Thinking About All the Tomorrows

Today’s Run

Time – 52:36
Distance – 4.60 miles
Pace – 11:26 min/mi
Elevation – 191 ft.

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What’s around the corner?

Kept the heart rate really low (like 130 and below) and just shuffled around for about an hour. Nothing special after the long day yesterday. Days like today are the miles that build on yesterday’s long run, and tomorrow’s potential rest day (or speed work, no decision yet), and Tuesday’s run, and Wednesday’s run, and so on. Lots of miles make legs strong, easy days build blood flow and economy, and I get the mental boost of running 4.6 miles without a single hard breath. That’s pretty crazy to think from a guy that used to look like this:

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Me and Little Buddy Before (Click HERE for After)

Considerations of the future…

The marathon is scheduled. I’ve got a plan for the 100-miler for next year. Sign-ups for 2018 will open after this year’s qualifying race in November. But I find myself thinking about what’s next.

I know that sounds crazy. “How much more do you need?” the Wife would say. This running thing happens because it has a plan. That’s how my brain works. I like the direction and THE GOAL. I’ve talked about other ideas in the works. There’s things to think about.

The picture above was from tonight’s run. It’s how I feel about running. The road is uphill to be sure, but only slightly. Certainly it is doable. But it’s also got a curve which I can’t see around yet. I’m not sure what I’ll find when I get there, or where I’ll be going next. It’s sunny up there, though.

Running brings the daylight into my life and makes me feel better about everything. It puts sunshine into the dark corners and illuminates the cobwebs so that they can be swept out of my mind.

Running is, as has been said before, a metaphor for life. This image is another metaphor. We can’t know what’s around the bend, and there’s always a bit of a hill now and then. Putting one foot in front of the other will get us where we need to go.

Plus, running lets me have cookies, which, as we all know, are KEY to getting it done…

Long Runs and Tired Legs…What’s Next?

Today’s Run

Time – 1:54:27
Distance – 10.32 miles
Pace – 11:05 min/mi
Elevation – 241 ft.

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Well, holy crap, that was a long way for my untested legs. I figure, based on rough estimates, that I haven’t run 10+ miles in 10 years. The funny part about it is that the first time around my pace would have been nearly the same, but I would run for about 10 minutes around 6 MPH, and then walked a minute, and done it again, over and over, until my run was completed. Today was just about all continuous running, without any walking breaks, except for a quick stop to fill up my water bottle. I even ate a Larabar while running an hour into the workout.

Crazily enough, I ran far enough and long enough to need to eat while I was running. That’s a strange feeling. In a 100-miler, however, you need to eat WAY more often (try about every 30=60 minutes until the race is completed). That’s a lot of food on the run!

And Now for the Big Question

What’s going to happen next? Where do I go from here? I know that I can run around a lot if I want to, and that I need to keep adding distance and time to my running to get into Western States-shape, but what is the follow-up to this workout and all the mileage from the last few weeks?

I think that next has to be a half-marathon, then the full 26.2, and then up from there. This will all be predicated on the successful and healthy birth of Baby Girl in December, and with enough time and sanity to train up to 26.2 mileage while helping the Wife recover and deal with Teenager and Little Buddy. I’ve got a half marathon in the bag now with the distances I’ve done and how good my legs are feeling. Time to go after the beast.

What race to sign up for is the question? This will be my first marathon ever, so I want to find something that I’ll enjoy. I can’t travel much, so that limits the game plan.

Time-wise, it will have to be in the spring. I’ll need to have some time to keep building up to it. I would like to hit early springtime, though, so that I can keep adding and working for Tunnel Hill in the fall of 2018. That will be a 2020 Western States qualifier (most likely).

So, any suggestions for a spring marathon in the central Midwest?

On Your Mark, Get Set…

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Today’s Run

Time – 42:04
Distance – 4.04 miles
Pace – 10:25 min/mi
Elevation – 180 ft.

Tickets to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game tomorrow, so no run. With the off-day yesterday, I figured I best put more effort in today to get the miles. Did one “long” hill (I only have a few to choose from around the house), and I’m already starting to plan a run with lots of hills, as there are 5–6 that could be put together in a good solid run. One is going to be my “hill repeat” spot. Decisions, decisions.

A Western States Primer

The Western States Endurance Run has been around a long time. According to the official Western States website and the “How it All Began” page, the race is the longest 100 mile race in the world, and has been around since 1977, when the 1st Annual footrace officially commenced.

This race, however, was (and is) actually a horse race, originally begun, as all good ideas are, through a bet in 1955 (How many adverbs can I fit into one sentence?). The 100 mile horse race, also known as the Tevis Cup, in 1974 had one unusual participant. Gordy Ainsleigh, with the blessing and the “encouragement” of one of the Tevis Cup officials, strode to the starting line on his own two feet to run against the horses. The Cup has a time limit of 24 hours, and Gordy finished with 18 minutes to spare. The next year, another person tried (and withdrew 2 miles from the finish…which is not the only time this has occurred since). The next, another put in the effort to finish 30 minutes over 24 hours. The next year, in 1977, the 1st official race, with 14 participants and no horses (they race on a different day now), occurred.

Racers who finish in under 24 hours get a silver belt buckle. Finishing in less than 30 hours but more than 24 hours earns the racer a bronze belt buckle.

The race itself begins at 5:00 AM on the Saturday of the last full weekend in June. One must run the entire 100 mile trail without assistance beginning in Squaw Valley, California, near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, to Auburn, CA, and finish the race by running 300 meters around the Placer High School running track. It’s a grueling trail that climbs 15,540 ft. and descends 22,970 ft. By the way, that much descending on legs with 100 miles in them isn’t easier because it’s downhill. The quads have to work even harder to slow you down…

The course requires racers to FORD A RIVER at mile 78, which means there’s another 22 miles to go AFTER the river crossing. In “high water years” according to the course description, rafts are required to get across…

Temperatures can range from 20 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit…IN THE SAME YEAR. There was snow on the course last year…

Oh, yeah, and because most racers don’t even finish before nightfall, headlamps are required equipment because you will run in the dark…

So here I am. I’m ready to run a horse race (any jokes may commence in three…two…one…GO) for nothing more than a silver belt buckle. I’ll have 30 to finish, but I want that silver.

This sounds like a good idea to me.

I Got to Thinking…

Today’s Run

Time – 33:54 (I think…)
Distance – 3.26 miles (Maybe…)
Pace – 10:24 min/mi (If Math doesn’t break…)
Elevation – No clue

Went out, ran for just the fun of it. I didn’t try to hold a pace or heart rate, which is probably not the best idea after a long run, but it didn’t really hurt, and I listened to the body, so I’m gonna say it’s all good. Get home with a fast pace (for me, anyway) and, lo and behold, the Runkeeper app between the AppleWatch and the iPhone have failed me! Luckily, I got a glance at the distance and the pace, so I think this is right. I’m within a 15 seconds either way. A good run for a warm day.

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So Here’s The Idea

Just so we’re all in agreement here, I’m crazy. Choosing to attempt to run a 100 mile race is a little nuts by any standard, but my longest run in the last 10 years is the 7.83 miles I did on Saturday.

*Insert cricket sounds here*

Prior to that, I’ve got three half marathons under my belt and three sprint-distance triathlons. I’m not a runner by history or by athleticism. This is not my area of expertise.

How am I going to pull off THE GOAL? We’ve discussed that I’m going to be hunting for The Plan (If you would like to contribute thoughts to this particular area, feel free to comment below. Seriously…).

That brings us to the question: What is The Idea? It goes something like this:

The Western States Endurance Run has a specific set of criteria for entry. The process is here. It’s not overly complicated, but it does have a very important prerequisite. In order to qualify to even enter the lottery, you need to have a race result from a qualifying 100 kilometer (about 62 miles) or 100 mile race. This means that, in order for me to run Western States, I’ll need to run a different 100 mile race in the preceding year.

Ok, so, I’ve got to run a 100 mile race, finish it, put in for the WS lottery, be selected in December, AND THEN I get to run the following June. Just for context, there were 4248 lottery participants in 2017, and 369 TOTAL spots for the race, including the Top–10 Men and Women from 2016, the Aid Station selections (each aid station gets to put one runner in the race), and Sponsor selections (pay for the race, get to race…makes sense to me). Odds are pretty small for a first time selection in the lottery. If I don’t get chosen, I have to run a qualifying race the next year, finish it (this is key, by the way…no finish, no result, no entry into the lottery), and then put in for the lottery again. If I don’t get chosen…you get The Idea.

The upside is that, if not selected, and I submit for the lottery the VERY NEXT YEAR, I get to have my name in the hat twice. If I put in consecutively for the three years, I’m in three times. This goes on and on until I am selected. Thus, my odds increase. In the meantime, I’m running at least one 100 mile race a year until I do get in. Lots of training is built into this plan, whether I like it or not.

Here’s the kicker that makes all of this possible with limited travel. There is a race, the Tunnel Hill 100, about 2 1/2 hours from here in Vienna, IL. It’s a 100 mile trail race, and it’s so flat that the second fastest 100 mile run time was done there. Not really helpful for Western States, as the course profile below would seem to indicate…

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So, that’s The Idea. I’ll run 100 miles, hope that I can win the lottery (quite literally), and then go to California and do it again on what can only be described as a stupidly harder course. No problem!

Breathing heavily into a paper bag

I’m fine…