April 22, 2012

The Elusive 100 Miler

Okay, so maybe it isn't elusive...but it felt like the right word to use at the time. Probably the word inevitable is better to use.

Let's start from the beginning.

Tuesday I skipped my four mile run and instead walked eight blocks to buy wine and planned to have some intimate calf time with my lacrosse ball. My right calf was just sooo unhappy with me. BUT it will all be okay. Even though I didn't ACTUALLY use the lacrosse ball....I did use the wine, however. Heh heh.

On Wednesday I decided to go to Great Falls Park/Difficult Run area to meet up with the DCCS trail group. The plan was to get to GFP early, get a head start on my 10 planned miles and meet up with everyone in the parking lot when I was finished. Not so much. Rick also got there early, so we chatted for a bit til I eventually peeled off for my 'head start' which ended up only being a 15 min lead. In the rain. While I'm already sick. Needless to say, I did not complete my 10. Hooray me! I did complete five miles, five very...degrading miles. You see, I already mentioned my stupid calf pain...and apparently there is no such thing as a flat trail...and three days of trail running a week (plus two days of road running) sure does take a toll on my already fragile leggies and my mindset. One of the main problems occurred (has been consistently occurring?) when I was heading up a steep climb. I wasn't bounding up it like the rabbits that were the other members of the group. I was like a hippo huffing and puffing my way up to the top, stopping to gasp for air, hand on my hip, finger raised to tell the world to hang on a sec. Because, duh, hippos huff AND puff. You better believe it.  Makes a girl feel a taaaaad out of shape. Me feeling a tad out of shape should sound completely ridiculous to me, but when you are looking down the barrel of a 50 mile 'gun', it seems a little more realistic. I think I can make it 50k, pretty doable in my mind. It's that last dang 19 that seems a little iffy for me, adding in the time limit. The funny thing is, at 15 miles left I think I can coax myself to just finish. Something about that extra four miles...I hear the last 15 are all mental anyway.

If you know me and my past history of races and major phobia of their time cut offs, you would laugh hysterically (okay maybe not hysterically...) and try to convince me that I am just silly to worry about the 13 hour cutoff for this fifty miler.   I have obsessed over other time cutoffs only to not even come close to needing to worry about them. But, as always with a new distance, it's on my mind. This is not a walking race (not that anyone should want to walk 50 miles. that would take forever). I know it's acceptable to run the flats and downhills and walk the uphills, but there are a lot of uphills...and remember the hippo? Doesn't seem to bode well for me. I have just about six weeks left. SIX. WEEKS. How did that even happen? And then you combine that with the fact that I've sucked at running this week.... S.T.R.E.S.S. Plus, while at BRR I witnessed new ultra runners come in three minutes before the cutoff...yikes.

I'm also worried that my garmin won't hang in there for 13 hours. What if it craps out half way and I'm flying 'blind' time wise?

Part of me feels confident that I will finish this race. But then there's that weak part I'm always fighting that says I am not trained enough, I'm out of shape...

I tried to trail run on Friday, but about two ish miles in I decided it wasn't worth it to cause more tension in my calf and ruin my weekend long runs. LACROSSE BALL. Also, I've almost convinced myself that I am not taking in enough calories to support the mileage change. I'm working on that.

I decided that my body obviously is trying to tell me that it needs a recovery week. So I rearranged my schedule to reflect this week as recovery, next week's long runs will be 26-10, then 0-31, 24-10, 13.1-14, 10-6, race. So no more recovery weeks until it's time to taper. The shining element out of all of this is at least I am comfortable and confident on trails now! I need to see if I can find a cheap trail shoe with more cushion than my sportivas. A friend recommended the Montrail Masochists, so we'll see. She runs 100s in them. I love the sportivas so much, but they are not for long distances. It seems like there is virtually no cushioning in them. I tried my pair of Cascadias 6 again and they just will not work. Ever. Not even for a short trail run. They suck.

So on a different note (not really...just a bad segway), I was doing some research for my man...since we signed up for the Bear Chase 50 Mile run in Lakewood, CO on Sept 30. It will be his first attempt (and completion) at a 50 miler, and it will be my second attempt (and hopefully second completion, lord willing the NF 50 goes well!). He's as eager as I was when the training plan was fresh and untainted with my sweat, blood (yes, blood), and tears. Oh so many tears...

Anyway, he wants to find some trail races that fit into the training schedule. So I got to lookin. Then I got to thinkin. As I was looking for a trail marathon around Sept 8 and a 50k around Aug 26, that I never actually finished researching because I found the Hardrock 100 which is a well known 100 miler, (seriously, don't you just love run-on sentences? Again, supporting the fact that my mom is right. I should not be a teacher), I started thinking about all those crazy trail ultra runners I know. I look up to all of them because they have far surpassed my mileage goals and keep encouraging me to think about going even farther. So when I came across Hardrock 100, I had also been texting with K. I jokingly said, 'what will you ever do if I say I'm doing a 100 miler?' Bring Bring (that's the phone....). She called me immediately. 'YOU BETTER CALL ME THE SECOND YOU SIGN UP SO I CAN COME PACE YOU. THERE, OR LEADVILLE, WHEREVER.' (which btw I do aspire to attempt the 50 and 100 of Leadville. Probably before Hardrock, because Hardrock has some interesting rules about registration).  Interesting reaction, and not one that I expected at all. I expected her to scoff at the idea of so many miles, call me crazy, etc. Have a normal reaction. But no, I think she's adjusted to my madness, and with that easy acceptance, I allowed myself to fully consider the hope of one day competing in a 100 miler (don't freak out, Mom). I would LOVE a belt buckle, but one that comes cheaper and with less hoopla than WS100 does. Though, I'm not saying I wouldn't do WS100 IF I ever qualified, got accepted by the lottery, and could pay the $350 or whatever the outrageous fee is, plus the cost of travel...

I love this new community I've found myself in. I've researched ultra/trail running groups in CO and I am so excited to join them out there and learn so much from everyone (seems I will be one of the younger folks in the pack). One of the best things I've learned so far is how individual this sport is. What works for one will not work for all. And with that individuality, and the lonely environment of running for over 6 hours, I feel so welcome by everyone and so included.

What's not to love about ultra running?

In finale, I bring you to something I read from NoMeatAthlete.com when he was training for NFE 50 Mile in 2010, with eight weeks remaining.

"Only eight weeks left until I run 50 miles at the North Face Endurance Challenge in Washington, D.C. ! Sometimes that's exciting; other times it makes me want to soil myself. I have this terrible fear that somehow I'm going to wake up on race day morning completely unprepared for the distance..."

Yup, that's what I think too. Good to know I'm not alone with those thoughts. 

Also would like to share this: http://www.hawaiianshirtray.com/training-exercise/50-mile-training-program/

"Here is the secret to a successful 50 mile training program; push tired muscles.  You need to get comfortable pushing muscles that have not recovered from yesterdays long run.  Keep this in mind, during your 50 mile training program you will never be as tired as you will be when you are actually racing.  So, when you are pushing tired muscles during training, you need to tell yourself when you start to cry-babying, that this is not even close to what it will feel like on race day."

Yikes, so much to look forward to!  :D

Happy trails, everyone!

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