Best ultra-marathon advice: Eat like a horse. Drink like a fish. Run like a turtle.
In three days I will run my first ultra-marathon. The thought of running 100 miles in a single day is still too foreign to get my head around, but I am excited to discover what all the fuss is about!
Way back on April 28th my friend Adrian talked me into running the Burning River 100 with only 13 weeks to train. With all the time I put into writing and publishing Running the Edge, I had not been running consistently for over a year. Ironic right? My longest run in the last 2 years was only 9 miles. Running this race seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but as the race gets closer, it seems even crazier! To read the blog about how he talked me into running this race, click here.
So this Saturday morning at 5:00 I will start running before the sun rises over Cleveland. I will run through the day and most of the night before finishing sometime Sunday morning. My original goal (besides finishing) was to complete the distance in under 20 hours. However, on July 3rd, after a 30 mile training run, I developed some chronic pain in my biceps femoris muscle in the back of my left knee. I have reduced my mileage significantly since then and have had a few visits to see the massage guru Al Kupczak. [If you live near Boulder, this guy is amazing! He has worked on many Olympic runners....and me.] Al has my leg feeling quite a bit better but it remains my biggest worry.
Three months flew by and I absolutely LOVED having a reason to train and run again! It reminded me of why I love this crazy sport so much!
I will update this post next week to let you know how I did. Wish me luck! I am going to need it!
You can follow @RunTheEdge on twitter if you want to keep track of my progress. My girlfriend Laura will be tweeting several updates and maybe some pictures along the way. Stay tuned because there could be a surprise ending!
If you are interested in a brief overview of my preparation (or lack of) below is a summary of my weekly mileage and a few thoughts I wrote down each week.
Week 1 (First week in May)
28 miles: This was my highest total in over a year. I had aches and pains all over by the third day.
46.2 miles: I put an emphasis on trying to run slower than 8 minutes a mile. It is very hard for me to slow down to that pace but I know I will need to on race day. On May 8th I ran 10.4 miles in 1 hour and 20 minutes which was my longest run in 2 years!
37.02 miles: I am still trying to slow down. Hip flexor cramps are becoming a problem. I ran a half marathon in Ogden for fun and felt fine. Travel caused two days off.
39.34 miles: I had some intense pain in my shin just above the ankle. I think my shoes were just laced too tight. I took two days to let it calm down and it seems better.
53.25 miles: I did my first long run of 28 miles on June 1st. This was supposed to be easy but I bonked. I only took one gel and did not have much breakfast. I will not make that mistake again! My legs recovered quickly and I did 5.5 the next day.
71.63 miles: I have built up to 10 mile recovery runs that feel easy. The early aches and pains from when I began to train are all but gone. I feel very healthy and confident.
34 miles Took a down week to travel to Duluth. I ran a six mile cool down with Abdi Abdirahman and Kara Goucher after they finished the Grandma’s half marathon championships. I also ran 13 with Kara while Adam rode his bike. A Duluth horse fly bit me in the butt right through my shorts!
81.23 miles: I am continuing the build-up phase. Ran a 20 mile training run followed by a 30 miler the next day and felt comfortable and healthy. Things are looking good!
59.73 miles: I spent the week doing my favorite mountain runs in Boulder. I am geting better at the slower pace but sometimes I get bored and pick it up. The plan is to go 95 miles next week with two long runs.
51.62 miles: Everything was going well until a 30 mile training run July 3rd left me with pain behind the knee. Maybe I ran it too fast? I did it in 4 hours 17 minutes but it was not hard. I ran a couple days on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina then had to take some down days to let my knee recover.
24.56 miles: The pain in my knee forced me to walk 6 miles into a 10 mile run in Fresno Ca. I need to get on top of this. I ran with Adam two days later in Napa and I don’t know who was limping worse.
51.84 miles: Adam convinced me to meet up with Al Kupczak for some massage therapy. I ran 10 miles three days in a row after treatment. I felt better but the knee was still tight. The second appointment with Al made me feel even better. No time to test the leg with a long run. I will hope the leg is ready for 100 next week!
120.26 miles: This will be my weekly total when I finish the race. My training could have gone a lot better but this is as fit as I could get in 13 weeks without getting injured. I would have liked to get in at least one 40 mile run but we will just have to see what the race brings.
***Seriously, if you live near Boulder and need a miracle worker, I can’t recommend Al Kupczak highly enough! Click his name to schedule an appointment.