Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why stop at 26.2??

Guess I've rambled on about this before, but I'm amazed at the mental barrier that exists at 26.2 miles!

True . . . a marathon is hard . . . really hard. For many folks a marathon is the ultimate running challenge. I definitely remember my first marathon. I trained for 16 weeks. Hard. Dealt with injuries. But still started the race with doubts about my ability to finish the full 26.2 miles. When I got a spot near the finish line where I KNEW I would finish, I started crying! Yea . . . I know . . . but I did! It was the hardest damn thing I had every done . . . by far! I didn't have another 50 yards of running in me. At least that's what I thought.

I did quite a few more and each time when I got to the finish I WAS DONE! Nothing left in the tank.

But then I joined the Mangum Track Club thanks to an invitation by Cam Kelley. After the 15 mile "shirt run" required to join the club, we all stood around and talked . . . mainly about running. Soon it became clear I was probably the ONLY person there that had ONLY run a marathon. One really neat lady, Marie Lewis, had just finished a 100 mile run, and most everyone was talking about one 50 miler vs another.

This started me thinking about distances longer than 26.2 miles. So that spring I tried my first ultramarathon . . . a 50k event called the Capon Valley 50k. It about killed me but I did it! And it wasn't the distance, it was the hills / mountains! I've done several since and I now think I understand!!

It's not the distance! No . . . It's how far you PLAN on running that really matters. If you start out thinking your going to run a 10k, its hard to keep going and do 10 miles. Get your mind set on a 1/2 marathon and a marathon is impossible. If you start out to run a marathon, any further it just too far. BUT, if you start out thinking I'm running 31 miles, its no big deal when you pass the marathon point . . . you know you still got 5+ miles to got and you are ready for it.

Basically, it's all in your mind once you pass a minimum fitness level.

I'm getting ready to test this "theory" when I try to run 50 miles for the first time. Stay tuned and see if my theory proves true. In the mean time . . . if you are a marathoner . . . try a 50k!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Washington's Birthday Marathon

If you are planning your 2010 marathon schedule, this is one to miss!

Okay . . . if I had had a great run, maybe my view would be different. As it was, it wasn't one of my better days. Started out too fast and the course just didn't fit me very well.

A few good things though:

1) Met some neat people - Three folks I ran with blew me away. One lady, Caroline Williamson, had run a trail 50k the DAY before!!! Two others ladies (Tammy and Tammy!!) had run the Rocky Raccoon 50 miler the weekend before! I felt totally inadequate running with these three!! Plus, ran in to a few other runners I sort of knew (Monica Nop and "Redbird"). Picture is of one of the Tammy's and Caroline on the right.

2) Nice Shirt. It wasn't coton, but nice looking.

3) My daughter, Laurie, and her boyfriend jeff Lamb surprised me at the finish line! Connie came on the trip with me and she knew they were coming, but I was VERY surprised! Laurie is in College of Charleston in Charleston, SC and Jeff is at Georgetown in DC. Laurie was up visiting for the long weekend but I expected them to spend their precious little time together. What a nice surprise!

4) The race had an early start (9:30 am) for us slow runners, and the real race started at 10:30. Better for volunteers and for us turtles.

5) One man . . . one boom box . . . out cheering by himself in 40 degree temps for all three laps! He rocks!! I always amazes me how someone cheering and shouting encourgement help! He was amazing!

But the race negatives were major to me.

1) First, the course was not closed to traffic so we had to run on the left and the roads were very crowned. Not good . . . lots of stress on your left ankle and hip. My hip is fine but my left ankle is killing me! Pain started at about mile 17 or so! Several times I considered quitting! I've never done that before!

2) The course was weird . . . you run about 2-3 miles to get to the loop, run three loops in a triangle (one leg was pretty, the other two sucked!), then back. The one leg was really nice . . . wooded, farmland, etc. on a very lightly traveled road but the second leg had more traffic and way less to look at. The third leg was just BAD! Lot's of traffic and no views.

3) The medal was not dated!! Just a sticker on the back with the date! I've got to admit, I really like getting a medal for either a marathon or ultra. I'm not much on giving medals for lessor distances except for kids.

4) Mixed feeling about the marathon relay. Added confusion but do like to see ways of getting more people out there! At least the folks at the relay exchange point cheered some!!! Relay runners had different color sashes depeding on the event they entered. Guess that make the race management easier, but I would have liked a different color sash for each leg . . . yellow for the first lap, green for the second lap runner and red for the last lap runner.

5) Everything was confusing! Hard to find race hotel, check-in process seemed unplanned, race day packet pickup was the same, Pretty much nothing at the finish line. I believe with just a little more pre-planning all this could be fixed.

Overall, a good race to miss unless they make some significant changes . . . esecially with the course itself. Seems to me like perhaps they could make this a combo road run using the first leg on the road and a trail section looping back through the Goddard Space prperty . . . know permissions might be hard to work out but something needs to be done.

Lavely, you didn't miss much!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Getting Ready

Okay . . . if you didn't know . . . my running goal this year is to run 50 miles.

After a lot of back and forth searches for the "perfect race" to make my try I have settled on something that is not a race at all! I'm going to RUN the Rocky Mount Relay for Life put on by the American Cancer Society on April 24th. While it's not a race at all, I do believe it will be a good place to try to reach my goal.

The Positives
  • It will be flat! No hills on a track!
  • There should be a lot of supportive people around.
  • Aid station every lap.
  • Medical help is always close.
  • A bathroom every 400 meters!
  • A chance to raise money to help in the fight against cancer.
  • I'll have 24 hours to finish.
  • I won't have to drive much after I finish.
The Negatives
  • Going "round and round" may get old REALLY quick. Boring!
  • Walkers will inadvertently get in my way.
  • All the noise (music, PA, etc) may get on my nerves and there will be no way to escape!
All in all, this should be a good place to try. But will I be ready?

I hope so. I ran a 50k race on Jan 9th and another on Jan 31st. I plan to run another 50k in late Feb and one in late March. Plus, two or three marathons in there somewhere. Then, have a two or three week taper.

Hope this will be enough!

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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.