Alex White finally enjoyed success at the 24hr Around the Lake. Running 100 miles on by itself is impressive, but when learning that Alex also took a long sleeping break and employed a rather unorthodox fueling strategy it seems that much more so. So what was the strategy that enabled him to get in more of the 3.2 mile laps this time?
“The perfect strategy ended up being pint of heed one lap, pint of beer next lap. Really made the laps happy.”
We saw Alex post that and it piqued our interest. There was also this comment:
“I’ve done an easy trail 50miler, hard trail 50k, and also tried 24hr twice in the past but I always end up falling asleep before sunrise. This time I actually felt refreshed after nap so I just went on with it. First hundo; think I stopped after 67mi my first 24 a few years ago. I’ll give it a go again next year, pretty sure I can go upwards of 140….just need to figure out this sleep thing.”
Considering he slept for a good 6 hour chunk in the middle and still cracked that century mark, maybe he has figured it out. We had a lot of questions still, especially surrounding the drinking part of it. Luckily Alex was up for some additional explanation and gave some more on his effort:
So I have a history of combining drinking and endurance things, namely really long endurance things like drinking only beers on hundo+ bike rides, beers all day during team relay events, etc. I actually honestly believe that it might actually help (easy calories + fun brain?) or at least not hurt – unless I get hungover or tired…that’s the point of no return. Thankfully didn’t happen at 24hr.
The thing holding me back the most has always been footwear – they just get super cranky after all that pavement. This includes a stint with the 1st gen Hokas (Stensons?) where I made it 67mi but it totally sucked (could have made a hundo if I walked the last 10 hrs, but that would be the most miserable experience I could think of.) Scott Traer (ultra boss, just won the VT 100) was at that one and was shooting for the AR for 24hr, but settled for 144 or something. Scott wore the Brook’s Green Silence for that whole bit (hippe eco midsole and cool-looks speed shoe), so wanting to be like him and seeing them on sale at a local running shop I went for it. They run great – but being discontinued for like 3 years also meant that was some damn hard cushioning. Thankfully I had the foresight to see the shittiness coming and ditched them before it was too late.
I did a relay in MI the week before, and just getting into homebrewing I made a keg of dry Irish stout (nitro pour) for it. We got through half of it, so I figured I’d just bring it to MA and someone would kill it, though I hadn’t planned on it being me. I beered up before the start, and after doing 26.2, popped in for another beer stop, after thinking “so every 4 laps/13ish I’ll reward myself with a beer!” That quickly turned into beer every other lap since it was like 1am and pretty dead. Also, what else am I supposed to do on a friday night?
I caught up/lapped up with a cool guy (Greg Stone) and we ran a bit, though my 8:40s were a bit fast for his 9:40s. So I hung back with him for a lap near 3am, but when we came around after that slower lap something changed and I all of a sudden stopped having fun (despite the change to Free 4.0’s) mostly due to feet crankiness, which I know all too well. I made my peace with dropping out (again) though I was smart enough to pitch a tent this time just in case. In years past I 1) slept on/in flattened cardboard boxes under the food tables and 2) hijacked a massage table). I drank another beer and ducked away from the SRR embarrassment. I was probably 5 beers in by 3am sleep.
Slept until the damn race director kept megaphoning about the 12hr start at 9am and figured I’d just hang out and drink beers all day like in years past, but this time I actually felt great when I woke up. Usually it’s sore death – I think giving up when it stopped being fun was key, instead of slogging through shit for nothing and dropping anyway. I had an extra red bull from the night before (I pounded one at the start and one at 26.2mi to try and ward off the sleeps) so after a morning beer hangout, I chugged it, switched to Clifton 2’s, and figured I may as well go until it stops being fun.
That’s where the beer lap alternate came in. I had all that beer in a keg anyway to get rid of and the nitro/low carb goes down so well…though I would have passed out on a bench (again) if I didn’t get more hydration during the day so I left my [plastic Boston] pint glass at the aid stop and had my trusty SRR minions fill it up with the appropriate bevvy when they saw me coming. Hammer Gel or whatever is the sponsor, so we get Heed. Honestly, I really like it. It’s not too sweet and just plain refreshing. and the rest is Facebook history.
In case you’re wondering at home, the stout had a 5% abv.
If you want to see more detail, check out his laps/splits on his Strava page.