Saturday, August 13, 2016

First Stop: Half Marathon. Final Destination: 50K Ultra.

Three years ago, my mom sent me a link to the Ironmaster’s Challenge 50K race at Pine Grove Furnace State Park and said I should sign up for it.
Post Ironmaster's Challenge 25K 2014.
Look, I wore regular road-running shoes!

She was joking.

At the time, I had never heard of a race that long, never heard the term ultramarathon, and neither us could fathom that people actually raced that distance. (Since then, I have learned that a 50K race is a baby race in terms of ultramarathons.)

I signed up for the 25K distance instead, though my training consisted of running only on treadmills. I did finish, but I couldn’t walk for a week afterwards. I almost canceled an appointment I had on the third floor of a building because I couldn’t climb the stairs (but then I realized the building had elevators).

The next year, mom wanted to run the 15K as a tribute to our family, which had spent many summers at my grandparents’ cabin in Pine Grove Furnace, and as a tribute to herself for turning 60 that year. I ran it with her.

But since learning about the 50K at Pine Grove Furnace, possibly my favorite place in the world, I’ve had this lingering what-if desire to complete it. Could I physically complete a race of that distance on that rugged terrain? Could I mentally do it?

My answer is yes, I can do it. With desire and the appropriate training, I know I can do it. So I’m going to.
Post Ironmaster's Challenge 15K, 2015

Last fall, I trained for a trail half-marathon but broke my foot a week before the race. After I finally got out of the cast, I couldn’t give myself the push to run anymore. (Also, it was winter and I was kind of a fair-weather runner). I didn’t have the training needed to do the 15K so I certainly wasn’t prepared for the 50K.

So I asked myself what I needed to do to prepare for that race. I needed some stepping-stone goals to get there.

First step: start running again. I loved the Fleet Feet half-marathon training program I did last summer/fall, so I signed up again to have the community support to get my butt (or my feet) back on the roads and trails.

Next: I signed up for the Harrisburg Half at the end of the summer, September 11, 2016.

After that: I plan to either sign up for a trail half or 25K...OR...the Harrisburg Marathon in November.

Then: I will need to keep up the training through the winter months, which I have never really done before, though I did get tricked into running/hiking an icy trail half-marathon in February.

Finally: the Ironmaster’s Challenge 50K in mid-to-late April 2017 with the goal of finishing, preferably in under nine hours.

I can cross that off my bucket list and never have to run again.... ;-)

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