In a moment of complete craziness back in August, I signed up for The North Face Endurance Challenge Series DC 50k.
I didn’t want to give in to all the people asking when I will run a marathon so I decided to try an Ultra. A marathon actually sounded harder to me. This is just a play day in the woods. If all goes well and I make it to the start line I get to attempt to run from one park to another, do a loop there, and then run back. And hopefully I can do this in less than 9 hours and not get taken off the course. Given that the most I’ve ever run in one day is 15 miles, this is a big challenge.
Like any big challenge I’m starting with a plan.
Training officially starts today. I talked to some friends and coaches that have done these Ultra races and they recommended following a plan with back to back Saturday and Sunday long runs. I’ve been told that time on your feet is important along with the ability to run when you are tired. Saturday is the longer run of the two days followed up runs that start at 6 miles and later build to 10 miles on Sunday.
One thing that I wanted was to not run equal or greater than 26.2 miles in training. I want my first marathon to happen in the process of the race. I don’t know why….I’m weird. That’s just what I want and this plan maxes out at 24 miles in one day.
When I started thinking about this race, one of my friends (and a coach) promised to run with me and do the training with me. Unfortunately since then she has had to change that plan. That leaves me more alone than I ever expected to be. So far I’m doing a pretty good job of finding others to run with when I put the effort in. I’ve done two trail runs by myself and I’m gaining confidence that I will be ok out there all alone. And I might even enjoy it. I still think for longer runs I’m going to try to find people to run at least a portion of it with me.
When I think about the whole thing I feel overwhelmed. The big picture is a bit scary. When I think of one run, one mile, one step at a time I feel calmer. No matter how long the training run or race it can only be completed one step at a time. I’m trying not to look too far ahead but I’ve looked enough that I only have to do 6 training runs and 1 race that are longer than anything I’ve ever run. That’s not so bad, right? AND, I will be running slower and incorporating hiking. I will hike up the hills and gallop down. I will try to run as much as I can in between. I will enjoy the beauty and the silence of the trails and I will get to explore many new places along the way through this journey. No matter how this turns out, I’ve taken the first step and accepted the challenge. I’m going to fight my way through and try my hardest to make it to the finish line.