Wednesday, October 31, 2007

50K Ponderings

Okay, so we've got a 50k this weekend. Autumn Leaves is a repeated five mile loop - Jenny and I are going to run together and use a 5/1 run/walk. It's going to be great going by the same aid station every five miles - lots of food, drink and clothing options that way. I'm going to wear my pack, but it won't be heavily loaded, which will be really nice.

I checked back on my last two 50k races - a 7:06 and a 7:05. Based on those times, we decided to take the early start at 6:00 am. Eric is running the 50k as well but won't need to start early. Rob and Steve are running the 50 mile version - I think they will be starting with us.

I've been reminded that I said I wasn't going to run this distance again. I know I said that. I can't give a solid explanation for why I am at it again. The joy of the run, the challenge of the distance, the camaraderie of the race, the glow of accomplishment - they are all part of it. I guess the other part is the need to conquer a distance that has beat me up. Something in me needs to run this distance till I've done it well - a little faster, a lot less pain, no heart stuff. And I know myself well enough to know that once I've done that, I'll have to do it a few more times to prove to myself it wasn't a fluke. I feel that way about the marathon too - I need to run a few feeling good from beginning to end - finishing strong instead of struggling.

I remember when Eric wanted to BQ. He worked and worked at it. He cramped up, he went out too fast, he hobbled for a few days following. Then he qualified, and I believe he has qualified at every single marathon he has run since. He finishes strong - even with negative splits. He runs across the finish line with a huge smile. He runs back a couple miles and runs in with me. He doesn't hobble around afterward anymore (just after 100s now). That's how I want to finish - strong. I want to feel like I could go back out for a few more miles instead of feeling the pressing need to sit down. I've made some strides - I feel good the next day, ready to run by Tuesday or Wednesday (depending upon blisters), but those last eight miles of the race are so tough. I have this idea that if I keep working at it, someday the second half will feel as good as the first half - I've got to run till that happens.

I remember, years ago, asking Eric if running four miles would ever feel easy. He assured me it would, and it does. Now a half feels easy. Someday a full will feel that way, and then the 50K. That's what I hope anyway!

The 50k is a challenge. I'm looking forward to taking it on, looking forward to running with Jenny, to seeing Rob, Steve and Eric on the loops, to seeing other running friends and volunteers. I realize that my race report may include a tale of struggling through the final miles, of a tight chest and gasping breath, of a post-to-post finish. It doesn't matter, because it will also be a tale of another great running weekend that will leave me feeling blessed and satisfied in so many other ways. After all, isn't that what life is about?

26 comments:

Journey to a Centum said...

You can do it Michelle. I remember my first mile when I started running again at 38. I thought I was going to hack a lung and you were up to three miles. Have fun on your journey.

Eric

Jack said...

Some great thoughts in your post. I must say I share your view about wanting to feel strong as opposed to wasted after a long race - I'm sharing your journey in this respect. We just need to hang in there, it will get easier if we persist!

Wes said...

That's how I want to finish - strong. I want to feel like I could go back out for a few more miles instead of feeling the pressing need to sit down.

Blaze the trail! I will be happy when I can make it through the "just struggling" part :-) 5 weeks!!!

JustRun said...

I know I said this before, but I'd love to come up and run that with you! Take care of yourself- I'm looking forward to the report.

Oh, and thanks for the notes about the tape. :)

Sarah said...

Your goals are definitely within your reach! I think Saturday is going to be a great day! See you at the early start! : )

E-Speed said...

Have fun this weekend! I am sure you will do well if you just listen to your body and enjoy the day!

Thomas said...

Good Luck, Michelle. I clearly remember the report from your last 50k, and I'm surprised you want to do it again. I trust you will have enough sense to pull out if things are getting as bad as then.

But have load of fun anyway!

Try@thlete said...

Good luck!

olga said...

Step up to the challenge:)

Ironayla said...

Good luck this weekend. I hope you all have fun :)

Sunshine said...

Here's to you and finishing strong!
Will they give out left-over Halloween candy?
Best wishes.

Joe said...

Great reflections, Michelle. Have a wonderful run.

Do pay attention to your heart. Seriously. That's my only concern for you.

Run well!

robtherunner said...

What? The 50/50 is this weekend. I suppose I could use a nice relaxing break from the rigors of the work day. A nice 50 will do just fine. Remember, it doesn't have to be fun to be fun. I think you might know this already ;)

Randy said...

Best of Luck to you Michelle!!! We all know you can do it.

I fully understand your need to go out and do a race and finish strong whatever the distance may be. I think that is exactly what we all want and expect.

It's so amazing to pass thru the HM distance now and not really be struggling when I can so easily remember how I felt after my first one last April...we've come such a long way....

Good luck...keep those goals out in front of you..never let them get behind you....

Also tell Eric and all the others of your group that are running that I wish them the best as well..

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Yeah Michelle! You know I will pay attention to your heart and breathing even if you don't!!! :) It's gonna be beautiful! Can't wait!
Jenny

Robb said...

Absolutely, that's what life is about! I read this quote somewhere recently..."life is a miraculous undertaking if you're paying attention". How true eh?

Nicole said...

Well even though you said you wouldn't run this distance again I hope you enjoy it and do well which I'm sure you will do. Good luck.

scott keeps running said...

you're going to do great! wish i was out there with you all!

Annette said...

You're going to do great! I can't imagine even comtemplating a 50K. I'm still working on conquering a half without struggles. Good luck!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

you're running it cuz you're a runner. it's in your blood! it's what you do! of course, pay attention to your heart and take care of yourself. and most of all, have fun!!!

Addy said...

Have a wonderful amazing time at the 50k this weekend. I think most of us can relate with that desire to conquor something that continuously beats us up, and it does seem like with enough effort, anything can eventually get easier.

Can't wait to read about it!

Meghan said...

Michelle,

I think I remember you mentioning this race momentarily in a previous post, and I thought to myself, "Oh I think she might run that race!" And, here you are running it. ;)

It sounds like you have a solid plan, so I guess it's just get up and go time. I have several times in my infant ultra-running career backpedaled on doing something that I said I wasn't going to do. That happens all the time, and I think it's good as long as we learn from what heppened in the past and we bring it with us.

Good luck this weekend!
Meghan

Jon said...

You're a pretty hardcore runner now! I totally feel the same way you do with being able to finish strong. But I have the faith that we'll hit that next level and evolve with our running. I mean, come on - we put in those miles and suffer through those aches and blisters. The running gods have to toss us a bone eventually, right? :-)

wendy said...

I totally know what you mean - sometimes I want a marathon do over, b/c Chicago was not my most pleasant experience. ;-)

But, unlike you, I'll only need one to decide it wasn't a fluke, ha ha!

Anyways, GREAT JOB on the race, and I can't wait to read the report!!!

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

Such inspiring, confirming thoughts! I always learn something from reading your blog! Thanks for the motivation!
Let us know how well you did.

runliarun said...

Oh, I understand it so well, this need to finish without struggle, with grace, in control.