February 08, 2012

The Bold and the Beautiful.

That's my official training plan, thanks to Santa Clarita Runners website (http://www.scrunners.org/ultrasch.php) for generating the majority of the miles, with me tweaking a little to fit my St. Pattys Day Marathon, 'vacation', and best friend's wedding. I mean, who wants to run 26 miles the day of a wedding, or the day after a wedding?! Not this girl. Who also wants to run on a treadmill for 8 miles or more for most of the days on vacation?! Not this girl. I guess I have no choice. The good thing is that I can get up early and go run sleep in a while, go to the gym and knock out the miles, then loooouuuunge on the beach. Yes, sounds relaxing. AND, what better way to run lots of miles than to have a hot tub AND (not sure if it is Arabian Sea or Gulf of Oman, or who knows...) Arabian Sea water at my disposal. Ice bath not needed.

After taking an entire week off from running this past week, due to being sick, and hearing about the girls' doing their 8 mile run...I was a little down on myself, a little antsy, and a little jealous to be honest. I hate missing long runs. I don't like sitting on the sidelines while other people get to progress. I don't like 'setbacks'.

I looked at the weather for the week (FINALLY learning that lesson), and saw that it is supposed to rain Wednesday midday through the evening, and I know I am not very capable of getting up early to run before work. Instead of planning my runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I changed it to Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. Big whoop. So Monday I set out for two miles and realized I still felt a liiiittle sick but it was a decent, fast run. I stumbled upon Mint fitness gym or whatever it's called, stopped in and scored a free five day pass! Woot woot! Not sure when I'll cash that bad boy in but I'm amped about it. I also scored a $30, 30 visits gym groupon the other day. Woooot!

Yesterday I went out for another two miles...which took a lot of convincing. 2 miles is small enough for me to not bother getting out the running clothes. I was so exhausted by the end of the work day, exercising (no matter how little it would be) seemed like the last thing I wanted to do. I bargained with myself that maybe I could have the night off and wake up early Wednesday morning to run before work. In the end, I reminded myself what this is all ultimately going towards and that it was only 20 minutes and got dressed. With this fancy number.

My long pants were washing so I combined my under armour capris with my high adidas compression socks. New fashion trend, what up?!

It would have been classier if the socks were black but the outfit got the job done. I SPED through those 2 miles, almost felt like I sprinted the whole way.

So now I get tonight 'off', probably going to do some cross training at home. Then 4 miles on Thursday, light cross training on Friday, 10 miles with the girls in the city on Saturday, and 8 miles on Sunday. Whew. Then that will conclude my first official week of Ultra training with this whole 'run five days a week' craziness.

Last night while watching the Biggest Loser, I noticed the Participant Guide for the 50 miler has been posted. Just knowing that made me want to throw up. Then I opened it and started reading. It's exhilarating to know that you are signed up for the big hancho race out of all the ones that weekend, with special rules and exceptions for the 50 miler.

It's also terrifying to face your dream head-on. To know that there is a set time of when you could possible accomplish something which you've been holding hope for such a long time.

Then I read I get to see/meet Dean Karnazes!!!!!!!!! YEEESSS! Oh man am I pumped about that haha. Plus I get a shirt, a water bottle, arm warmers, a medal...a hot meal at the end, a free beer... This could be heaven.

The rundown from the guide is basically that the race starts at 5am, I am required to have a head lamp with me until 6:15am.

Also, the guide was nice enough to give little blurbs about the entire milage I will face. It both set me at ease and terrified me. Exciting nonetheless. It's broken down two ways it seems. The mile marker that each aid station is located, plus a description of chunks of the course.

First section of the course:
"4.8 miles: The start begins on a grassy field with a spectacular view of the Potomac River on your left...winding narrow path carves through a number of fairways before leading runners to the Potomac Heritage Trail. This trail begins with a wide path of crushed rock. The sharp left turn onto a wide and grassy path through the woods is marked by a short post on the left with a white PHT emblem. This is where it begins to get interesting. Potomac Heritage Trail (marked by turquoise trail blazes) will guide runners through narrowing single track and dense riverside forest."

Sounds fun so far!

Aid at Mile 8.1:
"3.3 miles: ...near and away from the river. This low lying section will pass quickly but there may be a few logs to hop over. This is where runners are sure to see a number of giant Blue Heron and perhaps a passing herd of deer."

Scenic...I like it.

Aid at Mile 14.8:
"6.7 miles: PHT will twist and turn runners through miles of secluded flood plain...little dips and turns to keep runners engaged...look forward to a few steep but short hill climbs. There is a quick diversion around Riverbend Park on single track, open meadow, fire road and a steep little downhill to the PHT. As runners near Great Falls Park, the trail will widen and improve. Just past the Visitor Center, take a quick left across a short footbridge and continue down the path until the Aid Station appears on the left. There may be a few logs to hop over but most of this section is fast and fun."

Fast and fun. YES!

Aid at Mile 18.9:
"4.1 miles: Wide open and smooth fire roads downriver towards the Virginia border and a stretch of water named Difficult Run. This section of the course is not very technical but offers some great views of the Potomac River."

Yay not technical, means I can get through it quicker!

Aid at Mile 21.7:
"2.8 miles: The real fun begins when runners turn onto the River Trail. This is the most technical section of the course and boasts spectacular views of Mather Gorge and the river. Runners will be challenged by steep ups and downs in this very rocky section. 50 miler runners will make 3 loops of this Great Falls Park loop."

Gah. Three loops of that sucker starting where the blurb for mile 18.9 begins. Guess what I'll be practicing?!

Aid at Mile 42.2:
"6.7 miles: Quick diversion around Riverbend Park and back onto PHT. PHT will twist and turn through miles of secluded flood plain...little dips and turns. Runners can look forward to a few steep but short hill climbs."

Same as in the beginning.

Aid at Mile 45.5:
"The total distance for this section is 3.3 miles. This section of the course will be mostly flat and in the shade."

Yay! I will gladly welcome this.

Aid at Mile 47.9:
"The total distance for this section is 2.4 miles. This section of the course will be mostly flat and in the shade. It will loop around and runners will exit on the same trail they entered."


"Continue following the Potomac Heritage Trail/gravel road to the golf cart path. At the end of the path continue on short paved road. Cross the soccer field parking lot and head towards the grassy area. The finish line will be visible from the parking lot.


I have goosebumps!

There are also cutoffs on this course with the difficult one as the first one. I need to be at Aid Station #5, which is mile 21.7, by 10:42 am... which is 5 hours and 42 minutes from the start of the race. I should be okay.

Cutoff #2 is 9hrs and 59min from the start of the race at mile 35.5.

I have to be completely done by 6pm.

Also, I'm allowed to have a pacer to join me at either mile 28.6 or 35.5, but I don't think I have any friends that are THAT generous to run with me on a trail for 21 or 15 miles...maybe if I bribe them somehow (I think the only one that would come watch me is H). It would take a lot to deal with me for the remaining miles. I don't tend to complain outloud during the end of really long runs, turning more introspective to make it to the end, but it would require the pacer to just somehow understand what pain I'm probably feeling and be a gentle pusher.

Here's the elevation chart:

And so, my journey begins! 50 miles or bust!

***sadly, though I mentioned in previous posts not to ask me to run a 100 miler, and no one has, I may have begun contemplating what's in my future. but let's not get ahead of ourselves***

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