I’ve definitely fallen off the blog post bandwagon, so its time to get back on(line). It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished my first 50K race that I had been building up to over the past few months so I thought I would check back in with where I am at.
First of all, I am happy to report that I still have the desire to run Ultra races! 50K didn’t scare me off – in fact, I am planning to run another one at the beginning of November. I was surprised at how quick my legs bounced back from Run for the Toad, and I am eager to implement some of my hard learned lessons in another race. I have basically rolled my training plan from Run for the Toad back a few weeks to prepare for this race, and so far its been going well. I did my longest runs this past weekend and aside from a bit of soreness I am feeling pretty good.
The three biggest lessons I hope to implement for my next 50K are pacing, nutrition, and pushing through pain. I definitely want to even out my overall pace – in my first 50K the difference between my first and last lap was over 50%. I plan (really this time!) to go out slower and achieve a more consistent effort through the full distance. Last time it went: Lap 1 – Great, Lap 2 – Good, Lap 3 – Bad, Lap 4 – Terrible. My hope this time to bring the “great” closer to “good” and then carry that through to the end (or as close as possible to the end).
In terms of nutrition, I have been practicing on my longer training runs. I plan to stick with gels for the race and carry water in a handheld. There are less aid stations on this course so I will need to be more self-sufficient in terms of hydration. I am going to cut back on the electrolyte fluids in hopes that my stomach will be a bit more settled this time. This area of racing is definitely a work in progress.
Finally, I need to do a better job of managing the inevitable pain that comes with running this distance. In my first 50K I had set a finishing time goal that was out of reach by the time I started my last lap. This left without any external forces pushing me on. I shifted my mental focus to finishing – not finishing fast, but just crossing the finish line. I feel like I should have left a lot more out on the course but I just wasn’t in the right mental mindframe to suffer that day. This time I will be expecting it, and be ready to deal with it.
I don’t think I am going to set a time goal for this race (or a finishing place goal). I don’t know the course or any of the other racers at all. Instead my goal is to improve in the areas I mentioned, and to have a race where I am happy with the effort. I’ll be focused on doing my best to make sure that happens!
My longer term goals are to run a 50 miler in the spring, and possibly 100km before the end of next summer/fall. I will be working on a winter training plan to start ramping up to these bigger distances.
In other exciting news, I have started volunteering with an awesome organization – impossible2Possible. i2P is a non-profit founded by Canadian ultrarunning legend Ray Zahab, and run by an amazing group of volunteers who I am slowly getting to know. The group aims to educate, inspire and empower youth by selecting ambassadors to participate in expeditions which are followed by students all over the world. Along with the adventure component is the educational component with curriculum based on the location of the expedition. I am really excited to contribute to this group and learn from its amazing team and youth ambassadors. Check it out at www.impossible2possible.com
So that’s what I’ve been up to – I am also looking forward to cheering on my wife in her first half-marathon this weekend. She decided a few weeks ago to come out of her retirement from running and do a half. This was my first half-marathon a couple of years ago, and I still remember the incredible feeling when I crossed the finish line beside Niagara Falls. I’m excited for her to feel the same sense of accomplishment. I’ll be at the finish line with our kids when she crosses and I can’t wait!