My first 50 mile race was almost 3 years ago, right after the new year in 2009. It was the Running from an Angel 50 Miler in Henderson, Nevada.
In the year leading up to that race, I ran 2614 miles, averaging about 50 miles per week over that year which included a lot of speed work and peak training weeks that topped 100 miles per week for the first time since I had been in college. I ran those roads in 7 hours, 47 minutes and 27 seconds.
Fast forward to 2011, when I signed up for the Stone Cat 50 Miler. I am a much more experienced marathoner and ultra runner than I was 3 years ago. Before my first 50, I’d only run 12 marathons and 1 ultra. I know what my body can handle much better than I did in 2009, and running 50 miles isn’t so much of an unknown like it was then. Going into Stone Cat, I had run 15 marathons or ultras since Running from an Angel, 8 of which were run in 2011 alone.
So this means that I should be able to run much faster this time, right? Well, maybe. Maybe not.
This weekend is the New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world. So large, in fact, that they’ve recently decided to make obtaining guaranteed entry much tougher than it has been in recent years by abolishing the 3 strikes and you are in rule and by tightening up the standards for speed based entry. Mary Wittenberg, president of the New York Road Runners, is even contemplating turning the New York City Marathon into the NYC Marathons by having 2 marathons on back to back days so that the city can accommodate as many as 100,000 runners.
I recorded this video about a month ago, but am just now getting it online. While out on a trail run, I may have received a death threat…or maybe it was just a friendly warning. Here’s the story:
The Mount Desert Island Marathon has a reputation for being a very tough (if beautiful) course. It also falls right in the middle of all of the larger Autumn marathons. Some very talented runners have competed in the race and have run fast times, such as Louie Luchini’s 2:31:54 course record last year.
But now, more elite runners might sit up and take notice. Michael Wardian, the World 100K Silver Medalist and Team USA Gold Medalist will be coming to town, and I expect that the course record will fall.
Wardian is one of those rare types that will not only run (and win) multiple marathons per year (a dozen plus isn’t uncommon) but will also run longer distances. He’s also held numerous records and boasts a 2:17:49 PR which is good enough to let him race in his third Olympic Marathon Trials.
I’m looking forward to racing him next month!
The MDI Marathon is sold out, but you can raise money for some of the charitable partners if you’d still like to run the race and have not yet registered. Click here for more information.
They currently have a motion in place to invalidate all world records for women who ran in “mixed” races that included men.
For a very high profile example of what this means, it will raise the women’s marathon world record by over 2 minutes from 2:15:25 to 2:17:42. Paula Radcliffe will still hold the record because she’s the best marathoner in the world, but she’ll still be penalized 8 years after the fact.
Leah Thorvilson is a popular and talented marathoner that recently took part in my Marathon Mastermind. She’s an elite marathoner out of Arkansas that is currently training for the Olympic Trials in January. She isn’t afraid to run (and win) multiple marathons or ultramarathons each year, and she’s willing to have fun doing it, even running in costume at times.
Tonight, she’s helping to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation through the Red Carpet for Research: Dancing with Our Stars event. Leah will be paired with a professional dancer from Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio and will compete in a dance competition against 5 other dancers.
Part of the competition is through fund raising and if you want to help Leah win, you can go directly to the donation page where she’ll get 1 vote for every $10 that she raises. Just be sure to choose Leah’s name from the list of dancers!
Alternatively, I will donate $20 for every sale of the Marathon Mastermind today through 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
Good running form can be an important part of preventing injuries and extending the life of your running shoes. Recently, I was asked by somebody if the wear on the outside edge of their heel was normal as he had just recently begun running in more minimal shoes than he was used to. His question was whether he should try to land farther forward on his foot or if the heel wear was to be expected.
Learning to run with better running form will always pay off in the long run, but in the short term it’s probably not worth worrying about where you land on your feet if it isn’t painful. Changes to your gait should be gradual and you should expect an adjustment period when you change your shoes from one style (such as a motion control shoe with a large heel lift) to another style (such as a minimal shoe that is relatively flat and has a minimal heel lift.)
Improve your running form with this four step process to get your muscles and body used to it:
Bradbury Mountain hosts 2 trail racing series. The first is the Summer series which consists of 3 trail races, and the second is the Winter series which consists of 3 snowshoe races. The Breaker is the 2nd race of the Summer Series.
This was my second year running the Breaker, and I think that it is my favorite course of the three. While you only summit twice, you come within spitting distance of the top an additional 4 times in the 2 loop race.
I think my favorite part of the race is the Tote Road, which comes right after the Summit Trail. While Bradbury Mountain is really just a big hill, the Summit Trail goes from base to peak on a very short and steep path. I walk the majority of the trail, as running wouldn’t speed me up enough to justify the additional expenditure of energy.
A couple of weeks ago I made it to the Beach to Beacon expo for the first time in I don’t know how many years…at least 5 or 6. It has grown quite a bit since the last time that I was there.
One of the booths had a few of my friends at it, Gary McNamee and Reno Stirrat. In the video below, Gary is the guy that’s about 2 feet taller than me and Reno is in the background running on the treadmill.
Gary has a really cool product that he’s just launched called “Virtual Runner Software” that lets you run a race course from anywhere in the world at your own pace using any treadmill. He also has “Pre-Paced DVDs” of the race courses; as we talk in the video, Reno is enjoying a run along the Beach to Beacon 10k.
It’s a really cool system. I apologize for all of the background noise in the video, but after all we were in the middle of an expo while we were recording…
Relentless Forward Progress is a great introduction to ultramarathons for the average marathoner. Bryon Powell does a good job of covering a lot of different topics that the curious marathoner would want to know about taking the next step.
Where he falls short, however, is in the format that that information is presented in, at least in the Kindle edition. I haven’t seen the print edition of the book, but my assumption is that the majority of the criticisms that I have are probably a non-issue in the print version.
Even with the formatting errors, the book is still worth picking up. For the experienced ultrarunner, it’s worth browsing through for the 1 or 2 ideas that may have never occurred to you and that will make your next race more enjoyable. For the marathoner looking to move up, it provides a pretty comprehensive guide, especially if you aren’t sure how to modify your training to handle the extra distance.
Here’s my full review: