Third Annual Wildcat Ultras

When we were up in Vermont, I somehow managed to put on a couple of races. There was the Twin State 50 that kind of morphed into something else as it was decided that New Hampshire was just to risky. There was another Fat Ass that kind of failed in an attempt to raise money and sent runners on a snow covered loop during muzzle loader season.

After a couple of these, I decided to try directing a real race. Everything was setup, permits in place, sanctioning paid for, port-a-john rented, people registered, and then a job in Dublin, Georgia popped up and it was moving time. I was pretty close to canceling the event, but my brother – who was co-rd’ing with me – stepped up and made it happen. It sounded like everyone had fun and it made me glad, but not being able to be there and see it unfold was difficult.

So here I am in Georgia trying to figure out routes to run, potential loops or point to points, when I got an email from the RD of the Wildcat Ultras wondering if I had any interest in helping out with third running of the event. Of course I was interested, but there were a few people I had to talk to first. Well, one, anyway. I got her blessing and hopped on board. The dream is not dead!

So this coming Labor Day, I’ll be in Pensacola, Florida at the fine Escambia Equine Center helping to make sure everything runs smoothly as a bunch of yahoos attempt to run from a 50k to 100 miles. Not only did it get me back into rd’ing, it got me fired up to start some things in Dublin. Sure they might be a year out, but the wheels are turning.

wcu

Also, you should sign up here.

A Brilliant Idea…

Posted in the UVRC December Newsletter, an awesome piece of work from Steve Andrews.

When I started running in high school, I was a bread and butter distance guy. A convert from soccer to cross country; on the track I raced 3200s and steeple chases. When I got to college, I stuck with the longer events and took up running twenty-five laps on an outdoor track for fun. Since college, I have completed a handful of half-marathons and a couple of marathons. So far, I like the longer distances.

I am not really sure when I had the harebrained notion that I should try my feet at an ultra-marathon. Part of me says it is just a natural progression from the marathon, and then there is the fact that many of my everyday-training runs cross paths with the VT50 and 100 courses. Either way, it was inevitable that I would eventually have a go at an ultra.

While I am no coach, and I really do not know anything about training for an ultra, I am fairly confident of one thing: I need to up my miles. Essentially, this is what I have been doing since I decided to go all in shortly before the CHaD. For the most part I am doing three main runs: a long run, a threshold workout on the track, and another shorter long-run. The other days I fill in with whatever time allows.

So far, one of the hardest things is finding the time to go for a three hour run, or to spend an hour and a half at the track. It may not seem like much, but when all is said and done, that time adds up, and with two kids under four at home, time takes on a different meaning. Consequently, I am either hitting the roads at 5:00 AM or 9:00 PM – neither are particularly enjoyable at this time of year.

While I have never been an early morning runner, I will say that I have become a bigger fan than I ever thought possible. There is no more wonderful a feeling than the muted cacophony of life that follows the defeat of the warm-bed-sirens and a grinding run into daylight hours. The sun does not welcome me, I welcome the sun. While this is not total motivation to wake up at unconscionably early hour, it is something.

Only four more months until April, eight until July. It will be a long road, but I guess that is what I signed up for. I guess that is ultra running.

Dialing-In

Gearing up for my first Ultra – which I am leaning towards something of the Fat Ass variety and VT50 as a qualifier for VT100 – I am realizing there are a number of things I need to dial in. I went for a longish run on Sunday, and drank a cup of water or so before I started. Two hours later I still hadn’t eaten or drank anything. Granted it was raining so while I am not an amphibian, I think it mitigated some of the thirst. I am not sure how long I could go like this, but considering I had not eaten in the eight hours preceding the run, I am guessing it is a bit. Next time I do a long run over 20 I will have to stash some water and see how it goes. I have had some problems with water in the past – CHaD 2012, Shires 2013.

I also need to figure out shoes – or lack there of. I like my Skoras, but have heard that at the end of an ultra, that heel cushioning and rise can be nice.

Things to dial-in on:

  • shoes
  • food
  • water
  • pace
  • clothes

Thinking About Ultras

Ever since I started running after an eight year hiatus, I’ve thought about doing an Ultra. I always saw myself as a distance guy, and what better way to demonstrate this than to do an ultra marathon. I’m not talking about run/walk at a 12 minute pace, I’m talking actually running.

My longest run to date is a mere 31.6 that I did in 4:03:07 for a 7:42 pace. The last four or five killed the guy I was running with and probably slowed the pace a fair bit. Neither here nor there. It was also fairly flat and somewhat toasty as it was July in Georgia.

Since then I’ve done a few 20+ but it’s been hard to find the 4+ hours to get out for a run, not to mention that I’d be toast the rest of the day and when there’s two little kids running around and you’re expected to participate in the parenting. Hopefully before the year is out I can get a 25+ in.

What little reading I’ve done so far has suggested lots of training techniques and given me lots to think on. Being that the kids are still young and training to actually run an ultra well will take time, I’m putting it way out there – VT100 2015. Unfortunately, I can’t just sign up for the VT100, rather I have to volunteer some of my time to an ultra friendly cause – I’d like to get involved with the VT100 and VT50 as they’re local races anyway… – and I have to complete a 50 miler in under 12 hours. I’ll probably end up doing VT50 2014 and VT100 2015, but we’ll see. Two years is quite some time away, it’s also quite some time to build a killer base…