I’m aiming to run my first 50K this year and have officially signed up for the Twilight Zone 6-Hour Run. It will take place at Addison Oaks County Park in Leonard, Michigan on May 2nd. Although it is not specifically a 50K race, I should be able to cover that distance (and possibly more?) within six hours. After running almost 20 miles at Move-It Fitness’ Loopty Loop trail run this summer, I decided I wanted to try another one of their loop courses for my attempt at 50K. The atmosphere of their events is really laid back and the people are super friendly. Running a 2.75-mile loop will make it easy to swap my water bottles, grab food, make a bathroom stop, or do whatever else I want to do within the six hours. The course is a mix of trail, dirt, blacktop, and gravel, and it doesn’t have any crazy hills or anything too technically difficult. An added bonus is that the park is close to home so I won’t have to travel far. I have a few friends who will be there as well so I’m looking forward to it.
My friend Jeff ran his first 50K last year and was kind enough to share his training plan with me. It comes from a Hal Koerner book that I probably ought to read at some point. I liked the look of the plan and decided to roll with it. Right now I’m being cautious to see how my legs handle the weekly mileage. I tweaked things a little to fit my schedule the first couple weeks and ended up with a total of 44 miles the first week, 47 miles the second week, 57 miles the third week, and 58 miles the fourth week. So far so good! I haven’t done much in the way of speed or tempo work. One day I ran six of my eight miles at marathon pace and that’s about the fastest I’ve gone. I’m more concerned about feeling comfortable with the mileage first. The weekly mileage for this plan is already around the peak of what I’ve run for marathon training and I’m only four weeks into the 16-week plan. Since I don’t have any kind of time goal for this race I’m mostly concentrating on building my endurance. Maybe I’ll pick up the pace on days when my body feels up for it. Some days my body has felt great running at an 8:30 pace, while a couple of days it felt like a struggle at a 9:30 pace. I’m listening to my body and trying to stay smart!
Compared to past years, this winter has been relatively great for training so far. I don’t think I’ve dealt with temps below 20°F yet. Some recent winters had stretches when the windchill was below 0°F and running was pretty brutal, so I’m considering myself pretty lucky. During the first week of training I was still able to use a snow-free Paint Creek Trail.
As expected, the snow came eventually. I tried trudging through the snow on the trail one day, but it was deep enough to make it a struggle.
Fortunately, Stony Creek Metropark is close by and I can count on them to clear the running path. When the snow melts enough for the sidewalks to clear, sometimes I’ll run around home, but I’m basically living at Stony lately. There is some great scenery around the park and I regularly post pictures on my Instagram and Twitter pages if you’re interested in seeing more. Here’s a little sample of how beautiful Stony can be.
Although it’s a bit repetitive to run at the park nearly every day, I sure can’t complain and know I’m lucky to have such a great place to run. Sometimes I just have to fight through the fatigue and mental grind of training.
Since I need to eat a lot to fuel and recover from all of these miles, it’s perfect timing that I was just accepted as an amBADASSador for Picky Bars!
It basically means that I’m going to help spread the love about the great products they have. I’ve been a part of the Picky Club for around 2.5 years and I receive a monthly delivery of their bars, granola, etc. I’m pretty much addicted to the Ah, Fudge Nuts bars because it feels like I’m eating a healthier version of a brownie. The business is run by professional athletes (Jesse Thomas, Lauren Fleshman, and Steph Bruce) who recognize that athletes need products that are easy on the stomach with an ideal carb-to-protein ratio. Once I discovered that the bars made a great pre-run snack for me, I was hooked. I often eat them for my post-swim breakfast as well.
I also love the fun culture of the company so when I heard about the chance to be a part of this inaugural ambassador program, I jumped. There are a lot of other fun, active people involved and I’m looking forward to meeting some like-minded people through the program.
Well, that wraps up the exciting stuff going on with my athletic ventures over the past four weeks. Here’s hoping that the next 12 weeks of training can continue smoothly as I keep building toward this prospect of running 31+ miles!