Taper. I really don’t like taper weeks. I feel like I should be running a ton of miles, but the voice of reason is to rest, avoid injuries and attend to the fine details of the plan. Come to think of it, I need to order some GU.
Last week I was having an issue with my feet; soreness on the pad behind the big toes on both feet. I think I have a handle on that and have run over 10 miles with mild tenderness. Last week there was a point where I thought it best that I not run the 50 miler. As of May 10, the 50 miler is still my goal and target.
I chatted with James Varner, Race Director of Sun Mountain, and he described the course in more detail which took away some of my stress. (Yes, this is the same guy who said the Yakima Skyline Rim 50K was “a little rocky”.) He explained that I need to conserve energy by walking the hills and then run everything else. This seems like a good idea to me, but my in my training I ran all my hills, even the steep ones. Ok, maybe I did walk a couple of really steep hills, but not very often.
The thing about this 50 miler is: I have never ran this type of event before. The training approach is so outside my knowledge and experience. I feel like a child starting first grade. What do I do and how do I do it? One could go on-line and find a million training programs for marathon distances and below. Try to find a training program for a Ultra and you’ll find a picture of a tumbleweed blowing across the wasteland. I have been training as I see best, but, truth is, I really don’t know what in the hell I am doing. Long runs, yes. Time on my feet, yes. Speed running, yes. Eating on the run, yes. Setting a broken arm while continuing to run, still working on that one. I only have two arms. This 50 mile run is such a different beast; you train different and you have to think different in order to finish.
Ultramarathon Champion, Scott Jurek, has written ” Listen to and manage the body (hydrate, eat, technique, etc.), and when you think you have nothing left, dig deeper!” I suppose you could rephrase this to “eat, drink and be merry”, but I don’t think that is the message. Jurek’s simple statement is ultramarathoning. It’s all about managing who we are and what we are truly capable of. Putting one foot ahead of the other and giving the body what it needs to hydrate and nourish it’s self.
Now, let me see if I can do all that in a rapid motion.