Race Week!

Is it Spring yet? Nope! It snowed this past weekend (AGAIN!), and I’m thoroughly over Winter.
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I’ve spent countless hours on the treadmill over the last two months, and it’s about time for an update now that I’m headed into race season. Race season? THAT’S going to be ugly! This winter has been rough for much of the country, and Ohio was no exception. I used to not-so-lovingly call that torture device in my basement a dreadmill. No more! I love that thing. Without it, I’d be in trouble! My job is also keeping me pretty busy and active. So much to be thankful for!

As you may (or may not) recall, I’m keeping a paper log this year. No fancy online records, though I have been using my watch or phone to record some of these. I’ve really cut down on how much I talk about running online as well, save an occasional post when I think it might motivate others and myself! It’s been long enough…so here it comes…stop reading now if you don’t care, or don’t want to know just how boring my life really is. 20140303-191258.jpg
By the numbers (for the nerds):
January 2014
Running: 130.44mi
Walking: 65.3mi
Total: 195.74mi

February 2014
Running: 134.66mi
Walking: 63mi
Total: 197.66mi

To some, that might not look like much. To others, it’s a lot! I wasn’t sure either way, so I looked up the numbers for January and February 2013. 137.96 and 108.97 respectively, running and walking combined. Sounds good!

This weekend I’m running my first “race” of 2014. A 50k at Mohican. It’s not a timed race, so I’m not nervous at all. Maybe I should be? Nah!

On April 12th, I will have the pleasure of volunteering at a great race…Forget the PR 25k & 50k. You can find the link on my Need a place to race? page. 20140303-191457.jpg
As a favor to his volunteers, the RD holds a Volunteers’ Race before the event, so we can all run the course, earn our shirts and get a buckle. It helps him out as well…to point out any potential issues the trail may have encountered over the harsh winter. Plus, we get lost so on race day you won’t have to! Isn’t that nice!

I plan to run that day with another friend I’ve really missed seeing this winter. I don’t think we’ve run together at all since October. Good thing we’ll have a lot of time to catch up.

I only have one concern: Big Ass Hill…x2! Where is the setting on the treadmill for this? 20140303-191504.jpg

Oh well…Sunday is fast approaching, and there’s nothing I can do about it now. Happy trails!

Healthy Habits

Can you believe it? It’s March? When did that happen?

Spring is almost here…or it would be, if I didn’t live in Ohio. But alas, it’s March 1st, and we’re expecting a huge snowstorm tonight into tomorrow. Have I mentioned I despise hate tolerate love snow? No? Right…because I don’t! Snow is pretty when all you have to do is cuddle by a fire with a cup of tea and a good book. Otherwise, I’d just as soon not have it at all.

Anyway…
I’ve been busy. Work, run, sleep. Repeat. Busy, but not doing a whole lot. I’ve also been making some pretty big changes in my life, and I’m terrified excited about them. Some you’ll hear about further down the trail, as they are both private and still fresh enough to have me a little on edge. But let’s talk about the new healthy habits I’ve picked up.
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Writing. Keeping a consistent writing schedule has always been difficult for me. I have a stack of product and company reviews I need to write, and that all feels like work. The problem is I love to write, and once I get going, I can feel the words flying onto the page with rapid force (hence this post). But it can’t feel like work. I started another writing project last week, a journal of sorts, that I may publish in the future. It’s related to that sensitive topic (Please forgive my cryptic prose. I’m not ready to be so exposed.) The point is I’ve been writing, every day for a week, in fact. To my surprise, it’s been quite easy to set aside ten minutes each day to write. Isn’t it amazing how, when there’s no agenda, we can enjoy the things we once loved? That is something I hope to apply to other areas of my life, and hopefully my running. I’m still going to journal every day with that project, but my goal is to post something here on days I don’t work. Some days it won’t be much, and I’ll try to work in those product reviews over the next few months.
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Nutrition. I’m continuing with my whole food plant-based diet, but just like anything, it needs a tune up. My job has made it easier by providing tons of healthy, vegan options, but, after spending a day at a grocery store, the last thing I want to do is shop. My healthy habit for March sounds easy. I’m going to start each day with 20oz of clean water. First, I’ve been waking with migraines lately, and some of that has to do with hydration, or lack thereof. I can’t control the weather, specifically the barometric pressure…trust me, I would if I could…so I’ll start with water. Second, I’m hoping extra hydration will help curb some of my appetite issues, including my new-found sweet tooth. It’s worth a shot. Sounds easy, right? Drink up!

So that’s it! I’ll have a running post up in the next few days as racing season starts up soon. I’m tapering (read: keeping my fingers crossed) this week for a 50k next weekend. That’s going to hurt a bit. Better save that tale for next time.

What healthy habits are you starting this month? Let’s hear them!

An All Day Affair – The North Coast 24hr Endurance Run

Warning: This is going to be long. 24 hours takes quite a few words. Excuse the rambling. Here’s how I remember it: 

The journey started long before Saturday morning on September 21st, but you can read about that in prior posts.

I slept better than expected…a good 6 hours solid, plus another 2 hours resting, before my alarm went off at 4:30am. It was raining, and had been for hours. I didn’t bother checking the weather. It didn’t matter. I started the coffee and Andrea picked me up at 5:30. Off to Cleveland! We chatted through the drive and I tried to stay calm. It was going to be a long day…plenty of time to meet my goals. I kept reminding myself…just another long run.

Edgewater Park is located on the shore of Lake Erie, just west of Cleveland, Ohio. The 0.9 mile paved loop passes a beach area, rocky shore, a small marina at Whiskey Island, some train tracks, a grassy park, and back to the beach. The large pavilion located there housed the timing mat and Aid Station, with nearby bathrooms and (cold) showers. We arrived about 8am…I checked in, picked up my shirt and ankle chip. And there was Barry with coffee and 2 cans of Pringles for me. So sweet! He was running the race too, and we had met through the Facebook group for the event. Thanks Pops!

We set up the canopy we borrowed from Kate in Tent City, a tenth of a mile stretch along the west edge of the course, and I quickly pointed out how my stuff was organized: clothes, warmer clothes, socks, shoes, first aid, food. It was simple enough, but I wanted my crew to be able to find these things when I couldn’t remember my name later in the evening. We’d use the provided aid as much as possible…that’s what I paid for, right? (As it turns out, I barely touched our supplies save a few handfuls of Pringles and 2 bottles of Ensure!) It was still raining, so we left most of the gear in the car for the time being.

Andrea had a stack of cards for me…a few messages from friends, and a slew of the most awesome notes from her husband, and fellow runner, Goat. Best idea ever! I’d get more notes…as long as I kept going. I got the first one, from Goat’s coworker, as I put on my shoes.

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It means “Good Luck at the start of a journey.” I got goosebumps. It’s time.

If you’ve never seen the start of an ultra, you might be surprised. Until someone says “Go!” you might not even know you’re at a race. It’s pretty casual. This was no exception. The RD intentionally starts the race before the mat. Since the course is shy of a mile, runners need to complete exactly 111 laps to achieve 100 miles…and this makes up the difference. So runners make their way up the slight grade to the starting point, complete with ponchos and umbrellas. I’m still not sure how one runs with an umbrella. I quickly found Kelly…in her poncho…and turned around just in time for the start. Go.

nc24 start

We headed off together toward the mat. Beep. Beep. We’d hear that for a good while…every time we crossed the timing mat. Beep. Beep. One for each of us. Every time but one…I’ll get to that. Just to the right was a screen which would display our name, the number of laps, and the total distance (less the starting add-on). I thought this would get old, but it was great to see the numbers climb, especially when my watch died after 7 hours.

I only wore my watch for two reasons: first to time my run/walk intervals, and second to make sure I wasn’t running too fast. I took about two walk breaks per lap…one at the hill just beyond Tent City, and one on the long stretch along the south side of the loop. With few exceptions, I’d continue these breaks throughout. As far as speed, I stuck to a 12:30-13min pace including the walk breaks.

Beep. Beep. Still raining. Andrea had checked the weather and told us it would let up around 11am. And it did…almost exactly…but not before it got worse.

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Kelly was having foot issues, so we split up as she headed to the on-site podiatrist and I kept going. I had made a deal with myself…no music for the first 2 hours. Andrea remembered and was willing to fetch my iPod. I was alone at this point, and ready for a little distraction.

Beep. 20 miles. I stopped by the tent to update everyone back home. I got another card from Goat…I think this was the limerick that didn’t rhyme at the end. Or maybe the stick figure drawing of me running, proving why he was NOT an illustrator! I love that guy!

Beep. I finally met up with Kelly again…it felt like forever. Andrea kept me updated on her, but since she was just ahead, and we were running similar paces, I couldn’t catch her. We agreed to do a few more laps, putting us close to 50k, and change shoes. Most of the puddles were gone now, and I was ready for dry socks.

Beep. Beep. 50k. Time for another update. Close to 7 hours in at this point and feeling fine. I was eating and drinking regularly. Not even the slightest twinge. A quick tire change and we were off. We caught up to Jason on this lap, and the three of us chatted away.

Beep. Beep. B… Uh…three right? Screen check. Jason…Amanda…no Kelly. Jason made a joke about Kelly losing her chip and we look down. It’s gone! That’s when she realizes she didn’t put it back on after changing her socks! This is a mistake you only make once. We found it at the tent, completed another loop, and the timer thankfully advanced her a lap. From that point on…bib and chip check every time I left the tent!

My friends Stuart and Tory arrived shortly after. I thought I might need extra help getting through the night, and I didn’t want all that to fall on one person’s shoulders. Andrea had already done enough, between driving and checking on my every hour or so. So far, I was being rather responsible…eating and drinking before she asked. The three if them struggled to sit up our main tent in the already howling wind. I laughed about this for a few laps. Or maybe that’s the delirium setting in…I’m smiling, so that’s good. After setting up the tent, Tory was ready to accompany me for some miles. The one “hill” on the course was positioned perfectly…running right into the wind. We powered through.

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Beep. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t worried about the first 50 miles (Goal #1). I didn’t really think about how long it would take, and knew as long as I was done by midnight, I’d have plenty of time to reach 100k (Goal #2). I had run my first 50miler back in June in 13:27. The sun was setting, and we were getting close to 50, but I didn’t have a working watch at this point and I wasn’t paying attention to the time.

Beep. 56 laps. 50.5 miles. Tory and I made our way back to the tent and picked up Andrea and Stuart. We ran to where the estimated 51 mile mark would be, and celebrated the mileage PR before grabbing food at the Aid Station and taking a break. On the way back I crunched the numbers in my head. 50 miles in…11:27? A 2hour PR? No way. My crew confirmed my math. Yup. 2 hours. I was shocked. And happy. And way ahead of schedule! Beep.

Here’s where my memory gets a little fuzzy. I’m happy to report I didn’t ever feel dizzy or nauseous (save one gagging incident…as the night gets later, I learned to stop moving while eating.). I kept my wits about me, and never felt like a zombie (Thanks ENERGYbits!). I didn’t feel tired, and forced myself to eat often enough. 

Follow the plan: Eat. I grabbed a cup of salty rice, and a vegan bean roll up. It didn’t have the same appeal as 2 hours prior. I hoped that second order of pizza was on the way soon. I needed to change clothes but there was no way I was going in the tent. Too tempting. I changed into clean dry clothes right there. I wasn’t planning on switching to my last pair of shoes until after 100k, but my feet were ready for more room. I still needed more calories, so I drank an Ensure. That did it. Time to warm up. And I needed my jacket for the wind now!

Beep. 55 miles. Beep. 60 miles. So close, but I needed to sit for a second.

That’s when Stuart let me in on a little secret. He asked if I had seen Angela’s post on Facebook. Uh…maybe he didn’t notice…I’m running here! No, I haven’t been on Facebook! My friend had offered to buy me a beer for every mile past 100k. I didn’t believe him. I made him show me the post. Bring it on!

Disclaimer: I am not condoning using alcohol as a motivator for exercise. I am perfectly fine with bargaining, however. Beer sounded horrible at that moment. It was more about the challenge for me…then. I’m completely enjoying the beer during my recovery time! 

I got up and took off before Stuart had the chance to join me! 3 laps to 100k!

Beep. I stopped to update everyone. Stuart made a game of updating Angela every time I ticked off another mile to let her know how many beers she owed me. It was funny at first, but then we got caught up in the stories he had planned to tell me.

nc24 stuart

Stuart had volunteered for the 2-5am shift. Good ultra-Sherpa. I’m sure I had mentioned this was going to be the hardest time for me. By 2am, it’s been dark for a while, and sunrise is a long way off. Luckily the full moon was a few days prior, and combined with the clouds it was pretty bright. I never asked him to carry anything, and he certainly wasn’t pacing me. It was more like “Follow me around and talk my ear off.” I was thankful. Someone’s tent was robbed earlier, and I didn’t want to be alone. It was around this time that I saw how few people were still on the course. Even Tent City was pretty quiet. Some people had left, some were sleeping, and some of us were slowly circling the loop. A few people were still lapping me on a regular basis…Harvey and Greg. Jill and Lecia. Machines. But that’s when I realized all the people I hadn’t seen in a long time. I hoped they were all right.

Beep. We walked most of these miles. Stuart’s stories were hysterical. These people he knows are real winners…of Darwin Awards. Or they should be. I had to stop a few times because I was laughing so hard. My abs hurt so badly, and the laughing didn’t help. It was totally worth it!

Beep. As we passed the aid station, volunteers would yell out new options they had…especially hot ones. “Hot chicken noodle soup!” Hot soup sounded good, but as many of you know, I’m a vegetarian, and chicken broth could destroy the good thing I had going. Not worth the risk. I had no GI issues, and I wasn’t taking any chances.

Beep. “Cheese sandwich.” I hadn’t had cheese yet, and it made me nervous. The she said “HOT!” and I turned right around. The BEST grilled cheese ever. Probably not, but it hit the spot.

At 5am, I could tell Stuart needed a break. I sat for a few minutes too, knowing I had plenty of time. I yawned for the first time. All my goals were met…every step was gravy from here on out. I asked if 80 miles was a possibility. We thought I could do it.  I wasn’t really tired, just needed a new distraction. And maybe another sip of Coke.  I flipped on my iPod, grabbed an Ensure, and drank it slowly on the next lap.

Beep. Time and miles ticked by. I saw Kelly occasionally, and she looked strong despite complaints about her blistered feet. Mine hurt too, but it was a nerve issue. This path was paved, but not like the tar-covered Olentangy Trail back home. This was rock and cement dust. Hard. Yikes. The grass along the path was “off-limits,” but I longed for the soft ground.

nc24 tory

Beep. It’s light now and the sun is almost up. Tory was awake and I was thankful to watch the sunrise with her. For the first time since noon on Saturday I was hungry. Hunger is a good sign! I was tired of forcing food when everything sounded terrible. The volunteers were making breakfast…egg sandwiches and I wanted one! All they had left was ham, and although I appreciated the offer, pulling the ham off a sandwich wouldn’t work for me. They were making more, and I agreed to stop by on my next lap. I waited for Tory to use the bathroom, and the volunteer noticed I was still there. She called me over, and put a whole egg and cheese sandwich wrapped in paper towel in my hands. It was still steaming. “Now get moving!” I could have kissed her! I tried not to inhale it.

Beep. I wanted to run at the end, but I didn’t know if I had anything left. At 8am, I ditched the pants. It was still cold, and the wind and spray from the lake was freezing! But it kept me awake and moving. Finishing in my sweat pants was NOT an option. We started running short bursts to get my legs moving again. It was tough. Gradually the segments were longer, but it took a lot of effort. I told Tory I was going to get my marker and walk it out. I had met all my goals for the race…and I was going to do the whole 24 hours! It wasn’t worth hurting myself.

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Beep. With 15 minutes to go, a volunteer put the block in my hand that would serve to mark my position when time was up. I walked up the hill, and thought “Screw it!” I took off running. I ran with everything I had left. I wonder what my crew was thinking when I came around the corner so soon.

nc24 laps

Beep. I said “Thought I’d log one more lap before I put this down.” They cheered. Five minutes left…I felt like I was flying at this point. Of course, most people still on the course are walking, so comparatively, I was. Except for the leaders, who whipped past me like I was standing still. I found out later I ran my last full lap at a 10:00 pace, and the last .62 sub-9:00. 23 hours and 45 minutes into the race and I could run? No way! Certainly the fastest I’d been all day…and night…and the last year! Isn’t adrenaline awesome. I didn’t feel pressure until the last 15 minutes. That’s when this became a race for me!

The alarm sounded, I placed my block and walked away…but not before I called Stuart over to take my finish picture!

nc24 finish

My crew broke down the camp site while I tried to choke down some breakfast, but for the first time, I felt lethargic. I listened while they announced the top 3, and then we had to go…before I couldn’t walk to the car. The drive home was uncomfortable, and I could barely comprehend what I had just done. By the time we got home 2.5 hours later, I had no choice but to stumble into the house, take a hot shower and curl up on the couch. And sleep.

Here’s my results:

83.542 miles completed

34/115 Starters

9/46 Women

4/18 Women 0-39 AG

Number of beers earned: 22 (we rounded up!)

A total of 8,516.47 miles were completed by all participants around the 0.9mi loop at  North Coast this fall. That’s a pretty awesome number!

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So the big question: Will I run a 24 hour race again? 

Yes! No doubt. I already have my eye on one next spring.

And the bigger question: Am I ready to start thinking about training for a 100 miler?

Ramblings on the eve of Race Day

‘s here. The race is tomorrow. If you recall, the Fall rendition of the NorthCoast 24hr Endurance Run is to be my goal race…for the year. That’s a lot of pressure, mainly enforced by myself.

Here’s how the rest of the taper went…
Taper Week 2: 42 miles. I had planned on 40…but I’m not the exact-type as running goes. I took Monday, Tuesday, and Friday off. My foot was bothering me…first one before I ran, then the other afterward. They’d switch back and forth. I rested and iced…no relief. I stretched…no relief. I ran…no relief! I couldn’t pinpoint the pain, nor could I find a spot that hurt with pressure. My feet hurt just as much with pressure as without.

Yup…you guessed it. THIS is taper madness. There is NOTHING wrong with my foot. Neither of them. Stupid brain!

I ran 15 miles with some friends on Saturday who were running their 20 miler as a part of marathon training. Two of them had never run this far, and I was glad to talk their ear off for a few hours. On Sunday, I woke up early to pace the Fall Scioto Miles 15k with the Fleet Feet Pace Team. I wasn’t originally on the schedule due to the proximity to race day, but when I found out that a friend (Laurie) would be pacing the 2:15 finish (that’s a 14:29/mi pace), I knew the walking would be good for me. And 9miles walking without foot pain was great for my head!

Race Week: I debated taking the whole week off. I had lunchtime drinks with a friend (Thanks Ang!), and skipped my regular Monday workout in favor of rest. On Tuesday I ran 3 easy TM miles. Wednesday was my planned “dress rehearsal.” I woke up at the planned time, got dressed, made breakfast, then sat for 3 hours to simulate driving time. I read a book, knit, and watched the sunrise. Wonderful! At 9am, I ran for an hour: super easy to start, and worked up to my “race pace” towards the end. I practiced my intervals. I felt great…like I could run forever. A good feeling, since on Saturday I would be. I met friends that night for my Regular workout, and they accommodated my need to shuffle the run. Two days of rest…and here we are.

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I’m packed. I have enough clothes to wear for a week…in every possible climate. Who packs tanks/shorts AND a jackets/tights for the same event? I do. And a rain poncho, winter hat/gloves, and three pairs of shoes. Maybe four…I’m not sure yet. Everything is charging. My crew is ready (I hope!). I drank half of my coffee this morning before the shaking started. Then I wanted to throw up. I think I might cry (again). Floods of emotion. It’s difficult to explain.

Here’s the link for live race updates:
http://www.northcoast24.org

Unfortunately you’ll need flash in order to view it, so all you mobile users will need an app to view it. Don’t buy it, just switch to a desktop or laptop. I’ll wait….

I’ll also try to tweet some updates at milestone intervals using the hashtag #NC24.

Taper Week 1

Oddly enough, the madness hasn’t taken over. Not yet. Perhaps because I don’t know what I’m in for. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I know I can finish this race…one loop is all it takes to avoid the DNS/DNF. But more than likely, it’s the 56 miles that I ran this week…during taper? What? That’s insane.

A year ago, 55 miles would have been a peak training week for a marathon. Heck…I wouldn’t have run past 50.

Two years ago, I was in the midst of training for my first marathon, and my longest run was 18 miles.

I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since the big training run at the lake. I should probably fill you in:
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Suffice it to say, it went well. I joined a fellow runner who is training for the same race. He had started at 5am with two mutual friends, but i couldn’t get out there so early. At 7am, I met the three of them, and we circled the lake once before they left. A little fast for my warm-up lap…they were cruising close to 9:00 pace.

Then it was the two of us for the next two hours. The pace was still fast for me (closer to 10s), and at least once I asked him to leave me and go ahead. He offered to slow down, but that rarely works…the more we talked, the faster we ran. I really didn’t mind.

I knew this would tire my legs faster, but I didn’t have a real mileage or time goal for the day. I packed enough food to be out there through the afternoon, but after that I was winging it. Tiring my legs from the start would give me an idea of what the later hours of the race might feel like. And that seemed like an experience worth checking out.

I had offered to run a “virtual” half with a twitter friend, so made sure to check my watch (and the time) around that distance. 13.1mi in 2:18. Definitely faster than I’ll be on race day. I sent her a quick tweet to mark the milestone, and kept going. I tried not to look at my watch. At all. We were joined by friends throughout the morning and afternoon, which made the time pass quickly.

I passed the marathon mark with Doug, and shortly after, the 50K distance with Andrea. Then my watch died. An expected event, so I had quickly done some math to estimate how many more laps until 40mi. I wasn’t sure I could run that far, but I liked that it was a round number. With about 3 loops to go, I dropped to a walk. I would make it, but this wasn’t a race, and I had already proved to myself this was doable. There was no point in hurting myself, or pushing any harder.

So I finished 40.22 miles, in 1.2mi loops in 8.5hrs. That includes aid stops. Not too shabby. The trail is mostly packed sand and pea gravel, but don’t let that fool you. It’s hard. Harder than asphalt. And I took a beating. That’s the trail…on the right:
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Just over a week ago, I headed out with friends to run what I thought would be a 50K…my last long run. Turns out Mother Nature had other plans…and blasted us with heat and humidity. Everyone that came out put in their very best, and made smart decisions regarding when to call it a day. The trails looked great. And I’m happy that we all enjoyed time together on a holiday weekend. We’ll do that again…maybe when it’s not so hot.
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And then I started the taper. I feel healthy. I’m mentally ready. The only thing I’m stressed about is that other people are involved, and I don’t trust easily. I like to be the one giving…I don’t like to ask for help.But I can’t do this without them. Sure…I have to do the hard stuff (running is hard!), but taking care of a tired and cranky adult all night certainly cannot be fun. It’s a sacrifice. This is where running becomes a team sport. And I’m going to have to get over it.

If you’ve read this far, and plan on being there for the race…even to stop by and say hello…or you’re in the Cleveland area, would you let me know? I’d love to look forward to friendly faces.

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!

Beyond the Marathon

I am horrified by the events which occurred in Boston yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with those that were killed and injured in the explosions and their families. Please know this was written before the tragic events occurred, and is, in no way, meant to be offensive or insensitive. I share it because, through writing, I grow as a person. And, without sharing my words, they are left meaningless. I haven’t forgotten. But the worst thing we can all do is give up…and let evil win. Yesterday I prayed for Boston, and the rest of our world. That won’t stop because it’s a new day. I’m not moving on, I’m just moving forward.
Relentless forward momentum.

I’ll admit it. I didn’t watch any of the Boston Marathon. I didn’t check the updates. I didn’t look at the elite finish times. I briefly looked at a few pictures posted by friend on Facebook, but even then, it was just to admire the happy faces if friends, and to wish them good luck.

It really doesn’t interest me. Not anymore. I’ve heard a few people say that recently, but I could hear the hesitation in their voice…they think it’s unattainable for them (and maybe it is), so they express disinterest as a defense mechanism. They don’t want to talk about it. They feel like a loser because they can’t or won’t do the work required to BQ.

That’s not me. Not at all. I don’t want to run Boston. It doesn’t hold my interest. I want something bigger.

Bigger? What’s bigger than Boston?

Now before you go jumping down my throat that Boston is the most important event for the running world, let me agree, with one very specific clarification.

The Boston Marathon is the most elite marathon in the world.

Marathon.

And that’s why it doesn’t interest me.

What’s my bigger goal? Western States 100. Yup. I said it.
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That’s a bit far off. I’m nowhere near reaching that goal…especially as I sit here icing my knee from a spill I took Sunday on a trail run. The good news is I have plenty of time.

Now I promised to talk about a race I have coming up, and I will. Tomorrow’s blog will be all about the Playin’ Possum 50k, and why you should be running with us. The course is diverse…a little something for everyone. At least 1/3 of the field are first-time ultra runners and the others have plenty of experience to spread around. And all the proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympics.

20130415-152909.jpg Tomorrow…I promise.

I do want to take a moment to talk about the wonderful people I’ve met while training for this event. I have run with the race directors and the passel (a group of possum…go figure) on several occasions, both as a large organized training run, and a more casual midweek run. Shoot…the race director showed up to a Saturday morning training run I scheduled with friends, just because he knew we would be there.

I have found this community to be so much more passionate and compassionate than any group of people I have ever met. I wish you could meet them. I have never felt more welcome and appreciated, and that was before I brought them all pie for a post-run treat. They have taken a special piece of my heart, and I look forward to the next time I get to run with any one of them. Every time.

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Check back tomorrow for more information regarding the race, where you can sign up before it sells out, and how you can join us for the next training run open to the public.