Tag Archives: half marathon

No head. No heart. No feet.

Ultrarunning is hard.

I was supposed to run 20 miles this morning for my log run leading up to the Marquette Trail 50 mile run in August.  Except I only ran 5.  Actually I covered 5 miles, but most of the fifth mile was spent walking, reflecting and watching satellites zoom overhead.

Yes, ultrarunning is hard.  And I’m likely dropping from the Marquette Trail 50 miler again this year.

After the 50k I ran on January 2nd, my running imploded.  I intentionally took a couple weeks of rest / relaxation after that race, and then some things happened at work over the course of a few weeks – some planned and some not – that impacted my ability to run what I wanted / needed to run.  After that much time of inconsistent running, my head was out of the game.

Within the last couple weeks I realized that if I’m still running the MT50, and I still planned too, I had to start training seriously.  Except – one can’t just jump right back into training for an ultra without really training to train for an ultra.  It was foolish think I can hop right back into running 35 mile weeks right out of the gate after not running that kind of mileage for a few months.  And so I sit here with a with pain in my knee and pain in my foot.

Just after starting my fifth mile this morning, I stopped to watch a satellite zoom across the sky.  Once I started hobbling forward again, it was only a couple minutes before I stopped again.  My heart wasn’t in it.

At that point I realized I had – No head.  No heart.  No feet.

It’s also at that point I realized ultrarunning is hard.  It’s not just training for the miles, but it’s training the mind.  It’s training yourself to get up at crazy hours.  It’s training yourself to run through shit weather.  It’s training yourself to push through pain.  It’s training yourself to sacrifice time with family.

What I learned this morning is – you can’t just jump back right to where you were.

So with that … I don’t know.

I don’t know what’s next.  Will it be an ultra?  Or a marathon?  Half marathon?  I’m not sure.  I need some time to heal my knee and my foot.  I need some time to rebuild my head and get my heart into training for something again.

 

Advertisements

What makes you think you can run 100 miles?

What makes you think you can run 100 miles, anyway?

I can’t.  Not yet anyway, but that’s the beauty of all of this.  Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day.  But I crave the challenge.

At one time I couldn’t run a half marathon.  Or a marathon.  Or a 50k.

I remember the exact spot – 4.5 miles into my first 6 mile run thinking to myself ‘how in the hell am I going to run a half marathon (twice beyond what I still haven’t finished) in a few months??’

I continued to train, fought through pneumonia and knee pain, and finished my first half marathon in as planned.  And it felt Awesome!  I was exhausted, but knew immediately I had to do it again.

I went through a similar experience when training for my first marathon.  It was a 17 mile run day, and I was 14 miles in, and felt like total shit.  I was gassed, it was later in the day than I normally ran, and I just wanted to get home to my wife and kids.  I thought … the actual race will be over an hour longer more – what’d I get myself into!?

I continued to train, fought through a dog bite with rabies vaccine (that’s a story for another day), and another knee injury that sidelined me for over a month, and finished my first marathon as planned.  And it felt Awesome!

Just as I finished a 16 miler training for my first ultra, I thought to myself ‘that was a good run, time for some waffles and coffee … oh shit, I have to run double that, plus some in a couple months for the race.’

I continued to train and completed my first ultra (Kal-Haven Trail run – 33.5 miles) in April of this year.  I loved it and knew as soon as I finished that I needed to do more – go farther.

IMG_2153

first ultra!

See – I’ve never been a good runner.  At least I haven’t considered myself good. Hell, I don’t even know what good is.  Does it mean you can run X distance in Y time?  All I know is when I ran in high school everyone beat me.  I haven’t gotten any faster.  I do believe I have endurance – I enjoy pushing myself physically, and mentally, to run farther.  I enjoy the planning that goes with it and the race strategy.  I enjoy being outside in the quiet.  I love it.

Ever since ran that first marathon, I’ve had this thought in the back of my mind that I’d run a 100 miler some day.  And now I’ve picked the race – the June 2017 Mohican Trail 100.

I’ll spend 2016 training for a summer 50 miler and build upon that into 2017 for my first 100 miler.  I’ve already started putting together the list of races for 2016.  I’m guessing there will be another 50 miler in there between August 2016 and June 2017 as I prep for Mohican.  If anyone has a suggestion, let me know – something in the Michigan / Indiana / Ohio area would be best for me.

And that’s how I plan, in a nutshell, to run a 100 miler.

Thoughts?  Advice for anyone who’s run a 100 miler?  I’ve read a 50 miler is twice as hard as a marathon.  And that a 100 miler is 4x as hard as a 50 miler.

Why do so many runners blog?

One of the first things I noticed after diving into the social media world of running … lots of runners blog.  Like ALOT (excuse the poor grammar there).

It made me think – why do so many runners blog?  Runners do like to talk about how much they run … at least that’s what people like to say …

After thinking about why I blog, I’m guessing most folks are blogging for the same reasons I am.

IMG_3343

Working on the blog – with a Michigan Beer of Course!  Dark Horse – Crooked Tree, one of my absolute favorites!
  1. It allows me to connect with other runners.  My wife doesn’t run.  My buddies (at least my local buddies) don’t run.  Blogging gives me a way to connect with other runners with similar goals.  Or even other runners who have totally different goals, but still share the same passion for the outdoors.
  2. It allows me to share my running experiences with those who are interested.  My friends can come and read about my adventures, at their own leisure, without me ramming it down their throats at the office or through Facebook.
  3. It’s a record of past adventures.  These words and pictures will let me look back someday to read about race XYZ, see what I wore to handle some particularly bad weather, or even relive a nice hike with my family.
  4. In some odd way, it seems like a way to hold myself accountable.  If others are reading about my journey, how could I let them down!?  Yes, I’m my own motivation, but a little outside motivation never hurts, right?

Whatever the reason, I’m thanking that other runners are sharing their adventures.  I enjoy reading race reports from all distances – half marathons all the way up to 100 milers, product reviews and the simple details of a great training run.  It also opens my eyes to some pretty cool races that I never knew about!

Some of my favorites blogs are:

  1. The 100 Mile Mark
  2. Fat Girl Running
  3. Trail Running Faith
  4. Bradley on the Run
  5. Vanloo Running

Why do you blog?

It all began with blue pants …

Around Christmas 2012, my brother told me he was running a half marathon the following summer.  I remember him wearing some new blue workout pants and they looked pretty sweet.  I like new gear, but I wasn’t going to buy workout pants without working out.  And I didn’t work out.  I thought he was crazy.  But apparently that conversation planted a seed.

Fast forward a couple of months to February (the absolute nicest month in Michigan – you know, the one where the sun never peeks out of the cloud and there’s usually a foot of snow on the ground) and the seed germinated.  I thought, eh, I’ll run the half marathon too.  After all, they give you a beer at the end of the race.  All I have to do is go out and run 6 miles today.  Then 7 next week.  Then 8, etc.

Why did I need to run during the week?  One long run during the weekend would be great, right?

That first 6 miles was brutal and I averaged something like 12:30/mi.  I made it through the 7 miler, the 8 miler, the 9 miler … well, lots of black ice on the roads so I skipped that one, the 10 miler and the 11 miler.

And that’s when I got pneumonia.

I didn’t run again for about a month, but one week before the race I ran 8 miles.  BAM!  I’m good right?

Mid summer 2013 – race day comes, it was in Columbus – the Capital City half Marathon.  Macklemore had me all jacked up.  We sang the National Anthem.  Everyone was Boston Strong.  And there were pyrotechnics.  I was going to crush this.

Things were great for 8 miles and then BAM.  I hit the wall.  Hard.  I struggled through the next couple of miles and then saw runners ahead finishing.  But I had to turn away from the finish line and run the opposite direction.  That really took the wind out of my sails.  I still had another 3 to go.  But I chugged along and finished.

2:16:54.

I walked away from the finish line, feet killing me, finisher’s medal around my neck – towards a beer and a fried bologna sandwich.  I was hooked.

And that’s how this journey began.

That’s me – the one w/o the sweet mustache.  By the way, check out that sweet cat shirt on the dude behind my brother.  I just noticed that – that made my night.

IMG_0378