Monday, September 12, 2011

Ultra Marathon Training

Just off the trail that winds around Greenfield Lake, my new favorite place for long runs.

Yesterday, I trained for an ultra marathon. Sort of. I have a new friend in my program (a fellow first year) named M. and she's training for a 62 mile race that takes place in two weeks. When I heard about M.'s race, I got excited - I needed some local running friends and the best ones are those who are a thousand times more hardcore than yourself. In fact, M. was such a good influence on me that I ran eight miles at a faster-than-usual pace, which is easily the farthest that I've run since April. Needless to say, I was very tired and very proud. But mostly very tired.

Because M. is training for an ultra, our run was a little different than I'm used to. Usually I run my runs - meaning I don't take walking breaks and if I have to use a bathroom or tie my shoe or wait for a light to turn green, I stop my watch. M. is planning to finish her race in 19 hours (!!!) and her strategy is to run for 20 minutes and then walk for three. After even a short break, your muscles tighten up and it can be hard to get going again. Walking breaks train your body to adapt to that discomfort and get moving again. This was tough for me after about five miles - I can't imagine how much harder it would be after 40 or 50.

The first 20 minutes flew by. We talked a lot about 9-11 and even paused for a moment of silence under a flag at half mast. The walking break was nice and I had no problem running again once it was over. The second interval was a bit harder. The fourth interval was really hard. Once my Garmin clicked to six miles (my previous long run distance in recent weeks) I hit a wall. Slowed down. Got a side stitch. The mind can be an evil thing. We took a four minute walking break and then there was just a mile left, and I swore I would not stop running until we got to the end of the path. It was a really, really hard mile. But we finished it and clocked eight miles in just over one hour and twenty minutes - an average pace of ten minute miles, WITH walking breaks. Which means that when we were running, our pace was between nine and 9:30. For a long run pace, for me, that is super fast!

I accidentally turned my Garmin off for about a tenth of a mile. Good thing it's a four mile loop.

I came home, read the Internet for a while (I love Get Off My Internets and just discovered the forums. Hours of snarky entertainment.), ate a huge helping of leftover vegan lasagna, and spent the rest of the day catching up on school work. Not too shabby for a Sunday.

And now that I've broken the six mile barrier, I truly feel like I'm in training mode again. Upcoming races I'm planning to enter, just so long as I pay my bills and nothing comes up, include an 8K on October 9th, a half marathon on November 6th, and a four mile Turkey Tofurkey Trot on November 26th. The best part? All of the races are in Wilmington. Such a novelty after traveling to events in East Texas.

As for today, I have still more school work to do (it never really ends), papers to grade, words to write and class to attend. And a yoga class at noon, if I can get enough done before then. Wish me luck! 

23 comments:

  1. Who would have known taking walking breaks during a run could be so hard!

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  2. I definitely agree that training with people going for a bigger goal than you is definitely the best way to go. I'm still sore from my workout last week and am going back again today for more torture.

    I too just discovered GOMI, snark. I also love reading @Mattheats twitter account. Love. 

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  3. Right?! Part of what made it so hard was the fact that I was running faster than normal during the twenty minutes prior to the walking break. Ultra marathoning is definitely a different beast. 

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  4. Have you looked at the forums on GOMI? They have a section devoted to healthy living bloggers. I was DYING. 

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  5. I just found the forums too. They are hysterical!!

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  6. Oh my gosh, I totally thought YOU were signing up for an ultra!  My jaw dropped!  I actually didn't know that about the run/walk pattern, but it makes sense to me, based on my experiences with half-marathon training.

    I'm happy you have found some running buddies in NC!  That is terrific.

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  7. I just had an idea. John and I should come visit and do a 5k or something while we're there. Some time after the wedding, though...

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  8. This is an excellent idea! And there are races here almost every weekend. It would be easy to swing!

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  9. YES. I hoped someone would fall for that misleading title. Sorry to trick you. :)

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  10. I actually stopped reading most of the healthy living bloggers because they got to be repetitive and boring, and now that I have limited internet time I prefer to spend it reading the blogs of more authentic writers. The only blog I'm still subscribed to from that bunch is Healthy Tipping Point, and even then I thought some of the criticisms of her were spot on. Some times it's nice to see a differing opinion of certain "celebrity" bloggers, especially when their own comment sections tend to be cheerleading squads. ;)

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  11. Some of the threads are just plain mean, but most of them are pretty spot-on. :)

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  12. Man I go so excited you were training for an ultra. How sad you only ran a training day with someone else. 


    I can't believe you found get off my internets because just this week I discovered it. But I did for another reason. I did because they linked to my blog saying it was awful!  That post did get 115 comments (well 3 awful blogs were mentioned)

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  13. I might run an ultra one day, but now is definitely not the time! Need a few more marathons under my belt first.

    When you said you were profiled on GOMI I was shocked! They usually target huge bloggers who make lots of money off their posts and are jerky to their readers - you are none of those things (especially the jerky part!). So I rushed over to read the post and the comments, and was happy to see that most of the people there came to your defense for the same reasons. Whew. If they started attacking people like you and me, I would've had to quit reading them. Glad it gave you a bump in your hits though, and it must have been nice to see folks coming to your defense.

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  14. A few still made fun of it.  The other bloggers mentioned in that post weren't big things either. People didn't realize what they were saying on the forums would make front page news. 


    My September hits is already more than my August hits based on that site but I do not have any new followers so they won't be back.

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  15. Boo. I hope they don't ever make that mistake again. To be honest, I started reading that blog a few months ago because they were discussing What I Wore, which I used to love but now can't stand, and I really only read the posts on the main page about her. I just found the forums and was reading mostly threads about healthy living bloggers.

    I hope you weren't too upset by it. I get some mean comments on my blog every now and then. It's just a risk of being public with your thoughts and interests. 

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  16. I wasn't too upset at all. I was mainly way distracted and kept reading the comments. 


    But this person was upset: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4X2w8GVbvTUJ:stfashionista.blogspot.com/2011/09/words-of-wisdom.html+small+town+fashionista+words+of+wisdom&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us  

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  17. Ha! Thanks for that link. I think you handled it MUCH better than this person. Usually if the person they are discussing comes on the board and is a normal person who takes it all with a grain of salt and a sense of humor, they are easily won over. I think you accomplished that nicely.


    This lady? Not so much. :)

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  18. What's funny is I was going to take a screen shot of the page that I'm mentioned and put it on my blog saying I was mentioned and that I got a ton of hits from it and am addicted to reading comments.... and really only say that. not mention anyone or anything.  I just didn't get around to that post yet and then I see what this other person wrote and I can't believe that that is the reaction you come up with. It never once crossed my mind.

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  19. Wow, I cannot imagine a 62 miler. That's amazing! I often have to take walking breaks during my runs but it's easy for me. Haha. The lake where you run looks so beautiful. I love all the trees!

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  20. Wow, an ultra! It's cool reading how someone goes about tackling that sort of race. Good  luck M.! I'm going to keep up with my half-marathons for now.

    Um, and I JUST found GOMI forums last week. I forget what I was googling and stumbled upon them. Like you, I thought some of them were mean, yet others SPOT-ON and hysterical. It's been my entertainment for the week.

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  21. GOMI seems to be gaining speed! I like to read the threads when I wake up and drink coffee. It's becoming a sick little ritual, but I just can't get enough! :)

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  22. I'm starting to read them every morning too! I stopped reading many of the healthy living blogs a while ago - mainly because I didn't feel like I could relate to a lot of them (especially the full-time bloggers), the rigidness of their eating/exercising, etc. - so the forums are interesting. Some people are really mean (the outfit/weight criticisms and the people who go on about race times not being fast enough really drive me nuts), but the commentary is engaging. 

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  23. I agree 100%. I'm not too fond of the body snarking, but there are certain threads about certain full time bloggers who cannot spell or proof-read AT ALL, and it's really fun to read the ones that make fun of those ladies. I'm okay with a few mistakes here and there, but multiple transgressions on every post when it's your full time job is just ridiculous. 

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