepy and tired after a race. No matter how much nor how well I felt I slept, it was not enough. Each day at work I would soon want to lie down. I have to admit that there were a couple quick car naps.
Similar to Tuscobia, I was only slightly sore for a couple days after the race but it was gone quickly. Overall, the word I would use to describe how I felt was heavy.  It was a solid weak of heavy fatigue. I actually felt like I could go for a run shortly after the race but didn't want to push anything with little benefit. Mostly I would try to take short walks at work to get the blood moving. My feet seem to have recovered, at least to a level that I can get through another 100 miles on them.
My food consumption has reached a ridiculous level as well. After the next race I will have to be much more disciplined in order to reach a race weight that is more in line with faster, warmer ultras. I give myself the excuse that the extra fat is good for keeping me warm in the winter and it has worked so far, so who am I to argue.
Actif Epica Logo
On to Actif Epica. This is the final race in the series (Tuscobia 160, Arrowhead and Actif Epica) that completing all races in the same year gets one into the Order of Hrimthurs. This has only been done all on foot 3 times before. This year there are 6 of us left attempting to accomplish this. Hopefully all of us will make it and we can celebrate together Sunday afternoon
The Order of the Hrimthurs

The race has traditionally been 120 km with bike and foot divisions. This year they have added extended courses for both divisions. The longer foot version is 160 km which is 100 miles. When signing up for the race, I asked which distance was required to enter the Order of Hrimthurs and was told the long (160 km) version, so that is what I signed up for. In the last few weeks, others asked the same question and were told the original 120 km was all that was necessary. So do I drop down to the shorter distance. No. I might as well go an extra marathon distance. It's only a few extra hours of suffering and after nearly 5 days worth in the last two races, what is 5 or 6 more hours? I'm sure I'll be cursing the decision come this weekend.
This will be a new and interesting way to run 100 miles
While this race is similar in ways to the previous two, there are some significant differences. The required gear is much less. There is no sleeping bag, bivy, or stove and fuel requirements. The reduced gear means I can fit it all in a backpack instead of a sled. Whether it is hard to carry gear on my back instead of pulling it remains to be seen. Another difference is that this course is not marked and will require some navigation using a GPS and cue sheets which will give directions. I've never had to do this before. This has me concerned about getting lost and ruining all the work done until now. I will remind myself that others have finished the race so why not me.

The course it supposed to be very flat which is welcome after the hills of Arrowhead. It is significantly shorter, "only" 100 miles. I have 35 hours to finish, which should not be too bad if I consistently keep moving forward. I don't care about my finishing time, just about finishing. There are several checkpoints but they will only have water, so I have to carry all my calories with me. This should not be an issue as I seem to be able to get through these races needing fewer calories than before. The weather forecast is calling for relatively warm temperatures, near freezing. This could make the footing slippery and also make getting overheated and wet a problem.
The race starts early Saturday morning, after a very early bus ride to the start line. The finish line is in downtown Winnipeg.I am very much looking forward to getting there and greeting my new Order of the Hrimthurs friends.

Post race there will be some time for recovery and then I will have to get into some serious work to get ready for the next stage of this big year. This has been fun so far. Thanks for following along.


  1. One thing to watch for (speaking from experience, having done a couple of adventure races) is chaffing on your shoulders from the heavier pack. lube those shoulders up with something that won't get wiped away by your clothing material. Aside from that, go for it! :-)

    1. Already thought of that after running with it this weekend. Chaffing is the worst.

  2. Good luck Dan. We're counting on you.
    Be safe!

  3. Thanks Bill. I will do my best and report back however it turns out.