50 Mile Race

AR50_logoWe are still a few weeks away from the start of 2015 and my traditional resolutions post, but yesterday I made my first commitment for the new year. Coming off a very successful year running, which included my first 50K, as well as my second Tough Mudder competition, I signed up for my first 50 mile race, the American River 50 Mile Endurance Race, running from Folsom to Auburn on Saturday, April 4, 2015. This will be my first attempt at a distance longer than 31.7 miles. I know, probably tiring for some to think about, as there is a 14 hour time limit to finish the race.

Much like my 50K attempt during the Diablo Trails Challenge this past April, the goal of my first 50 mile race is to finish. “Finishing is winning” and that is the mindset I will go into the race with. Technically the race is run on trails following the American River, but the real competition is in your mind. If you can run a marathon, you can run 50 miles, but keeping your mind and goal focused will be the challenge. I consider myself fortunate that I had a positive mindset and as I crossed the starting line I knew I was going to cross the finish line later that day.

Like the 50K, I will be running with a partner, co-worker, Brian who will have ran a marathon (CIM earlier this month) and a 50K (Razorback) in February. I knew my running partner during the Diablo Challenge was going to leave me behind early and I was not about to change my race strategy to keep up with him. I probably could have pushed it, but that might have left me short sometime after mile 25. This time around, I feel Brian is better suited to my speed, while running styles are different, it will be interesting to see how well we run together and support each other.

The goal of the race is to finish inside of 14 hours, which is the time limit. Based on my 8:53 finishing time for 31.7 miles, this leaves an additional 18.3 miles to run before we run up against the time limit. That leaves just over 5 hours and the math says we need to run 3.66 miles an hour to meet that time limit.

Replaying the 50K in my mind, I know I wasn’t in the sort of running shape I could have been in. Leading up to the race I had only run twice within 4 weeks of the race. So my conditioning wasn’t nearly at its peak, unlike the half marathon I ran the year prior. I have put together an 18 week training plan and as long as I can make my long runs each week I feel very confident on beating my 50K time and crossing the finish line in the AR50 ahead of that 14 hour cutoff.

It’s rare I run more than one race a year, because I have a very difficult time paying to register in a race, when I could walk out my front door or drive to the nearest trails, put on my hydration pack and run. This race cost me $200 to enter, but you do receive a Pategonia shirt and jacket. I am considering using the Razorback Endurance Race on February 28 as my “long” training run leading up to the AR50. It’s set to be a 4.81 mile loop (trail) or a very simple 2 mile loop (paved). Also many races conflict with my work schedule and much like paying money to run, weekends are not easy days to request off when there is little coverage.

With any luck the next few months of training will get me back into the sort of running shape I was in just a year ago. Unfortunately a second shoulder surgery and physical therapy has had me sidelined since August. I am looking forward to the start of 2015 and while I don’t want to look too far ahead, it might be time to start planning my first 100K, 100 mile run or triathlon.