In my blog post Brain vs. Body, I spoke of how I was preparing to run a 50 mile trail race, but then decided against it due to lack of proper training (remember the 6 "P's"?). Well, for some reason it was really important for me to complete a 50 mile run that year. Why, I can't exactly say, but let's just say I don't like to leave any goal just hanging out there.
The goal was to try and run a 50 mile race with as little training as possible. Don't get me wrong, I would have liked to have trained like a madman and won my age group, but with a new baby at home, that wasn't a possibility. So how little is little? As was learned with the previous 100 mile races, the most important training runs are the long runs. So with this race, all the fluff (shorter runs) was eliminated and other than a handful of 8-10 milers, I only ran once every week to 2 weeks. Starting at a base of 2 hours, each long run was increased by 30 minutes until the 5 hour mark was attained with 4 weeks to go. I had to take 2 weeks off due to some muscle tightness (courtesy of lack of sleep and lack of proper conditioning), and ran 3 hours with 2 weeks to go, 90 minutes with 1 week to go, and then the race. Also, if it weren't for the Graston Tools my good friends at Central Mass Physical Therapy "inflicted" upon me in the weeks leading up to the race, there's no way I would have made the starting line.
On November 5th, 2011 along with a few hundred others, I set off in the woods of Ipswich for the StoneCat 50ultramarathon. It's a 4 loop, 12.5 mile course that included a small river crossing as seen in the photo introducing this blog (4 times of course), and nice, rolling, non-technical terrain. It couldn't have been a more perfect day weather-wise, and along with my close friend and running partner Jim Hughes, we set out with a plan. Jim's was to break 9 hours, mine was to not break my pelvis (again). Fortunately, Jim won out. We ran smart and steady. The first loop was in just under 2 hours, 12 minutes. We refueled, ate, and left right on 2 hours, 15 minutes. The second loop was run in just under 2 hours 11 minutes. We refueled, ate, and left right at 4 hours, 30 minutes. The 3rd loop took just under 2 hours, 8 minutes and the last loop around 2 hours 10 minutes again. We were sure to drink enough and eat enough at the aid stations (the bacon, grilled cheese, and steamed potatoes and salt my favorites) as well as nail the pacing so that we never had to back off due to over-exertion. In fact, my last mile felt really good around 7:30 pace, only to be outdone by Jim's sub 7 final mile! Clickhere to see the Garmin file of the race.