50K Training


Diablo Trails Challenge 50K as seen in Google Earth

While 2014 had been off to a running start, I’ve just haven’t found time to provide updates on T6F. It’s just one of those things that seems to fall through the cracks as the days roll into weeks, weeks to months and you realize the site has not been updated for what feels like an eternity! One goal that will be here before I know it is the Diablo Trails Challenge 50K. Thankfully my 5oK training has started and it’s going to be a great adventure!

Following up on the January 11th post, Diablo Trails Challenge 50K, I have been training for this run by running the same trails I will be running come April 19. The best part is just how close the start of the race is to my house, it takes me about 15 minutes to drive to Round Valley Regional Preserve and within 50 feet of the parking lot, the Diablo Trail begins.

I have mapped out all 31 miles on Garmin Connect, as well as in Google Earth. as I will be running with my Garmin Forerunner 210 and have broken the challenge down to four, approximately 8 mile races. Based on what I have mapped and time spent running the first portion of the race, the big climb begins at mile 3.75, where you gain 1487 feet over 2.33 miles. While the challenge won’t get any easier, the second incline happens right out of the first aid station, as you climb 1003 feet over 1.6 miles.

PS – You can download the .kmz file for the Diablo Trails Challenge 50K. Remove the .zip extension and change it to a .kmz and then double click (if you have Google Earth installed).

While this will be the longest distance I have run since taking up the sport last year, much of this race is going to be a mental challenge. Physically, I will be ready to spend some 7 hours running trails, but it’s the mental aspect that could tell your body, “I can’t do this any more.” In order to deal with this challenge, I have started running with music (again!), I find it mind off the silence and occupied with lyrics running through my head. Not quite sure if there is a benefit or not.

Mileage is going to have to continue increasing, as I look towards putting in some 20+ mile runs near the end of this month and will even consider running the entire 31 miles in March. The hills alone are worth the training, even though I have yet to run up some of these steep hills, even walking them, as I have been doing has helped my overall conditioning.

These trail runs haven’t been necessarily about setting records or posting low times. This is a challenge I want to finish. There won’t be many 8:30-9:00 minute miles posted, I do expect a few over the course of 31 miles. I am looking to average about 12:30/mile, obviously that number drops dramatically walking up the steep inclines, but will work out with all the downhill running I will face during in the second half of this race (more so the last 8 miles). Without knowing what the conditions will be like, one can only hope for good running weather; temperature about 59, maybe a thin overcast layer. Lots of rain or high heat is going to be a killer, neither of which I want to face, as I stare at my first 50K.

Diablo Trails Challenge 50K

diablotrailsMark the calendar now. April 19 at 7am begins my first ultra marathon, as I officially signed up today for the challenge and adventure of my life. Just 2 years ago never did I believe I would ever participate in any sort of running event. Now after hundreds of miles, a Tough Mudder event and a half marathon I have started training for a 50K (31 miles).

While it is tagged as a race, I am not out to win or challenge others. This is about me and just how far and hard I can push myself. It’s a mental battle to overcome, endure and survive whatever Mt Diablo throws at us when the race begins. Training has got off to a slow start, as I didn’t do much running leading up to the middle of November and only a few late runs to close out the year in December.

Yet, I am not worried. Not that I have fully committed to run the Diablo Trails Challenge 50K I am in the right mindset. Training will be running 5 days a week, along with core work for the next 16 weeks leading up the start of the race on April 19. Training won’t be easy with hill work on hump day and core training twice a week after a run of 60-90 minutes. The training schedule looks grueling, but it will pay dividends when I am on the mountain digging deep in order to finish.

This race will push me to the limits of my endurance. Just think 50K is the shortest of the “ultra” marathons, they only get longer from here. Between now and then I have a lot of work to do in order to be race ready. The vertical climb for the entire race is 7,142 feet with a net gain of only 87 feet between the start and finish. You can see the profile and look at some of the big climbs, including 2 within the first 15.6 miles of the course. It won’t get easier as just after the midpoint of the course, you hit the third big hill.

I won’t be alone during the race, as a co-worker and Tough Mudder teammate, Otto will be joining me on the 50K. While I would like to think we will run together and cross the finish line together, as we support and push each other to continue on and not give up. Yet, who knows will will happen between the start and the finish line. I would not think of holding him back because I am struggling. Yet, Otto is a team player, I still recall him helping one of our TM teammates through the entire course last year. That alone speaks volumes about the man!

As I mentioned this race is an adventure, one that I look forward to. Time doesn’t matter, where I finish doesn’t matter. My goal for the Diablo Trail Challenge is to cross the finish line.

Run with No Excuses

running-no-excusesAs June comes to a close, it’s been just about 3 months since I have taken up running. Not jogging, but running with training and goals in my. To date I haven’t officially signed up for any races, but am planning on three before 2013 is over. I have been very surprised at how quickly my body has adjusted to running, my form has improved and my times have decreased. Still, there is a long road ahead before I am ready to run my first half marathon. I am running by the credo, “run with no excuses” in order to remain on my plan in order to achieve the goals I have set. I still haven’t answer some basic questions; “What does it mean to you? How hard are you willing to work? What are you willing to sacrifice? Why is it even important and why does it even matter?”

My ultimate goal is to participate in my first marathon on December 2. With any luck I will be registering in 2 weeks to run in the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA. Initially my training started so I could run in my first half marathon on August 3, the Summer Breeze Half Marathon in San Leandro, CA. I blame Born to Run by Christopher McDougall for the onset of this running addiction. It does seem to be the natural progression, running a few shorter races before challenging yourself with 26.2 miles. I have gone back and forth on running in Sacramento, but after planning out my training I realized Sacramento was possible. I am now considering a third race as a tune up to the marathon, the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in San Jose on Oct 6.

It’s an odd feeling of wanting to run, all the time. That is how I feel now after just 3 months, but not the 42 years prior. It is my desire to continue building endurance to participate in longer run and challenge myself. Each run is an adventure. Is it going to be difficult? Yup. Will I want to feel like quitting? Yup. Is it all worth it? Yup! While I still don’t have answers to the questions I asked there is something special about running. Born to Run has inspired me to challenge myself and run with “no excuses!”

While the marathon is the goal for this year, it’s definitely not the end of the road. I am already looking forward to other races, longer training run and getting into trail running. I have experienced some wonderful benefits from running and learned quite a bit in just a short period of time. Reading the CIM website for the marathon, I felt a bit overwhelmed by information. It was overload, but I do feel I will enjoy this “ultimate” experience and reflect upon it positively, looking forward to other challenges.

Marathon in 2013?


“Why do you care about running a marathon anyway? What does it mean to you? How hard are you willing to work? What are you willing to sacrifice? Why is it even important and why does it even matter?”

262These are the questions I need to answer honestly before I jump in with both feet and plan on running a marathon. The past week I have been reading Marathon Roadmap: The Vegetarian Guide to Conquering Your First 26.2 by Matt Frazier (NoMeatAthlete.com). Since I am already training for a half marathon in August I thought I would look ahead at what it would take to accomplish a marathon.

While I have been pretty excited about the idea, I selected the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA on December 2 as my target race. Further reading of the ebook and discussion with a co-worker has me wondering if I am trying to do much too soon. I am in the 7th week of a 16 week program training for my half marathon. The marathon training program is approximately 24 weeks, give or take 6 weeks depending on your ability to put in 12-15 miles before considering a marathon. I fall on the low end, running just over 12 miles a week the last 2 weeks.

A co-worker, who is a marathoner, tri-athlete and avid bicyclist tells me to hold off on the marathon and complete the half marathon first before setting sights on the marathon. Currently my half marathon is set for August 3, as I hope to participate in the Summer Breeze Half Marathon. That gives me an additional 3 months to finish training for the marathon in Sacramento. Looking at both training plans, I can only assume I haven’t trained hard enough through six and  a half weeks to make the full marathon if I were to continue training for the half marathon.

If I were to scrap the plans for the half-marathon, I could ramp up my training to run in my first marathon. Right now, I will continue working towards my half marathon as my goal. If I am successful with the half marathon, I could potentially have training time to make the December 2 marathon in Sacramento. In the meantime, I will come up with answers to the questions I asked to start this post.