Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Must run 50-milers!

"The ultimate goal and the most satisfying reward is not how fast a runner goes but how well a runner manages his or her struggles to find the finish." - Dave Bursler in his Bull Run Run 50 race report.

I'm a little concerned that I don't have the LONG miles in my legs that I need to train properly for Badwater. My last 100 miler was Western States in June 2005, so it'll be more than three years that I've done that distance by the time Badwater rolls around. As any veteran ultrarunner knows, the legs and body have memory and remember the demands of the 100-mile distance even if you haven't gone that far in a while. BUT, a "while" is what, maybe 6 months? I don't know...but it's certainly NOT 2 years!

Thing is, I'm haven't even run 50 miles since June 2005. In fact, my longest runs since then have been a couple of marathon distances, 3 50k's and last week's 43-mile DNF at the Mad City 100k. That's it! That's no ultrarunner "base"! Certainly not base enough that I can do an interim 100-miler for "training" for my 135-mile Badwater race on July 23rd. No, I will have to forgo a 100 miler between now and then. That would only put me at risk for injury before my goal race. So, what's a debunked ultrarunner who's running Badwater in July to do??

Answer: Make the best of what you've got.

OK. I can do that.

So, I need to do some longer runs with limited time in my schedule. They must be training runs, not racing runs.

I've started to search for races when I have time (like usually between midnight and 2 am.) Problem is, so many of my weekends are booked up the next few months. And some that are open must be used for work. My partner is retiring the end of April and it is his wife who does our bookkeeping....so now, I must learn to do it myself! It's not that I don't WANT to do it. I think it would actually be fun. I like to learn new things. BUT, what I CAN'T do is spare the TIME for it. There are just 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. If there were 8 or 9, I could swing it. But then there's reality.

So, I need some runs, preferrably on roads to save the ankle. That leaves marathons and just a few other ultras that do not fit into my complicated schedule.

So, I decided to look into the Bishop 50 on May 19th. It looks like a tough 50 miler based on course record and average finishing times. The sandy surface must play a role in that. It was Dee Dee Grafius from Independence, CA who told me about the race. Of course, I had heard of it, but it wasn't until the day after the Mad City 100k that the fear of the ultrarunning gods was instilled in me. She thought it'd be a good race for me. It is trail but it supposedly is non-technical. The sand could be a problem though. It is usually hot, so that'll be good. And I think I can make it as far as my schedule works.

So, maybe I'll do that one.

Still, I need MORE.

Then my friends Dennis and Gunhild reminded me about the Spokane River Run 50k this weekend. I was thinking about going to the Wenatchee Marathon or Mt. Si 50k or 50 miler and forgot about this one. Of course, it's on a fairly rocky and rooty trail, so I hadn't given it any thought till this week. So, I decided that I WOULD do this one. I mean, how often can you roll out of your own bed and be at the start of an ultramarathon in just a few miles? Trail or not, I can't pass it up. I will just have to remember that it's BADWATER that I am running towards, not this race in and of itself. I must be careful. No trail injuries! That's the number one goal. Number two goal is to have fun. Number three is to finish. Number 4 is to finish feeling strong and recover easily so that I can resume training a few days after the race.

I've also thought about going to Death Valley for some of my own training runs. I decided against the DV Training Camp, which is in a couple of weeks. It sounds great, but I'm already booked with patients during that week. I also want to spend more time running the course, maybe doing 100 miles of it over 4 days or something like that. I asked Dave Remington - my friend and other Spokanite who is running Badwater this year (YES! His name is really DAVE!) if he'd go with me for some training, and it sounds like he is all over that. Maybe Memorial Day weekend. That seems to work, though I'd have to renege on the Western States Training Runs, where I was asked to give a talk. But again, there are only so many hours, days, and weekends available in the next few months and I MUST make them work best to my advantage. I do a lot of "stuff" and am really not too selfish when it comes to my running. I always feel a little guilty when I am. But this time, I realize that if I'm NOT a little selfish here, I stand a very good chance of blowing my Badwater race. I can't let that happen for me and my awesome crew.

So, here's the tentative plan:

*Spokane River Run 50k this Sunday, April 22.
*The Sunflower Iron Double, May 5th, a 43 mile gorgeous run from Mazama to Twisp. Yes, it's trail, but again, I MUST go back. Had such an absolute blast in 2004 (pictures here).
*Bishop High Sierra 50 Miler on May 19th.
*Our own Death Valley training runs over Memorial Day weekend (after which I would fly direct to New Orleans for my favorite 5-day ACSM conference, where I am a symposium presenter for "Research and Clinical Medicine of the Toughest Ultraendurance Runs" on May 30th.)

I am very open to suggestions for other races, especially for flat trails or roads, from the marathon to 100k distance.


olga said...

I checked out Sunflower - has anybody done the double? When would you start, with everybody or earlier? If I can figure out my family, I'd be ineterested, though it's quite a drive...Bishop should be wonderful, if I knew ahead of time you are going, I'd sing up - I was deciding between it and SS50, and found Tom R. to split the costs of car and room with him for Silver State.

Anywho, races. Rainier to Ruston (is it June? 50M, almost roads, almost all down?). FANS 24hr - do as much/little as you pleased. June 2. Rocky Mt Double (52M) in WY - roads and dirt roads, May 27. It's on my "want" list. "Climb a mt" in Spokane in July as last one?

I like making plans:)

olga said...

I liked the Spokane RIver run for this weekend. Looks very cute - and not too technical, ankle should survive:)

Kendra Borgmann said...

It's exciting to have this live window into your preparation for such a big event. I like seeing your wheels click! Although our situations and fitness levels are very different right now, I can relate to you in so many ways. I have no race suggestions but I do think the Mazama one will be so beautiful... I've been eyeing their events for years. The wildflowers alone are worth their somewhat hefty entry fees. Thanks for all of your advice, too, Lisa. I'm squeezing the buns whenever I remember to and am grateful on a daily basis that I finally appear to be out of these woods I was stuck in this past year. :) I hope your whole ankle thing is getting lots better.

Lisa B said...

Excellent! I knew I could count of you for suggestions. Boy, do you know your races, Olga. I've never even heard of Rainier to Ruston - I'll check it out. FANS is one of my favorite races. I did it in 1999 or 2000 and have wanted to go back ever since, but Western States has always taken precedence. I'm not sure I could go there without all out "racing" the event. Not necessarily a bad thing...so I'll think about it. Never heard of Rocky Mt Double. Dirt roads would be perfect. I would do that if I don't go to Death Valley that weekend. I forgot to mention that I am doing Climb a Mtn as my last ultra before Badwater. The last 12 miles of this race are straight up Mt. Spokane.... similar to the lst 13 miles of Badwater. And it's nice and hot too! Definitely another good one in my back yard.

Thank you so much, Olga!

Oh, and yes, a bunch of us did the Sunflower Iron Double in 2004. There's a link to my pics in the blog. The pic captions tell the story. We start before dawn and run (grope our way) to the start and then run the 21 mile race with the competitors (starts at 8:30 am I believe). Tons of fun, and yes, beautiful wild flower fields. You feel like you are in the Sound of Music.

Lisa B said...

Kendra, you should join us! You can run some or all or the double... There is no official double, so our times don't matter. We are there for "time on our feet" and fun and feeling grateful. Will you still be in WA by then?

I'm so glad your legs are better!

olga said...

I did check out pics from Double last night:) awesome! very inviting for sure, keep me posted on it just in case! I can't promise any, but I'd like to have an option:)
We are surely lucky on Pacific coast with ultras and trails!

Anonymous said...

lisa said:I am very open to suggestions for other races

NO suggestions you guys are crazy runners & I am scared of this blog -lol

Bob Gentile said...

OK OK that was me as Mr. Anonymous but still have NO suggestions and ummm ya maybe a bit scared too... ya that's right I said it, just something I am dealing with OK --LOL

timkj said...

I'm also doing Bishop 50m (Leona Divide this weekend). Looking forward to seeing you there. You (and anyone else that likes Vegas) might want to checkout a new race in Las Vegas put on by a friend of mine. The link is: http://www.calicoracing.com/
It's supposed to be a "Training Race" under BW conditions.

Lisa B said...

BG said: "...and ummm ya maybe a bit scared too... ya that's right I said it, just something I am dealing with OK --LOL"

Hey Bob, we've ALL been there! I will see if I can locate my first ultra race report for you. Talk about scared and feeling like I totally didn't belong....!

It's good to be nervous and a bit humble. It means you have prepared well. Honestly. It also means your will likely do well and meet your goal(s).

Lisa B said...

TKJ - I'll let you know what the final plans are. Good to know other Badwater runners are doing this race!

Journey to a Centum said...

Lisa - I've run the Rainier to Ruston 50M. It's all on roads/paved trails with the exception of two 4 mile sections. One section is single track muddy trial and the other section is along the Puyallup River and can get into some soft sand occasionally. It's a fairly small venue, lightly supported (two drop bags. Sean Meisner, and Sam Thompson (50 marathons in 50 days)both ran it last year.

All proceeds go to the rail-to-trails program that provides some very nice running areas for our local runners includeing our Y-Run Club.

Lisa B said...

I checked out the Rainier to Ruston and while the race looks like PERFECT Badwater training (and like lots of fun), it's on June 2. I will be traveling to New Orleans that day for a week of Sports Medicine conferencing. I'll definitely consider this race next year even though I won't be doing Badwater.