It’s all fun and games…

It’s all fun and games….

…until someone decides to run an ultra!!

Happy New Years! Today, I’m excited to share one of my big goals for 2016 – to run my first ultra. After much debate and some input from a friend (thanks, Logan!), I have decided on the Washington D.C. North Face Endurance Challenge 50K – which is actually in Virginia.

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to run an ultra. I think it became less of a pipe dream and more of a reality after I started running trails more, and after I completed my second marathon.

I had a bit of a debate on whether to go for a 50K or a 50 miler as my first ultra. One of the factors that helped me decide on the 50K was Magdalena Boulet’s response to a question on her advice to an aspiring ultrarunner, during an interview after her Western States 100 miler win (which was also her 100 miler debut):

“Really respect the distance and progress slowly. There’s so many fun and amazing ultra races out there and they go anywhere from 50K to 100K to 100 miles and beyond. Make sure that you’re progressing at a rate that your body is happy with. The goal is to do this for a very long time and not to say that you just did it once. Running can have such an amazing part in your life and there are so many choices. What a great way to see the world. We’re so lucky that we can participate in this sport and get to see trails that most people don’t get to see” -Magdalena Boulet, Running Stupid interview, July 10, 2015

I think I was leaning towards the 50K and this kind of sealed the deal. Plus, I had previously committed to Ragnar trail and it is just three weeks after the North Face Endurance Challenge. With all of that considered, I think the 50K was the best choice for me.

I will be following a 15 week training plan to prepare for this race. This week is actually week 1 of training, following six weeks of base training. My main focus, of course, is mileage. Specifically the long run. After reading a lot of helpful information, both online and in book format, I have devised a plan that involves a 3 week cycle for long runs. The first week is a long run Saturday followed by a rest day Sunday. The second week is a long run Saturday followed by a hike on Sunday. And the third week is back to back long runs on Saturday and Sunday. Most, if not all, of these runs will take place on trails.

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Some people swear by doing back to back long runs every weekend to prepare for an ultra. But I know myself, and I know that I will just burn out, get injured, or both. I think this three week cycle will be a great fit for me, and will get me to the start line healthy and ready to tackle my first ultra.

So on April 9 I will toe the start line to see if I have what it takes to earn the honor of calling myself an ultrarunner!

What exciting goals do you have for 2016?
How did you celebrate New Year’s Eve?

8 Comments

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  1. I’m so excited for you! I think you will love doing ultras for as much as you love trails.
    jan recently posted…Well, Hello!My Profile

  2. How exciting! Your training plan sounds smart. You can do it!

  3. So excited for you!! I know you’re going to do great and I can’t wait to follow along on your training and see you accomplish this goal! Be careful, it’s a very slippery slope 😉 Congrats again for taking a big leap!

    1. Thanks, Logan! From what I’ve seen that first ultra seems to be a gateway to many more – we will see! 🙂

  4. I’m so excited for you! Magdalena Boulet’s advice is very good. When I ran JFK, I’d never heard of a 50K so I just plunged into the 50-miler. I also had no idea how to train for it, so I just ran my MCM and ran JFK a month later with one 20-miler stuck in the middle between the two races.

    As the race nears, you can figure out if you want me to come join you for a few miles, and if so, at what point. 🙂
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…A Renewal Of GoalsMy Profile

    1. I’d love that! They have some pretty strict rules on their website about pacers (they’re not allowed for the 50K)…. but if you happen to be out there for a trail run and join me for a few miles, I don’t see where that would be breaking the rules. We’ll figure it out 🙂

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