Sunday, November 18, 2012

50 Miles is a long way

Hi all -

Just a quick post to update that I successfully completed my first (and potentially only) 50 mile race - the JFK 50 - yesterday.  Just over 10 hours and a lot of running.  Feeling good today and flying back to LA shortly.

State 14 in the bag as well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

50 Miler Go Go!

Hmm.  My last post occurred in September.  The calendar shows November over half complete.  Did I give up running?  Nope, just have not written about it for a bit.  Actually, I have penned a number of partial posts that I just did not get around to finishing yet.  But I will.

After tomorrow.

With my friend Thomas Riddle during the Spinx Greenville SC Marathon -
just one of the awesome experiences I have not written about yet!
For tomorrow, I will attempt the JFK 50 - a 50 mile run through rural Maryland including a piece of the Appalachian Trail.  This is the 50th running of the event.

From the website, the course description sounds intense - particularly the beginning part:

The first 5.5 miles (starting on road surface and joining the Appalachian Trail at 2.5 miles) gains 1,172 feet in elevation. The course from 2.5 to 15.5 miles is on the Appalachian Trail (except for two miles of paved road between 3.5 and 5.5 miles). This section of the AT is very rocky in sections as it rolls across the mountain ridge. At approximately 14.5 miles the course drops over 1,000 feet in a series of steep “switchbacks” that then crosses under Rt. 340 and connects with the C&O Canal towpath. The “Canal” section of the JFK 50 Mile is 26.3 miles (from 15.5-41.8 miles) of almost totally flat unpaved dirt/gravel surface that is free of all automotive vehicle traffic. The JFK 50 Mile route leaves the C&O Canal towpath at Dam #4 and proceeds to follow gently rolling paved country roads the last 8.4 miles to the finish. The Boonsboro start is at an elevation of 570 feet. The Williamsport finish is at 452 feet above sea level.

That 1000 feet drop over a mile seems daunting!  The rest just sounds long.  Note that a section of the course is a full marathon in length on the C&O Canal.

And of course my excitement level measures off the charts.

During a recent training run over the Golden Gate Bridge

So, instead of writing about my running (which I feel bad about skipping as I do like writing the blog), I have been just running.  A lot.  While not violating my plan of running only 3 days a week, I created a series of challenges to get me ready.  This plan is not based on any official ultrarunning text book; I just cooked up distances and frequencies of running marathon that I hope have prepared me.  I started this journey in May in Fargo and completed the following:

  • May 19, Fargo Marathon - 3rd marathon in 28 days (following London and a small one in Playa del Rey)
  • June 23, Niagara Falls 50K - 31 mile ultra in my best time at that distance (4:34:57)
  • July 28-29, Bad Bass half marathon and San Francisco Marathon in the same weekend (39.3 miles)
  • August 19, Turkey Swamp 50K + 4 miles -  first 35 mile run
  • September 15-16, North Face Wisconsin Trail Marathon and Fox Valley Marathon - back-to-back marathons in 2 days in 2 states (Wisconsin and Illinois)
  • September 30, Wabash Heritage Trail Marathon, West Lafayette, Indiana + 14 miles - first 40 mile run
  • October 14, 20 and 27 - 3 marathons in 3 states in 3 weeks (Road to Education, Mason City Iowa, Hercules Part 1, Santa Monica CA and Spinx Running Festival, Greenville South Carolina). 
  • October 20 was a 45 mile day as I added 19 more miles beyond the marathon
  • Plus a handful of other marathons scattered in along the way.

The past three weeks have featured slower, shorter runs to keep myself from burning out.  I've run trails and dirt paths and grass.  Here, there and everywhere.  And all of this running has been a blast.  I've now completed 13 states on my 50 state goal and 34 marathons or longer - 19 in the past 52 weeks.  I've gotten to run with friends and see new sites all in anticipation to my first race at 50 miles.
My 13 Completed States Map Pending the JFK 50 in Maryland

Hopefully all of this prep will find me smiling after about 9-10 hours of running tomorrow.  I think it will.  Wish me luck and think good thoughts.


I am going to try to tweet during the race with my status if you are interested in following along.  @runlairdrun is my twitter handle.

Finishing a trail marathon in Wisconsin, September 15, 2012