I am almost shitting my pants, but I decided to sign up for my first Ultra Marathon. It is “just” a 50K race here in Colorado which probably sounds laughable to all those 50 Miler and 100 miler runners, but for me it is just the first step into the Ultra Marathon scene. The race also features “just” a ~2,000 ft. elevation gain which is spread out into 500 ft.“ sections per 8 mile loop. The race I signed up for is the Greenland 50K – Greenland as in Greenland, Colorado ;-). The race is located south of Denver in Douglas County. The Greenland Open Space has a trail that is approx. 8 miles long and 50K runners will do that loop 4 times accordingly.
My training for this event is in full swing and I better be ready by April 30th if I want to have a good experience. So, I am “eating hills for breakfast” with almost every run. I purposely built my routes based on the number of hills and if I can make a detour to add a long stretch of uphill running I will happily do it. Naturally I am also doing hill repeats as part of my training and while the first few weeks were a little tough on me I am slowly feeling the effort paying off. I still have long ways to go before I am ready for this, but there is definitely good progress.
Last Saturday I ran for 18 miles with an elevation gain of a little over 1,000 feet and I have to say I could have run for another 5-6 miles probably. I purposely stopped fueling about 50 minutes before I finished and I also increased the speed I was running at for those last 5-6 miles. If I would have stuck to the slower speed and continued fueling the additional 5-6 miles should have not been a problem. While I felt a wiped out on Saturday night (lack of sleep, running, walking the dog for another 6 miles during the day, etc.) when Sunday came I barely felt anything. My legs felt fresh and if I would have known that earlier I probably would have planned for a back to back long run, but so I made it a normal rest day. My goal for next Saturday is to run for about 20-22 miles and then eventually do a back to back Sunday run of 8-10 miles (time permitting). I changed my fueling from 45-50 minutes down to taking a Gu gel every 30 minutes and I think that also helped me to feel totally good for the entire run.
Last week I ran for a total of about 54 miles and I have to say I am surprised how well I felt in the end. I will probably run a little less this week as I am rotating between weekday back to back runs during one week and hill repeats and speed workouts the other week. Overall I am still expecting my mileage to be in the upper 40s for this week – unless I am doing the back to back long run on Sunday. I also seemed to have found my new favorite running shoe. After not really finding the New Balance 880 at a decent price I tried the Brooks Ghost 8 running shoe and I am definitely in love with this shoe. The New Balance 880 was good for 250-300 miles for me; however, the Brooks Ghost 8 seems to be lasting more towards 350-400 miles. That is significant mileage in my opinion and I am already on my 3rd pair of Brooks.