Thursday, September 9, 2010

Expecting the Unexpected at the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted here, so here's the catch-up on training.

Mo' better miles. That's the summary :)

Seriously, mileage has been solid now for the past 2 months, and I'm completely injury-free. My endurance and speed are as strong as I can remember them being in years. At this point in training, a 50 mile week is effortless, and that's saying alot for me, that's for sure.

I've been spending a good bit of time reading some top ultrarunning blogs by some incredible athletes around the country. I've been brushing up on the different things I can expect to have to deal with leading up to, and during, an ultra event like the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K. As many of you already know, there are some ultrarunners out there that are just unbelievable. I've found some great podcasts to listen to as well, and they've been very helpful so far.

I've been thinking alot about what I expect the race to be like. Having done road races exclusively, this is new territory for me, and I'm excited to experience it, but I'm a tad bit curious also. What will it be like out on the trail for 31+ miles? Not sure, but I absolutely cannot wait to find out. The biggest thing I'm wondering about is pacing. I'm used to running road races, so pace is pretty much determined before I start the race. Many, many variables on the course of the 50K will ultimately determine my pace at that moment. Terrain, temperature, congestion on the trail itself (it's completely single track), elevation changes, etc. will all determine what my pace for that moment will be. That's a big, big change from road marathoning.

The final "big" thing I've been thinking alot about is my finish time. I don't have anything to base a completion time estimate upon. I know how fast I can run 26.2 miles on asphalt, but this is completely foreign to me. Here's what I'm going to do: Just for the sake of firing my competitive nature, I am claiming that I will finish this race is less than 6 hours. I don't know if that is possible, but I think it is. If I really hammer the downhills and straights, I should be able to make pretty decent time. Ideally, I would be very happy if I finished in closer to 5 hours than 6, but I don't want to set an overly aggressive goal (that's a lie, actually I don't want to fall flat on my face)

Have you had to deal with this kind of thing before? Not knowing what to expect completely and wondering how you will deal with it on the course? As runners, handling the unexpected on race day is something that we have to get accustomed to, but that doesn't make it any easier, does it...
I really, really can't WAIT...

1 comment:

  1. Well, I can't even begin to offer advice on off road, trails or ultras.

    I can tell you that I had to completely change my thought process for the Disneyland half last weekend. I wasn't feeling good, my knees hurt and I ended up walking the whole thing. Making a split second decision to walk instead of run saved my legs and ensured that I had a great time!

    You never know what's going to happen so you have to be flexible!

    Can't wait to hear how it goes for you.