Crash Course In Ultra-Running
How do you prepare for a 50 mile ultra-marathon in less than 4.5 weeks? I asked myself that question upon returning from Mongolia and don’t yet have an answer. However, I’ll let you know how my plan worked out in the post-race write-up.
To get going, I bought new trail running kicks, because a half size up is greatly appreciated by my big toes! Then I mapped out when and where to do long(ish) runs and filled in from there. Things went well to start, considering I didn’t run for two consecutive weeks – I was in Mongolia – then ramped up to 33.9 miles. The following week I logged 45.3 miles, but broke a rib in the process; long run + losing focus + exposed root in shaded area = running fail. I was halfway into my run when I clipped a root on a slight downhill and tumbled. From an outsider’s perspective, I imagine the fall looking comical and slightly pathetic. After all, I was running/jogging. Anyways, I continued on and finished the loop, refilled my bottle, and went out for another 9 to log 26.2 for the day. At the time, I didn’t know I had broken a rib; that realization came the following day.
I didn’t run the following two days, but was thankfully convinced to run 12 on the third day with a friend. My ribs felt awful to start, but I embraced the discomfort and didn’t complain. While on that run, it dawned on me that RockTape could probably be fashioned in such a way to help support and protect my ribs. Sure enough, they have a video posted on how to tape for such an injury. To date, the RockTape seems to help a lot and I’ll be taped up for the race this Saturday.
The following week was a bit lighter at 37.5 miles. I did run another marathon, but broke it into 2 runs to gives the ribs a rest – breathing deeply for that long didn’t feel all that great. With only one week left to realistically “build,” I ran 39.3 miles – most of it on trails. Though, being the klutz that I am, I tripped again and landed on my already damaged ribs. That felt awesome…
In 4 weeks time, I ran 156 miles and to date, I’ve logged 173.2 miles post-Mongolia; I’ve also swam a paltry 17,100 yards and ridden 192 miles. How do I feel? Pretty damn good! Admittedly, I haven’t a clue to what pace I should be aiming to hit, though, I intend to measure my progress on effort rather than pace. Nevertheless, it’s really hard to anticipate how I’ll feel in the latter half of the race. I have a 50k under my belt, but 19 miles is a significant difference!
The race has the potential to be a shit show. It could also be a great success. Truthfully, I don’t know which it will be. One thing is for sure though; Saturday will be hard.