A week from Tuesday I face my biggest physical challenge to date, 45 miles. If it were not for taking control of my health I would never have consider this idea an option. Since achieving my goals I have had a new found energy to “do epic shit.” It started in 2013 when I completed my first half marathon in 1:58. In April this year I had the itch and completed my first 50K (31.7 miles) in 8:53. I walked around for 4 weeks on a runner’s high desiring to run longer, go further.
Based on a post by Mark Rowlands from the Trail and Ultra Running group on Facebook, I read about a challenge to run your age on your birthday. I thought about this for a moment…hmm, 45 years old. Looking back on the 50K and knowing how I felt the last 2 miles, could I accomplish another 13.3 miles for a total of 45 miles? I decided to look into the possibilities of pushing my body yet again.
While my training hasn’t been up to par recently due to other priorities, on November 11 I will be slipping on the Luna Sandals and looking to run farther than I ever have. I spent time reading up on 50 mile races, which I will be participating in for the first time next April (AR50mile.com). Originally I was planning on using trails at Contra Loma Regional Park. Unfortunately, the parking lot I wanted to use in order to stage my aid station never seems to be open, so I abandoned that course.
I wanted to keep the run to a 2-3 mile loop on relatively flat ground on trails. I started running during my son’s soccer practice at a Creekside Park in Oakley, each loop was only a quarter mile, but offered some things a trail wouldn’t. Looked at some of the local school for a bit longer loop but nothing fit the bill.
Without having to drag out all sorts of equipment and be gone probably 10-11 hours acting crazy (well, running) I started looking at the local trails around the house. Unfortunately none of them are dirt trails but I finally conceded the fact I would not be able to have a trail close to home, on dirt.
What I did come up with after some searching and mapping out routes was a 3.26 mile loop that would keep me close to home and take my by my house every 1.63 miles. This will allow me to use my house as an aid station and I won’t need others to help me along the way or have food and drinks ready to give me when I stop by. It also gives me access to a restroom, something that I only used once when I ran my 50K. The other nice feature, if I get tired and DNF, then it’s a short walk home and I reevaluate where the failure occurred.
I look forward to this run as it’s relatively flat and I should be able to manage a consistent pace. With that said, 45 is nothing to shake a stick at, it’s going to be tough and challenging. The 50K is the only distance run I can compare with and aid stations were roughly 8 miles apart. The best part is I don’t have to carry a hydration pack or hand held bottles for that matter.
To fuel this run I am planning on Medjool dates, yellow potatoes, boiled and quartered, bananas cut in half and possibly some pinole and chia based snacks from Fuel Your Run courtesy of No Meat Athlete. I have made the hand pies with bean and squash filling as well as iskiate, which is a chia fresca. I have read many comments from other ultra runners and some of the food they fuel themselves which sounds absurd. I am going to try and keep it all natural and not rely on the processed sugars see on the shelves and sponsoring many running events.
The goal, to finish. Times are irrelevant, but many judge endurance by how long or how far. Both will be personal bests WHEN my feet carry me over mile 45. While the AR50 will be more challenging and grueling, I believe I could accomplish this 45 miles run in 9 hours. Again, the goal is to finish, but tying a time to it will provide me something to shoot for. So if you live in Oakley and see that crazy guy running when you leave for you and running when you come home from work, it will be me. Looking forward to the challenge.