My third ultra marathon, in my home state of North Carolina, has nearly arrived. The Light 2 Light 50 Miler will take place one week from today; I haven’t run an ultra marathon since my 29-hour Burning River 100 nightmare in July, six whole months ago.
What did I learn from that race, only my second ultra marathon, and how has my experience along that Wicked Trail prepared me for an entire new challenge, a road race in the winter?
The Burning River 100 was nearly a disastrous DNF; I made the final cutoff by less than 8 minutes. It was a lesson in execution, sure, but I learned most about preparation.
I was not prepared for 100 miles; I underestimated the beast and paid dearly for it.
In summary, my training leading up to that race was quite subpar; a tender Achilles and a minor foot issue led to me taking on a bit more stretching and strengthening than running.
How poor was my training?
Since you asked…
16 weeks out: 5.01 miles
15 weeks out: 5.01 miles
14 weeks out: 9.03 miles
13: 13.32 miles
12: 23.03 miles
11: 30.06 miles
10: 0 miles
9: 11.06 miles
8: 40.04 miles
7: 47.05 miles
6: 25.03 miles
5: 0 miles
4: 10.02 miles
3: 6.04 miles
2: 3.02 miles
The week before Burning River week: 5.02 miles
Average Weekly Mileage: 14.55 miles
Peak Mileage: 47.05
Average stretching time per week: n/a
Average stretching time per day: n/a
Pretty frightening, huh?
But it really does show you the power of the mind. I finished my first 100 mile ultra marathon, although I certainly didn’t run the whole thing, with hardly any real training leading up to it. I had only run over 20 miles three times in my life and in the six weeks before the race ran less than ten times.
I was in way over my head.
The biggest lesson I learned from that race was preparation.
For this 50 mile ultra marathon, the Light 2 Light 50 Miler, I am much better prepared.
That isn’t to say I did everything perfect and followed my strategy to the letter; there were missed workouts and unplanned rest days.
But that’s why we’re on this journey, this Wicked Trail, to explore challenge and adversity and grow from the understanding of our mistakes and shortcomings.
It’s not really about these races, it’s about everything else in our lives the experience of these races will improve.
That is why we run ultra marathons.
The following numbers include my miles run and minutes stretched leading up to next week’s Light 2 Light 50 Miler.
16 weeks out: 30.06 miles, 171 minutes stretching
15 weeks out: 2.03 miles, 0 minutes stretched
14 weeks out: 2.02 miles, 57 minutes stretching
13: 13.04 miles, 139 minutes stretching
12: 35.07 miles, 125 minutes stretching
11: 40.1 miles, 148 minutes stretching
10: 8.03 miles, 55 minutes stretching
9: 45.17 miles, 120.5 minutes stretching
8: 41.07 miles, 0 minutes stretching
7: 5.02 miles, 85 minutes stretching
6: 50.12 miles, 148 minutes stretching
5: 17.04 miles, 137 minutes stretching
4: 50.12 miles, 252 minutes stretching
3: 50.02 miles, 163 minutes stretching
2: 16.22 miles, 225 minutes stretching
The week before Light 2 Light 50 week: 5.02 miles, 155 minutes stretching
Average Weekly Mileage: 25.63 miles
Peak Mileage: 50.12
Average stretching time per week: 123 minutes
Average stretching time per day: 17 minutes
One of my biggest areas I look forward to improving is consistency. When I have down-weeks, they tend to be way down, one or two run, weeks.
I began this race season with a few goals that will carry over into next fall and winter: I plan to finish this year averaging 60 miles running per week and 60 minutes stretching per day.
While the above numbers don’t paint an entire picture of my training, they reveal consistency as my weakest area.
Laying out numbers and comparing these with your goals is an awesome way to assess your progress and plan for the Wicked Trail.
Where can you improve?
What appears to be your weakness?
What is your strength and how can you capitalize it’s potential?
Remember, Comfort Is A Lie.
It’s time to get uncomfortable and sit down with a pen and pad. Write it all down. Your shortcomings, fears, and goals and how you’ll align each of these with success.
Welcome to the Wicked Trail…
See you in seven days at the Light 2 Light 50 miler!