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Ultra Marathon? Anyone?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I've been researching ultra marathons...

When I went to pick up my packet the day before my race (North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain - Half Marathon) a lot of the 50 milers were coming in, along with the marathoners, 50k, and Marathon relay participants. They do the longer events on Saturday and the Half, 10K and 5K on Sunday. I was mesmerized by the 50 milers.

All participants receive a red technical shirt, you then head over to the shirt screening tent and tell them which event you've done or are going to do and they screen it for you. I was on line with a couple of 50 milers and yes I was staring in awe at the attractive but otherwise normal looking 30 something year old man and woman and I stupidly asked with the slightest tone of incredulity, "you just ran 50 miles?" They looked over at me, shrugged their shoulders and nonchalantly, said, "yeah". Well, I was impressed, as were my 13 y.o. son and his good buddy who came up with me.

Days later I'm still in awe and now I'm contemplating running that race next year.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 7/20/2012 10:16PM

    50K. Holy toledo, Batman! That completely fascinates me!

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OPTIMIST1948 5/15/2012 11:45AM

    Like many, I'm amazed at those who do Ultras, but I dont think that's in my particular future. But who knows?? Never say never!

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WINACHST 5/12/2012 9:46PM

    I just ran my first half marathon and there were mile markers for the marathon on the same route; to me running that many miles did not make sense to me. But who knows? A year ago 13.1 miles did not make much sense either.

In about a month, I am going to do a half of a half trail run; I am going to heed the advice you posted in the comments and make sure I get some training done on trails.

Good luck on the marathon.

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CINDYTW 5/10/2012 4:27PM

  I have a friend that does ultras. Amazing to me!

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JTAYLOR2011 5/10/2012 10:27AM

    By no means am I committing myself to do a 50 mile race at this point. My focus is on getting ready for my first Marathon in October in 20 weeks. I'm actually fairly conservative in my approach to these things due mostly to self preservation! For example, several people that I met along the way, some of the people I mention in my previous blog, did not adequately prepare for the Half. Never ever would I do that.

Where I didn't prepare for the trail half, I realize now, is by not getting time and experience on technical trails. The consequence was a lot of cramping and tightening up in the last few miles and a good bit of delayed onset muscle soreness for a few days as trail running uses different muscles. 98% of my training was on roads and treadmills.

I'll assess after the Marathon what's next and if I decide that it's a 50 miler you better believe that I'll be ready to roll when the starting gun goes off! Yeah!!

Chronic cardio, interesting. I think that's a hot topic worthy of exploring.

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NATPLUMMER 5/10/2012 9:43AM

    I wouldn't even contemplate an Ultra until after I've tried a full marathon.

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KARENDEE4 5/10/2012 9:12AM

    50 miles? How do they do that? My body would collapse. lol



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HOUNDLOVER1 5/10/2012 1:04AM

    I've been fascinated by the idea of ultras as well. I know they are not about speed at all and I would not completely rule out ever doing one. In minimalist shoes I think the danger of permanent damage is far lower.
I did just read the book "Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson and he talks about "chronic cardio" as a potentially very harmful thing. The definition is any training (other than occasional sprints and strength training) over 75% of maximum heart rate.
I'm even wondering if it would be safer to run an Ultra at a lower speed compared to running a half-marathon or marathon at a much higher speed. The slower speed would be more like hiking.
I just read that Micah True (Caballo Blanco) died of heart failure, and there seem to be more cases of long-distance runners dying of heart failure. Maybe all the dangers can be avoided by training (and racing) at low-to moderate intensity.

Comment edited on: 5/10/2012 1:08:43 AM

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RUNBAREFOOTMAMA 5/10/2012 12:13AM

    Not sure I''l ever make an ultra, but, I am amazed by the people that do it.
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Nicknames on the Run!

Monday, May 07, 2012

For you runners out there! Do you give nicknames to the other runners when you race?

I do!!

From the Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago there was: "Zombie Man" as he was talking about a weird race in NJ where Zombies chase you... Zombie man was struggling at mile 4 when I passed him; 5K Lady, she was super nice (runner’s high?) as she passed me at mile 3, she had only run 5Ks up until then... I caught up and passed her at around mile 9 towards the base of the monster hill; the Bankers, they were a 50 something trio and they were going on about money issues at mile 4, I kept them in my sights, caught them at mile 8, talked with them -- "you're doing great," said one of the ladies, "she really means that as she's not a very nice person," said the guy... they all laughed. They were concerned as this was my first race, they wanted to be sure that I was hydrating and 'jelling' appropriately. I left them on the monster hill at about 9.5 miles.

At about 6.5 miles I caught up to this older gentleman who looks just like Burt Yasso -- I kid you not. I quickly learned that it wasn't him when he started asking me basic beginner running questions, he was a super nice guy though. He started making these loud noises, "Woo-HA!" and such which was starting to concern me... I think he was trying to match my pace... so I bid him farewell after a mile and a half so he could slow the heck down and not have a heart attack or something.

The guy parked next to me was The Professor. He was a very stately and elegant man, perhaps 60 something. “You picked a tough Half Marathon for your first race.” He gave a very clueless me advice on how and where to pin the number and what to do with the chip that was attached to the number. I saw him at the end of the race.

There was Jack Black and the Hipsters. Jack Black was slightly heavy set guy that I never talked to until after the race but we eyed up each other and he passed me after a while as he was committed to doing a 10 min pace... I ran 10:05. The Hipsters were these two cool 20 something local guys who run the race every year. Lenin, one of the Hipsters, was tightening up so I cruised on at 10.5 miles and dug in for the remainder of the race.

In yesterday’s race -- The North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon at Bear Mountain -- there weren’t as many folks who received my nicknames but here are a few: Jack Black II, we had the same trail running shoes, he also didn’t talk but he wasn’t as fast as Jack I. The Businessman, an odd fellow who wore a button down oxford shirt. The New York Giants, two HUGE guys, super nice, “we prefer the trails, running on pavement is no good for us”, they were telling me at mile 5 (where I passed them). They reassured me later, “...you’ll see us around, we stick out,” when I saw them at the finish line.

My companion from the start until the awful sharp rock zone was Barefoot Dude (Kirt)... a doctor and dad of two little ones who ran the 1K kid race. The Soccer Moms who had a nice pace until the ‘Mountains’ where Barefoot Dude and I passed them. Oh, and how can I forget, Runner’s World Cover Girl... a Nordic Goddess in sporty fashionable but tiny shorts and just a sports bra and six pack abs... unfortunately she ran behind me for most of the race!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPTIMIST1948 5/9/2012 11:57AM

    I keep an eye on people but never thought of giving them nicknames. What a fun idea. And this was a fun race report! If I keep up with this fitness thing, perhaps we can meet up next year.

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NATPLUMMER 5/8/2012 3:53PM

    Fun people...they do help make the race :-)

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PDQ1203 5/8/2012 9:39AM

    emoticon
absolutely i do!

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CAROLCRC 5/8/2012 8:03AM

    Oh, yeah... there's turkey hat head, and lots of other costumed runners at out local turkey trot - I nickname them all by the costume or if there's something wierd about how they run. Sounds like you had a good race!

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HOUNDLOVER1 5/8/2012 12:10AM

    That was fun to read. emoticon
I have no idea how you remember that many names. I could see myself doing that and having fun with it though.

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JTAYLOR2011 5/7/2012 11:07PM

    Yeah, and khaki cargo shorts with a bottle of Poland Spring water in his back pocket. He was an experienced runner too, 20+ years, dozens upon dozens of races. Very odd I thought.

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RUNBAREFOOTMAMA 5/7/2012 10:49PM

    emoticon A button down oxford shirt..... hmmmm

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Taking Care on the Way There

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm just getting to a point (almost there!) where I can write about Sunday's Half -- such a wonderful experience. However, my pesky right achilles starting to hurt about half way though. I ran for 30 mins yesterday and did a ST workout afterwards. Seems like I've had a jump in fitness, I ran an avg of 10 min miles easily within my first zone, 65% and under. Nice...

The achilles felt better today. Instead of icing it as I've been the last couple of days... I did a foot ice bath... (at work today, I washed out my paper recycle bin, loaded it with ice and water and in that foot went!) can we say COLD! I did 15 mins... too long! then another 10 mins... From now on 10 mins, break then 10 more mins. I'm feeling optimistic about getting it healthy. Took today off, tomorrow I'll run again.

Ok, some goals: the Marathon is Oct 7th... by then I'll be 25 lbs lighter (5lbs a month... doable) and running 8:45 for a 3:50 marathon. Doable? Why yes, yes it is!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NATPLUMMER 4/26/2012 12:58PM

    Yay for a jump in fitness!!
Yes, those ice baths are very cold.

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CAROLCRC 4/26/2012 8:27AM

    Love it when those jumps in fitness happen! Seems like they sneak up on you - a plateau of holding steady and then all of a sudden a huge gain in a week or so.

Looking forward to hearing more about the half.

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OPTIMIST1948 4/25/2012 10:53PM

    Rest is impt too. Take care of yourself. Nice plan of action!

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Run a Marathon? Why?!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A member of one of the Spark Boards I'm on posted the question, "Why run a marathon?" She signed up for an October race like I have and seems to be checking her motivations and perhaps is looking for a bit of encouragement.

I'm really enjoying contemplating this question. I've been training for a Half Marathon that is now just a week away. It's my first race since college track, ages ago, when I was sprinter/hurdler and the distance runners seemed like aliens. About 10 years ago I started walking then running and lost 50 lbs. I have since gone through several cycles of gaining and losing weight. A year ago I settled into a new community where life is more stable and instead of a 60 to 90 minute commute work is 3 minutes away on foot. I decided to pick a race and train for it.

Training has taken me from being an off again on again jogger into becoming an athlete once again. It's been a tremendous learning experience and after 7 months I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of this sport. There's always something new to experience, an envelope to be pushed, breakthroughs being made and sometimes setbacks to go through and learn from. Sometimes my runs take me on (nearly) wild adventures that bring a level of fun and excitement like I've not had since childhood. Other runs have been more routine... but every one of them gives me a sense of accomplishment and gives me valuable lessons, tangible and intangible.

Last weekend while in Williamsburg, VA visiting my folks, I ran 13 miles (ok, 12.75), it flew by. What once seemed like a really long distance now is just par for course. The 2nd half of the run I picked up the pace -- which wasn’t my intention, this was to be a long slow run -- I got faster and then faster. I had thrown out the original plan and was running at my ‘Joy’ pace and having a blast. Interestingly, running fast can give me a sense of flight. So one of my ‘whys’ is, “I want to fly.”

So why do I want to run a marathon? I started with the goal of running a Half Marathon. Training has gone well my long runs got longer and longer... 5 miles turned 6, 7.4, 8.5, 10 miles on up to 15. Half of the time I’d announce the latest distance achieved on Facebook and get dozens of thumbs-ups and comments. Well, I’ve really enjoyed these runs! A couple of months ago I was actually anxious about what to do after the Half in April. I started researching and reading about Marathons and decided that indeed, I’m ready, this will be the year that I run one. Ok, decision made. I then decided to do one either 9 or 11 weeks after my second Half (after next Sunday’s Half (April 22) I’m doing a trail Half two weeks later, (May 6). Well, folks on this board and other ones seriously recommended that I rethink doing a Marathon so soon afterwards, I was convinced. So, I decided to shoot for an October race.

Why? I’m having a ton of fun, learning a great deal, being challenged in new and exciting ways as I fall in love with this sport. It’s helping me to create a desired level of health and keeping me sane (and out of trouble)! On most days, I love running. I have a desire to be stronger and faster than I am today and running a marathon will help make this happen.

Why? For the sheer joy of it!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPHLOKI 5/11/2012 7:40AM

    All the Best for your marathon! I remember my first - and so far only - full, which was high altitude (duuuhhh I live in high altitude...LOL) on top of it. It was an amazing experience. It was only my second really big race and the first half I was frustrated, since I felt I was getting left behind by my usual running mates. Turns out I was smarter.... LOL.... they were wearing themselves out and took 30 minutes and more longer than I in the end. My goal was 5 hours, then when I reached the big stadium and had less than 10km to go I saw I had done under 3 hours so far. I was totally exhausted and had been fighting, but the fact that I had only done less than 3 hours by then gave me a kick. I knew I was well under my goal, started taking my time and enjoying myself. I even went to the first AID tent and showed them how to mix the oral rehydration salts since they were giving them out in the sacchets. Then I continued sometimes running, some times walking. the last 3 km I ran on adrenalin thinking "i am actually doing it, I am finishing a marathon" I even managed some sort of s sprint in the end. It was the most amazing feeling ever!. So enjoy it!

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HOUNDLOVER1 4/30/2012 11:56AM

    You sound like you have a lot of fun running. That tells me that a marathon is probably right for you. I'm still not quite decided on it myself after having done the half distance 3 times now. But running is good if running is fun and if nothing hurts.
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SLIMMERJESSE 4/23/2012 9:49AM

    Good for you! Best wishes.

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NATPLUMMER 4/23/2012 9:42AM

    I totally understand the why! :-)

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PAPAMIKIE 4/23/2012 2:07AM

    Because runners run. From one accidental runner to another. After I started running my father-in-law asked,"So when will you do a marathon."

I said, "I have no plan to do a marathon."

He said, "Not yet."

I told Gramie not to worry, a Marathon is just to far. So I talk about doing a double half.

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PDQ1203 4/16/2012 9:30AM

    emoticon

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MNCYCLIST 4/16/2012 9:29AM

    Just to know that i did it--then I'd rather focus on the shorter distances, especially the 10K. Thanks for the blog!

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KARENDEE4 4/16/2012 8:16AM

    So great you are ready! Good Luck!

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CAROLCRC 4/15/2012 8:28PM

    Love it! I'm constantly being asked "why?" and don't really have a good answer. I like your reasoning.

So far my best answer has been "why not?" but too many people start giving me reasons when I say that!

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A WooHoo Week!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I had a Woo Hoo Week!

Monday, 14.7 mile long slow run;
Wednesday 8 min repeats @ 8:57 pace, total of 6.3 miles;
Friday 7.9 hilly run, 1200 feet of elevation, some of it I even had to climb FUN;
Sunday 90 mins easy, @ 11:03 pace (a new easy pace for me) for 8.15 miles, 3 min rest then a 28:16 min 5K just 11 seconds slower than a 5K trial run I did when I was fresh a couple of weeks ago, 11.25 miles. (I then went to my favorite hour long yoga class).

Total mileage for the week -- 40 miles -- longest ever. WOO HOO!

My first Half is 5 weeks away and I'm feeling ready!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-PAULA 3/23/2012 4:44PM

    You are going to do great on your first half. 40 miles! Woo Hoo!

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JUNEPA 3/20/2012 12:07AM

    You are going to rock that HM !!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 3/19/2012 10:28PM

    Just think how great you'll feel after your taper!

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GUILDWARSGIRL 3/19/2012 10:26PM

  Wow, great job!! Keep it up!

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OPTIMIST1948 3/19/2012 9:45PM

    I'm intimidated.

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JOPAPGH 3/19/2012 9:14PM

    I would say you are ready. I only ran those kinds of weekly miles in marathon training.

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