Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Perfect Day?

What a great day for running!

Headed out this morning at about 9 am. Temperatures were in the low 50s and it was cloudy . . . with no wind! Just a fun day. Ended up doing about 13.5 and managed an 10:50 pace. Not so shabby for me. Just a totally enjoyable run. Did the last 4 miles in my subdivision and I couldn't believe how many people were out walking! And even passed one runner! Wow! The mild temperatures were just want everyone was looking for.

Got my new GPS and tried it out today. I believe it is more sensitive than my old one I lost. Can't wait to try it at Medoc! My old one never worked there so hopefully this new Garmin 205 will do the trick! Maybe tomorrow I go run 6-8 miles there and see. The map part isn't all that great, According to the map, I started my run about 50 yards off-shore! And managed to run about 3 miles in the water!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How hard is an Ultra?

A good friend, Michael Forrester, just finished running a really good race at the Disney Marathon. Near the end of our conversation, Michael said something like "Yeah . . . but this was just a marathon. It pales next to running your 50k." I said something like "But a 50k really isn't much harder than a 50k" which he dismissed quickly.

Interesting . . . must people think an ultra is WAY harder than whatever it is they are doing. They know how tired they feel when they finish a marathon and they can't imagine going further. I, too, have fallen in this logical trap! It seems to make sense. But it's simply not true!

Even today, when I run a marathon, I'm spent at the end! In my mind I couldn't go any further. But I do go further when I run a 50k! Do I run slower at a 50k? Maybe a little slower, not not so much. Do I walk more? Not really.

I think the answer is all in your head! We mentally prepare for something and when we get to the end . . . that's it! I think a marathoner would easily be able to finish a 50k by JUST preparing for a marathon! No more training miles needed! The difference will be when you go to the race you know you're going to run 31 miles, not 26.2 miles.

I actually believe the same thing is true for running a marathon. All the "experts" tell us we need to run at least one 18-20 miler in training. And maybe to run a fast marathon, this is true! Certainly, it does help with your personal confidence. But if you just want to finish 26.2 miles, you can easily get by with less.

Most folks running their first marathon have as their primary goal "to finish." I believe if one enters a 50k with the same goal, they will find the same thing I have found. A 50k is harder than a marathon, but not THAT much harder! Maybe you don't run quite so fast . . . but you can do it. It's just making your mind up to try!

I hope this holds true for running 50 miles! I'm told by many folks who have run 50 that it is! Guess I'll find out for sure pretty soon!

In the mean time, you marathoners consider trying a 50k . . . I think you'll be surprised!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Frosty 50k

Today was a great day at the Frosty 50k!

Temperatures started in the 20s but not too bad at all. The Frosty course takes the group on a nice, flat trail around Salem Lake and then on a paved green way for a couple of miles. Turn around and run back. Lap 1 completed . . . about 15.6 or so. Turn around and do it again! The trail really is pretty flat and very scenic. A great place to run! The Twin Cities Track Club does a nice job with this event. Only thing lacking was I REALLY wanted lobster when I pass the aid station around 23 miles . . . but they told me they had just run out! Go figure! They did offer crab legs but that just wasn't the same!

I wasn't flying but I did well. Passed the marathon point at 5:27 and ended with a 6:38. My previous best was about 8:10, so I REALLY PRed here! Of course, that 8:10 was on a course where we climbed a mountain . . . twice. Plus I got lost and ran an extra 2 miles. But still . . . I PRed!! Whee!! My big accomplish was to not get lapped by the eventual winner! Had to really book it for 2 miles so he wouldn't pass me. He ran a 3:09 50k and a course record.

Frosty 50k comments:
o interesting and beautify course
o nice and flat
o nice shirt (wish it were cotton)
o neat finisher's medal.
o fun people, great crowd!
o volunteers were great. How much do I appreciate the folks who tank their personal time to make our day better? They totally rock!
o aid stations were very good . . . water, Gatorade (or similar) peanut butter, bagels, Krispy Creme donuts, pretzels, M&M, cookies . . . etc.

All in all a REALLY fun race and a great day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 . . . Ready, Set, GO!

In some ways, 2008 was a great year! A lot of big events: James got married, Eric Spencer (my nephew) got married, Michael got into Clemson's graduate school . . . But 2008 was a tough year in other ways. No matter, 2008 is done.

Running wise (and that is what this blog is supposed to be about primarily!) I did achieve my 2008 goal of 12 marathons during the year (okay, I originally said "a marathon a month" but getting sick killed that possibility so a slightly adjusted!) Turns out 12 marathons in a year really wasn't all that hard to do. So . . . what are my 2009 goals going to be?

For one thing, I do plan to stay active running. I do enjoy the longer distances more than the 5-10k type races. Plus, I don't seem to have as many injuries since I backed off the speed and increased distances. But "staying active" isn't much of a goal. I guess I want a goal that will be hard to accomplish. One that I may even fail if I attempt it. An easy goal isn't much of a goal.

So for 2009 I want to run 50 miles . . . in one run. Probably I'll do this at some official race . . . probably attempt it fairly early in the year so I'll have time for a second attempt, if necessary. I do want to find an event where the course is flat! But it would be pretty cool to maybe run 1/2 of Shenandoah National Park! That would take quite a bit of support and crew assistance. Still, it's something to consider.

But it does seem like this goal has what is necessary to be a good 2009 goal . . . simple, specific, hard and possible. So, that's it. A 50-miler in 2009.

How about you?

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.