After not doing a running race for two years, I was fortunate to ‘PR’ a half marathon (that I rode my bike to!) and even improved on my best marathon time during Vineman this year. Yay! It’s a amazing what a little extra effort and some speed work will do, isn’t it?
In an attempt to keep some momentum from this year through the winter (and not gain a ton of weight!) I’m signed up for my first ultra run the High Desert 50k in Ridgecrest, CA. As of now, our Swarm! crew of cyclists turned runners is heading out there 5 deep. It’s fitting because it is not far from Death Valley and the Furnace Creek 508 course, which is the last event most of us have done.
Ultra-running is appealing for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that it parallels the type of cycling I do. Not just in distance or time, but in the philosophy that the journey is as, or more important, than the destination. Sure, people run in circles in ultra-runs (A 3-mile loop 33 times? No thank you.), but many of them are point to point. Oh, and almost all of them are on trails. In beautiful places. With only hundreds of people. Much, much different than, say, the Los Angeles marathon with its 40,000 people pounding the pavement.
The question is, can I still get away with only running three times a week? I think I can. Will I have to do really long, slow runs that take all day? As of now, I don’t think I will. The idea is to use long races to build up to even longer ones. I’m already eying the Avalon 50 miler that takes place on Catalina island in January. Is the goal to run a 100-miler? Yes, it is. More on that in another post.
If anyone else is with me here, I’ve compiled some resources (with daylight savings time making it dark before 5pm I’m having trouble leaving the house so this is what I do). First is No Meat Athlete’s 63 Ways to Shake Up Your Running Routine. Got to keep it fun. There are a few magazines like Ultrarunning and Trail Running to keep the stokedtivity levels high. Ultrunr.com has the most information for training for longer runs and this NY Times article discusses ‘pushing past the pain’.
Are you ready to sign up for a long run? The best listing of ultras I’ve found is at ultrasignup.com. I especially appreciate that they show the logo for each race. Maybe it’s the punk in me who loves show fliers! It says so much about what the race is like. Also ultrarunning.com has a calendar with a bunch of races.
I’ll be sure to post updates about my training, though it’s getting down to the wire. I had some trouble getting out to run in Boston (rain) and New York (got tattooed), but am still feeling confident. Safe riding and running! See you out there. And don’t forget to sign up for my twitter if you haven’t already done so.