50 Miles, Take 2

22 Jun

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you also can’t teach a young dog old tricks until he stops barking up the wrong tree. I have no idea what I meant by that, but I’m going to try to run 50 miles again! This post begins a sporadic series within the blog in which I’ll chronicle my training and preparations en route to completing my first official ultra marathon race.

First Take

The first attempt went, well, I wouldn’t say poorly, it just wasn’t successful. I ran 40 miles on a treadmill with a facebook cheering section giving me youtube links to songs and encouraging me as I had my iPad in front of me (like usual). You can read about that adventure here.

I learned a lot on that run. I learned not to put a bar you’ve never eaten in your life into your stomach in like 5 bites. I learned that I should actually train if I seriously want to make it. I learned it’s really hard to go that long on a treadmill with no physical cheering section present. I also learned that the staff at the YMCA would like a heads up next time I try to do that! For the record I love that place and all the people there. They rule.

Plumbing the Depths

That first 50 mile attempt was in part about finding my (then) current fitness limitations. I’d never run until I wasn’t able to run any more. I got pretty close to that point that day. I wish I could say without a doubt I was there, but there’s always that lingering suspicion that I could have marshaled my fears and pain and finished.

Making it Official, or “Forking Over the Dough”

Whichever of those is the biggest motivator, it seems that for me when register for and put a race on my calendar the challenge becomes real. I don’t like throwing money into the wind and so when I send in my fee I unrelentingly commit to making it pay dividends in terms of achievement, self-confidence, and adventure. I struggled to make running a consistent part of my life for ten years. Then I registered for a marathon and I was all in. It felt so good to set a big goal and then to work for it and take its.

Why I Will Finish

Last time I was running a lot (around 40-50 miles a week) and decided to try for 50 on a whim two weeks prior to my attempt. This time I’ll have had four months to prepare specifically for the race. Now to find a good plan… jump in with any suggestions. There are lots of marathon training plans out there. Not nearly as many 50 mile race plans. Go figure.

I am changing my nutrition. I hired a personal trainer to create meal plans. I’m losing weight. I really, really want/need to lose 20 pounds prior to the race. Try running with 20 extra pounds in a backpack and let me know how you like it. I don’t want that backpack on come race day. No, you can’t have a piggyback-ride on October 20th. After that we’ll talk. I’m all about random piggyback rides.

I also have an ultra running mentor… I think. I don’t want to share their name here, but I’m thankful for advice and encouragement I’ve received. I love mentoring folks in my areas of interest and experience, but I haven’t had too many myself. It’s nice!

The Race

I’m running the “Fall 50″ in Door County, Wisconsin (known for it’s cherries, wineries, and pristine beauty) on October 20, 2012. It is a relay or solo event. The 400 relay team spots sold out within a week. There were 200 solo runner spots and it appears that brand of insanity isn’t quite as popular because there are still openings.

I’m so excited for this race. You have no idea. I think I’m at least as excited as I was before my first marathon. The difference is that I know somehow I’m going to complete the race. The marathon was a ludicrous decision made by a desperate man spiraling toward obesity. I didn’t know if I could do it. There may be complications along the way, but this time I expect them, but I trust in my God to help me overcome them to finish the race set before me.

Maybe I’m too confident, I don’t know. Is there such a thing? Hope is a powerful and daring thing. Don’t let the fear of disappointment keep you from reaching toward your dreams.

Run With Me!

No, you don’t have to run 50 miles. I just mean that I want to hear about how your training is going. Let me know what races you’re running this summer/fall season in the comments below. Whether you’re running your first 5k or your third Leadville 100, I want to hear about your next adventure.

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