Saturday, April 26, 2014

Two Weeks to Go!

I've been terrible about updating, I know. For the 3 of you that read this: I apologize!

I've been busy writing papers, registering for the bar exam, applying for jobs...oh, yeah...and running!

I run the Ice Age 50-miler in two weeks from today!

I ran my last long run, 25 miles, last weekend. Then I started my taper. The week before that I ran a nice, solid 30-mile run. I've only run two runs of 30+ miles this training cycle. I'd hoped to do more but, well, it just didn't work out that way. That said, I ran a bunch of 26-mile runs (including two marathon "races") and, for the most part, everything has gone really well. I am injury free at least...and that is huge. I don't think I've ever even had a marathon training cycle where I was completely injury free. I mean, I have definitely had niggles and soreness and some nagging issues while training for this 50, but none that required that I actually "sit out" and wait to heal. So I may not have run as many miles as I originally hoped, but that I kept my injury-prone sprinter's body healthy is a huge win.

I am extremely nervous about the race. Several people have asked me if I have a particular time goal in mind. Um, yeah. The time I have to run to beat the cut-off(s)! Me completing a trail 50 in that time, 12 hours, is by no means certain even if I am completely healthy. Now, you may be doing math and thinking: wait, that should be easy. You can average 14 minute miles! Well, I hope so. But trail races, and ultras, are just so much different. You cannot just take your road time and average that out and assume that you can maintain it. First of all, trails are much more challenging. They slow you down for lots of reasons. Second, I have to do stuff like eat! And make pit stops! And address whatever may come along the way. Finally: It's FIFTY MILES. So in theory I think I can overall maintain 12-minute miles on the trail (2+ minutes/mile slower than my road marathon pace, faster on the flats, taking it easy on the hills)...but I will also lose time on pit stops and at aid stations. And dealing with whatever else comes up.

I am really just hoping for good weather. When I ran my 50K (55K) back in March, I felt great...but the trail was just a complete mud pit. I ran strong all day, but it was just slow going getting through the sticky goo. The hills and roots and rocks at Ice Age will be enough of a I am sending all of my positive thoughts to Wisconsin in hopes of a nice day on May 10th.

So, to repeat, my goal is to finish before the cutoff, which is 12 hours. The race is being extra strict this year and the last 5 or so aid stations have strict cut off times. So if I don't make it to them by the required time, I will be pulled from the race. If that happens, it won't be because I didn't give it everything I had. I know I can do it. But things go wrong in races. And you just can't predict some of them. My only goal is to work my butt off and do my best.

Oh yeah: I met my fundraising goal!! I am so incredibly excited about this. I have never raised this much money before. I am so thankful for so much support from so many generous people. You can read all of their names here.

I am heading into 2 weeks of final exams: my last exams EVER, I hope. (The bar exam aside...that comes up in July.) I will take my last law school exam on May 8th, hop a plane on May 9, and run the Ice Age Trail-50 on May 10. Then I head back to Washington DC on May 11 to prepare to move and then I graduate on May 18. So much to do, but it's all exciting. OK, the impending exams aren't exciting...but being done with them most definitely is.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me through this training and fundraising. Really, I have been training for this race for almost an entire year! I signed up to run the JFK-50 last spring and trained hard through the summer only to get a quirky injury last August that kept me out for most the fall. I was unable to run JFK  and was only able to start training again in mid-October. Really, I have to be amazed that I have remained as healthy as I have since recovering from that nasty injury. I'd like to be more fit going into my first real ultra race (yes, I ran that 55K, but I wasn't "racing" per se)...but I will take what I was able to get out of this training cycle. My body did not love the ultra training, but it allowed me to plug along and do the best I could. For that, I am thankful.

I'll post a pre-race update close to race day, May 10.