Over the past few weeks I have been leaning more on my strength training, healing my right calf and trying to get through the various obligations in life. This has been having a negative mental effect on me however. How can I ever run one ultra distance without substantial training let alone 7 back to back? I need to run! So last week I was planning on a light early week and a 30 mile run on Sunday to get myself back on track.
Things started ok last week with roughly 8 miles of running between Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday came and I had too many meetings and obligations. I knew that I was not going to be able to run on Wednesday and was ok with making it my rest day for the week. Then I got a call. "Marty, are you working the E-Race Cancer Half Marathon on Sunday?" my friend Mike asked me. I had completely botched the dates of the event and was stuck! I said I would work previously but now how would I be able to fit in a long run?
After a few minutes of talking to him about this and the difficulty with training I have had recently he offered to just let me run the half. This was nice and all, but not even half the distance I wanted to get in. We left the conversation and I went to get my daughter when I had a thought I heard from one of Dean Karnasas' books about how he would run to the start line of a race. When I looked at the directions it was a 22 mile run to the start line of the half. If I ran there then ran the half I would exceed my numbers and be good to go. I shot Mike the text and let him know the plan.
Sunday morning was an early start. Wake up at 2:45 and starting running shortly after 3:30. It was beautiful outside! The plan was to have my girlfriend meet me at sunup to ditch my lights, change at least my shirt and resupply my nutrition/water around mile 15. Then at the start line of the half change shoes and socks, resupply again and finish it off.
Things went as smooth as one could expect for my first ultra distance run. The only times I stopped running at all were at the designated refuel stops I described above. I had pain, that is just natural! The pain shifted though and never lasted. Started in my left knee around mile 12, then my right hip about 6 miles later. I got blisters on both feet around mile 20 but because of the planned stop at 22.5 I was able to address them quickly.
All in all I felt great! There were a few times where I wanted to try and keep up with the runners of the half, but I had to remember that they had a substantial edge on me, they hadn't done 22 miles prior to starting. So when they started blowing past me around mile 5 of their race I needed to remember that it was just my run and no-one else's!
At mile 31 I hit a wall HARD! My splits dropped form an almost steady 10:30/mile pace to over 12 over the course of the next 4-5 miles. This isn't a bad thing, but something that I need to take note of. I need to tweak when I am taking some sort of nutrition/food and adjust it to make things a bit better and smoother for me. I could feel myself draining but I never stopped!
Upon finishing the run I felt great! I felt like I could do more and knew that at least my shortest day of 42 miles this summer was within striking distance. I so badly wanted to get back out and finish another 7 miles but decided not to push it too much just yet, I still have time!
Overall I am satisfied with how I did and felt. 35.5 miles in 6 hours and 6 minutes (missed the stop on my watch when I crossed the finish) is not too shabby for my first 50k+. I am going to do a detailed analysis of the overall effort with what worked and what didn't just to ensure that things run smoothly as I move farther. Over the next month my goal is to hit 42 miles in 1 day. I am unsure if I am going to try for this all at once or take a break mid way through yet. My gut instinct is to just keep moving and have quick refuel stops along the way, but that will not happen until later in the month so we shall see how I am feeling when the day comes. Until then, keep pushing yourself and I will do the same! See you on the canal.