Tuesday, May 12, 2009

To ultra, or not to ultra?

This is me, thinking out loud.

I run as often as I can, as far as I can in the time I have. If someone invited me to join them on a trail run that was 15 or 20 miles, I know I could do it without any problem. I would show up and at least start with them and hope they'd hang around until I finished.

Then why, when I sign up for a race, do I always sign up for the one just below the 50k? Every time! For example, I'm doing this 25K Sunday: Big Basin (May 17)

50K's always have a time limit. Time limits scare me. Even when I set them for myself. Then I just call them "goals" though. I have done one 50k. That was in September, 2008. It had an eight hour time limit. I completed it in 8:00:30. I truly believe I went into it over trained and with a couple of injuries I wasn't willing to admit to myself.

I've done a few trail marathons and a large number of 20K's & 30K's. But, as I said before, only one 50k. I was more than willing to tackle the Mt. Diablo marathon, which was a HUGE challenge. Some people said this marathon was harder than a lot of 50K's. I knew I had all day to finish it though, if I needed. Well, not ALL day, but something like 16 hours. So, I wasn't afraid to sign up for it.

I want to do ultras now. I think the fact that I completed Diablo showed me that I do have it in me. I think physically I am able to do the 31.2 miles again. I've learned a lot since I started running trails over two years ago. I know what over training is. I know what being under trained is. I know what rest is about. I know how tough I can be when needed. I think I'm pretty good at keeping myself hydrated and fed out there. I know how to have fun and keep a positive attitude for hours (and hours and hours) on end!!

The only thing that worries me is the time limits. They have cut-off times too. No matter what RBR says, there are many people who will attest to the fact that I AM SLOW! But, one thing I also am is persistent. Maybe the first one I sign up for, I won't make a cut-off. Then you know what? I guess I'll have to try harder next time. My thought is if I want to run ultras, I have to start running ultras. It's really quite simple.

I think I'm tired of mickey-mousing around. It's time to step up and become a true ultra-runner.

So. June 20th. Angel Island. 50k.


Until later.............

20 comments:

Southbay Girl said...

you are my hero!!!!

209Mike said...

Stop worrying about the time. I think you're the only one around that is even close to doubting your abilities. It's time to shine, JoJo. (Exiting angry coach mode). You can do it! Wait until Sequoia so I can run with you. Hey, I was there for your first last year.

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Know what you mean about the cutoffs. Not fun. Or just pick one without cutoffs :). I bet you'd not have as much trouble as you fear though.

You might consider the Lake Merrit event- run for 6 or 12 hours and see how far you can go. It's flat too. It would be a low pressure way of making it into ultra territory. I tried the SF One Day and can tell you such races are a lot harder than they seem. Something about mental discipline...

FoodsThatFit said...

If you are concerned about the time, I have been to a few ultras that have an early start time. Honestly though, I can't picture you not being able to finish under a cut-off time. You've done so much training with trails and hilly courses, I am sure you would be fine, and you are just plain awesome!!! Definitely go for it! The worst that can happen is you finish a little late, but you'll never know until you try, right?!

AnthonyP said...

Day two of reading you blog and I'm loving it already. This is a post to keep in the vault and look back on a few years from now when your are running 4 and 5 and 6 ultras a year.

"I think I'm pretty good at keeping myself hydrated and fed out there. I know how to have fun and keep a positive attitude for hours (and hours and hours) on end!!"

This is 99% of the battle in most ultras, especially for us slower folks....it is about fueling and being mentally sound to get through the rough spots. Don't worry so much about the cut-offs, as doing so will tend to make you go too fast for fear of missing them, and, take it from someone that goes out too fast 90% of the time, you don't want to do that.

Good for you for making the pick to do Angel Island. Doing a PCTR event is an excellent choice. And, if you want some advice or help, feel free to ask around, as the ultra folks are some of the best around when it comes to sharing.

Stephanie said...

You go girl!Hey, I did my first 50k prior to a marathon distance; the time wasn't a bomb, but at ultras there are always slower people who still finish smiling and no one pressures you besides the very often generous time limit. I totally think you're ready for it - you've done tons of shorter distances, but huge hills.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

If you WANT to do Ultras, then I think you CAN do ultras. You know what it will take to finish.

RunningLaur said...

You have the mental fortitude to completely demolish an ultra. You'll be great and have a great time - I just know it!

Kristin said...

Yeah I think once you get past 30 miles, you can probably do anything you set your mind to :)

Good for you! I will be excited to hear how it turns out.

René said...

Go for it! Angel Island is a beautiful place for an ultra!

Karen said...

Whoop! Will be watching with anticipation!

Missy said...

Yay, yay!!! How exciting!!! I'm thrilled for you. I can understand the reservation. Seems like the ultra community is a really great one and super supportive. You're in baby!

aron said...

oh this is SO exciting!!!! I am sooo excited for you :) you will do great girl!!

I want to do an ultra someday too :)

Rick Gaston said...

Ooo Angel Island is a good one. Anyway what those guys said is true. That Diablo marathon is harder than many 50ks. I think the 50-mile is harder than the Miwok 100k personally. Time to shine like Mike said and if you get hot on this one you can dive into the ocean.

MJ said...

Awesome! I'm sure you'll surprise yourself... (in a good way!)

Judi said...

you go girl. you can do it. i did a 50k last fall and they had an 8 hour time limit BUT they allowed you to start an HOUR early, just in case you thought you wouldn't finish in time. i am excited for you! just pick up the pace a bit and RUN!

run to eat said...

Good for you. And knowing you as well as I do I know that once you say you're going to do something - you do it! Guess that means I'll expand my horizons too so I can run endless miles with you while you train.......not the 50K, though for me (yet)

Marcy said...

Yyyyeeeessss!! You can totally do it ;D ;D I'm so excited for you!!

RunBubbaRun said...

I think your title "single track junkie" says it all. You can do it, ultra are mentally half the battle, so if you think you can, you will.

Start out on easier course and go from there. There are also timed events (6~8~12 hour events) You can get the 50k in that way.

Good luck in your upcoming 50k, the hardest part is just signing up sometimes.

Victoria said...

+1 to what Rick said. Diablo is WAY harder than Angel Island. I'm sorry I won't be there!