Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Upping the ante: White Rock IV

I wrote the other day that I had signed up for the Rockledge Rumble in November to get myself back in training for racing mode.  I decided that even though I had sort of sworn off road racing, since presumably I would be in decent shape for the Rumble, I might as well pound the pavement with 30,000 of my closest friends 3 weeks later in Dallas.  Tomorrow the entry fee goes up $25, so I decided to take the plunge.

Now I really have to get serious about training.  For the last 2 years, I have run with the 3:20 pace group.  In both cases, I stayed with the group for the first half, then slowed down, finishing in 3:35 and 3:57.  I don't think I'll be able to get to a 3:20 pace by December, so on my race registration, I put in my predicted finish at 3:59.  Surely I can get in under 4 hours again.

I have a ways to go to even get that fast.  I have run 5 miles each of the past 3 mornings at around an 11 min/mile pace.  For a run like that, I should be running 8 or 9.  We'll see if I have it in me.  Cooler temperatures will help, as will quitting my Dr Pepper habit.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New race, new motivation

This is not a good pattern.  Shortly after the Toughest in Texas 50K in March, I went about 5 weeks without running.  Since the Capt'n Karl's 30K at Inks Lake last month, it's been about 6 weeks since I have run.  Not good.  I have to get back on a schedule.  When I put together a running plan in anticipation of a race, I don't always stick to it, but at least it gives me some goals and motivation. 

So last week I signed up for the Rockledge Rumble 50K.  I guess I'd better start logging some miles!  I am looking forward to the Rumble, the premier race put on by NTTR.  I have run many times at the north shore of Lake Grapevine, but never in a race.  It's only 12 weeks away, so I'd better work on a training plan and start putting in my miles!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Running on Empty, by Marshall Ulrich

If you have ever considered running across the country, or if you have ambitions of trying to set the record for running across the country, here's your cure: pick up Marshall Ulrich's Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America.  I do admire Ulrich.  How can you not?  He has accomplished all of the major ultramarathoning feats, and then some.  For instance, not content with simply winning the "world's toughest footrace," the Badwater Ultramarathon, four times, he decided to do it 4 times in a row!  He ran the course out and back and out and back, a total of 586 miles, non-stop.  His list of jaw-dropping, amazing running accomplishments is pretty long.
Ulrich complete Badwater one year totally self-supported, pulling this cart.
So it makes sense that he would aim to break the cross-country record.  Running on Empty chronicles that effort, with plenty of other stories about his running exploits and his life.  The first few pages surprised me and had me nearly in tears as he recounted his first wife's struggle with cancer and her death at age 30.  Horrible and tragic.  He attributes his running career in large part to his ongoing efforts to cope with his death.

The bulk of the text is, of course, dedicated to a narrative account of the cross-country run, from the steps of city hall in San Francisco to city hall in New York City.  It's a tale of misery, injury, fractured relationships, hardship, and excruciating pain.  Yes, there are highlights, short encounters with others along the way, and a great sense of accomplishment as he does break the masters and grand masters record, the third fastest time overall, 52 and a half days.
It's a long and lonely road from coast to coast.
If you are a runner, especially if you are an ultrarunner, and your friends and family think you're crazy (What?  You ran 50 miles in one day?  You ran in a race that started at midnight?  Your toenails fell off?), just give them a copy of Ulrich's book.  I can almost guarantee you that the craziest running event or accomplishment you have done pales in comparison to Ulrich.

Thanks to Dave at Endurance Buzz for the free book!