Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The New Athletic Challenge

Okay so the photo may be misleading as it is Cindy and I posing on Hapuna Beach in May 2009 before 70.3 Honu.  Last years 'challenge' was executing a good race in Hawaii and if the gods were with me secure my third IM Hawaii slot which I did.  Now in the interests of athletic longevity and mental freshness I have always avoided back to back years of serious triathlon training (multiple definitions exist for the term 'serious', those of you who know me understand what I mean) so without a decent photo to use for this years endeavor I thought a nice picture of my beautiful wife and I on a beach would do the job (it also shows me at what I consider 'racing weight', so aids in my motivation to think before I eat ;-)).

Moving on - I was thinking about racing some low key triathlons and a couple of 70.3 events this year to keep my hand in but with my personal triathlon objectives and goals accomplished many years ago and my primary focus now being my own athletes and the Vo2 Performance Center I asked myself what do I really enjoy doing (answer - trail running), what is the most time efficient single sport discipline to train for (answer - running) and what have I never done before due to being plain ole scared to death of it (answer - a trail ultra marathon), Eureka!  So an off road ultra marathon it is!

Which one? Well another decision that was somewhat easy to make.  First it had to be Epic in the true sense of the word as if I am going to put myself through this it might as well be a real challenge so instead of 'just an ultra marathon' (defined as any running event further than 26.2 mile) I decided on a 50 mile trail race.  Secondly it had to be somewhat local as traveling takes me away from my athletes and the Performance Center.  Thirdly it has to offer some spectacular scenery (I guess if I going to run this far there will undoubtedly be some low points and a nice view might take my mind off it).  With my criteria in place it did not take much finding, the White River 50 is a legendary event in trail running circles, local, 50 miles and is set in the shadow of beautiful Mt Rainier so should provide some spectacular views!  The date of the race is July 31st so it could not be better timing.  Oh, did I mention in my excitement at entering this race that I also signed up my beautiful wife Cindy?  Well I needed someone to understand what I was going to be putting myself through and what better way than for her to share the experience with me ;-).

Running an Ultra Marathon such as the White River 50 will be a completely different challenge to racing an Ironman.  Similarities exist in the time it might take to complete (an Ironman usually takes me around 10 hours) and the fact pacing and nutrition are critical however there are many unique things, for starters it is all one form of locomotion! From a training perspective it poses a new challenge and has meant I have had to broaden my own knowledge base in order to ensure that Cindy and I are sufficiently prepared for the demands of the event.  I intend to post several updates going forward on our progress towards this goal so that those of you who might be interested in following our journey or are maybe thinking of doing an Ultra yourself might learn something from the trials and tribulations we shall no doubt face along the way!

Already in our preparation we have learned 1. there is no place for speed work, 2. it is okay to walk, 3. weekly mileage might need to be greater than 25-30 ;-).


Deanna said...

Awesome goal. I look forward to reading about your training! Maybe next years goal could be climbing Mt. Rainier? (if you haven't already done that)

Linnea said...

Awesome both of you! I just had my first athlete who crossed over to ultras complete the American River 50miler. Super rewarding! I am motivated for one too. Best of luck with the training. WS100 is out there, isn't it! :-)

Ben Bigglestone said...

I am very intrigued to see how it will go. If nothing else it is making me focus on my multisport limiter which can't be a bad thing!

As for Mt Rainier Deanna, would love to, definitely in the future.

WS's Linnea.....well I guess my first triathlon was a sprint ;-).