The Plan – NC24

Truthfully, I have no plan. Run. Keep running. Stay awake. Keep running.
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All right. It’s a little more than that. I’ve read some race reports and talked to experienced ultrarunners. I’ve even found people who have run this (or this type of) event before (Thanks Keith, Stuart and Rob!).

Even so, I still have no idea what I’m doing.

But I do know a few things, and I’m learning more everyday. So here’s what I’ve got so far. In writing. So I can’t back out.

It would be unreasonable to run a 100mi endurance event without walking. This isn’t exactly the same thing, but outside of a few elite runners, everyone walks. I plan on walking right from the beginning. One of the most common plans I’ve seen is to run 25 minutes and walk 5 minutes. During those 5 minutes you take care of all the other details that you can’t while running: eat some real food, use the bathroom, change clothes if necessary. It keeps you on a regular schedule, especially with nutrition. Although I think that’s a decent plan, it’s not going to work for me long term. First off, the walking interval is too long for me. I’ll never want to start running again! And, over time, those 25 minutes of running will be too long. Too difficult to maintain.
I have seen an alternate plan that sounds more doable for me. Run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute. Having used the Galloway method to successfully complete road marathons, I know a shorter interval will work better for me. And the time in the 5/1 is exactly the same as the 25/5 anyway. Sure. I’ll have to take longer breaks to eat and rest. But I’ll have to do that regardless.

Maybe I should take a moment to lay out my goals for this race. I have a few, they are progressive and all mileage-based. And now that I’ve said them out-loud to another human, and he didn’t die laughing, I feel confident sharing them with you.

Safe Goal: Run 57 laps. That’s right. 57. That’s how many it will take to log 51 (and change) miles for the day. That will represent the longest run I have ever done. Unless I start the day ill or injured, I’m not stopping until I hit that number. Come hell or high water (please no high water!) I will have a distance PR.

Progressive Goal: My original plan was to complete my first 50miler at this event. It was a safe and well-supported course, and I had virtually no time limit. 50 miles in 24hrs is more than doable for most people (even walkers) provided you can keep going…at any pace. After my plans to pace Mohican fell through, I got this crazy idea to run my own 50, and I did. So what’s the next step? 100k (~62mi). It’s the next “regular” distance you can find amongst ultras, and the jump to 100 miles is just a bit too far. I’d be thrilled to complete 100k at this event, even if it means walking (slowly) for the last 12.

Stretch Goal: Now we’re in no-man’s-land. I have no business even making a goal out this far. So here it goes…one more step. If I hit my progressive goal, and I’m still feeling good enough to continue…

I’m going to take one more step, until I can no longer take one more step.
-Gordy Ainsleigh

That’s it. That’s the plan so far. Right now I’m running. Building base miles. Testing out food and shoes. Making lists. I have a pretty good idea of these things already, and I’ll lay that out next week. You can bet I’ll be bringing along my tried and true partners… ENERGYbits, Amrita, and Skora…more on that later.

Time to run!

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