|Pia Joan Sørensen and Maibritt Skovgaard at Winforce 100km 2013. Photo by Martin Paldan|
As the leaders went out on their 4th and final 25 k loop, the crowd (including myself as race physician) was wondering, hoping (even though we love Per Egon) that Maibritt would win. Indeed it was close and Maibritt in her first trail 100k was only around 20 minutes behind Per Egon Rasmussen, taking second place overall!! (seriously, it was awesome to witness) And the talk began--- are women just made to run ultras? Granted there were only two women (pictured above) among the 38 starters. So one could say, only the super tough chickas were racing (it should be noted that Pia Joan Sørensen dropped with plantar fasciitis at 50k and we can only speculate over the possibility of her winning outright).
Then we got home and at a family party, the subject was broached again--- "but women ARE just better at ultras". Being the anal statistician that I can be, I looked into it. And the percent difference between men and women (mostly by world records) is as follows (bear in mind, I did these calculations in my head not wanting to use a huge amount of time, so yeah, if I am 0.1 or 0.2% off I apologize--- I'm busy).
Percent difference between male and female world record finish times by distance
(female time-male time)/average of the two
(female time-male time)/average of the two
100 mile 17.7% (taken from 2013 Western States as I couldn't find the female WR)
24 hour 20.0%
100 k: 5.0%
50 k 29.5%
42.2 k 9.3%
Interesting, isn't it? It actually appears that men are better and better the longer the race is. Of course, if we look at the AVERAGE man vs. the average woman, the numbers might change, but I am not sure. I kept feeling as I was doing the calculations that there is a gravitation towards that 11% difference and maybe as more ultras are run and more women run them, the 11% will also become the rule of ultra distances.
|SR also raced and his very humorous, humble report is here. This photo shows one of the many tough aspects of the course. It was after 50k here and he was reportedly feeling great. Photo by Martin Paldan.|
Unfortunately, SR dropped out after 75km with severe nausea. Of note, nausea is the top listed reason for dropping out of ultras, I learned during my stint at Western States. How to prevent it is a hotly researched topic; one study at Javelina has pointed to the importance of a lower carbohydrate diet while racing. The study might be too biased to trust, though. Pam Smith raced Western States with Zofran in case she developed nausea but didn't. SR is asking me to write prescriptions for Zofran and have them along in my doctor bag. I have mixed feelings about this since it might simply cover up the symptoms of hyponatremia and put runners' lives a risk.
My thoughts about getting SR to finish involve simply going slower. He ran through 75km well under 8 hours on a very hard course, which was a relative PR for him at this distance-- and then he was supposed to run 25k more... Running ultras is really about finding that perfect balance between speed and endurance (and believing it is of utmost importance that you finish (yes, it is crazy, but we don't allow ourselves to think this while we are out there, right?). Usually women lack speed and men lack endurance, in my experience (Piccola Pine Cone and Chris Scotch notable exceptions), and if you want to improve, you need to train at what you lack. I have started coaching two women and speed work, fun speed work, is the first thing we are focusing on.
And what about my right hip/new bone?
|Pacing SR the first 25 k at Winforce 100k. I had always wanted to try racing with my hair down :0). We had fun.|
I went to our tri-club friend, Søren, who is an osteopath (the equivalent honestly does not exist in the US) and he did a very good job of convincing me that the problem was not the knot turned to bone in my calf, but my right hip. Basically the acetabulum in my right hip is inflamed and the ligaments around my hip very loose. When he heard I practiced yoga, he was very clear to state it was making my hip worse. Turns out I am hypermobile (OK I knew that and it is one of the reasons I love yoga, because I am naturally "good" at it) and I have loosed my right hip to such an extent that my hip strength can't hold the dang hip in place while I run and this causes pain and inflammation.
So I have a hip strengthening exercise to do for the next week and then he says he will loosen up the L3-L4 region of my left back and I should be on track again. If not, ultrasound-guided steroid injection into the acetabular space is what he recommends.
|Last night, Andreas and I held a Salomon trail running workshop for employees of Novo Nordisk. It was seriously a ton of fun watching people hop over roots and rocks and struggle up hills to greet fabulous views. Ha. Dream job. And they loved the Salomon shoes. Ok- they seriously DO make you feel more secure on technical trails. Photo Nynne Friling|
Since I don't have a song of the day, I will offer my "word" of the day, which is "rigamarole". I found myself writing it to a friend today and had to stop up and think--- is this a word I made up? Anyone else use it? If yes, where are your from?