So it's official, I put pen to paper and finally laid out my run plan for my up coming Mad Marsh Ultra 50K coming up on November 20, 2010. Signing up for a race is my first step towards motivation the second step is setting goals for that race. Normally my goals are something along the lines of: Beat last week's time or finish in the top 10 or win my age group, but going into this Ultra, I have mainly been thinking my goal would be... FINISH. But, over the last month of training, I have increased my overall weekly mileage, trained smart, switched up my running gear and have TOTALLY kick off some serious time on my long runs...all a while, stayed healthy, maintained a steady weight and met my training goals up to this point. So after all of that, I figured, finishing was not a goal worthy of the training I have put in so far.
My last 15 miler run I kept a sub 7:30 pace and felt like a million dollars. But I'm learning in Ultra running a fast 15 miler will only get you started and then you still have more than half of the race left to go. Slowing my pace down to 8:00-8:30 I easily cranked out a 20 and 24 miler in the mountains and still had plenty left in the tanks afterwards. Backing waaaaay down to 9:00 pace I feel that I can break my new GOAL of under 5:00.00 and leave plenty of room for error.
I've talked non-stop about this race over the last month with my "Team Captain/ Pacer" Giancarlo, and we both feel that this is right on track with my training for this race. This past week we laid out the course into 7 laps (4.5 miles each) and reviewed my nutrition plan, clothing, and hydration. We also have on "Team Ultra Waz" as my Chief Medical Officer Kayla, who already has Ultra support experience from this years Keys 50 mile Ultra. If the rain holds off, I should be good to go from a blister standpoint, but you never know. It'll be great to have Kayla's support, but I really hope she just sits there and gets bored. (sorry! If I need you, I'm hurting!!!!) G is planning on pacing me laps 3,4,6 and 7.
Personally, I am breaking the race down into a 3 lap race and a 4 lap race. The first 3 laps are "junk miles" I plan on sticking to my pace goals regardless of how I feel. Everything I have ever read about Ultras says that you can blow a race in the first 10 miles, so NO MATTER HOW I FEEL, I'm going to stick to the plan! After lap 3, I only have 4 laps left. Lap 3 is the Honesty Lap, really how do I feel at this point, where are the other runners, what do I need to do from here, and how can I get to where I need to be. Lap 4 and 5 are Power Laps, I should still have plenty of fuel in the tanks and I am making the progress I need to. Lap 6 is the Guts Lap, I know where I want to finish the race and I need to push harder and deeper to get through this lap. The last and final lap is the Heart Lap, here I've put in too many miles to give up even though my body is done. By this point my body is telling me to stop and the only thing I have left is my heart to get me across the finish line!!
Thinking it and doing it are two completely separate things, I know this. But putting my goals in writing makes them that much more solidified. I read today that the best advice one Ultra can give to another is "to run 26.2 miles as hard as you can, and then keep running!" I have bigger goals with my Ultra running for 2011 and I am very pleased with where I'm at 2 weeks out from this race. Next Saturday I will be pacing several members from the Palmetto Pacers Running Club to a sub 2:00.oo 1/2 marathon... perfect for more 9:00 pace training!!! Got a goal? Put it in writing, not only will it help you get there, but, others will know too and help push you to that point! Run hard, run smart and run with all your heart.