Thursday, October 18, 2007

What's Next?

Looking at the DC countdown bar to the right perpetually suck on all zeros, I feel sort of out of sorts. I've always known what the 'next big thing' was, but now I'm without any big plans until AR50 in April. And that, really, is too long. I didn't plan anything purposefully because I wasn't sure if doing a 5o miler would destroy me or make me hate running or something, but it seems to have done neither. In fact, I seem to be recovering better than some of the short distanced races I've run (my first 'hard' marathon attempt comes to mind). I went on my first real post race run today, and did a very nice 6 miles around a 1/2 mile rubberized track with views of the bay. It was actually really nice to just run with music and sort of zone out. Things felt a little sore and stiff, but overall it was a really great run.

So, I've been looking at race calendars to pick out that next event, and I stumbled upon the Helen Klein 50 miler, the first 50 miler recommended to me as a good starting point. Now, this race is in only 3 weeks, but it has a net gain of, wait for it, 350 feet. That's right folks, a good 7,450 ft less elevation gain than Dick Collins. I was a road runner first and while I do love trails, the idea of having a relatively flat, easier, 50 miler sounds sort of appealing. It'd be a very different experience from DC to be sure, but I think could be really fun as well.

However, I need opinions from you seasoned vets out there. Is it a bad idea to do my 2nd 50 miler so soon after my first? I know ultras, almost by definition, aren't sensible, but how insensible is this really?

I'm going to try to do 15 or so this weekend, and we'll see how that goes. I think, even though it was hard, I expected the 50 miler to be harder. I never hit a wall or really wanted to stop (I did want to walk more when I got tired, but I never thought about quitting, at least that I can now remember).

I guess I just am always searching for what's next


Sarah said...

I'm not a seasoned vet, but I guess you should just see how you feel after this weekend and go from there. Enjoy your recovery! : )

Jessica Deline said...

your body knows. I don't think it's automatically bad if you do some recovery weeks in between. If you are feeling good then I'd say go for it. If you are feeling so-so then wait for the next one :) But I'm no expert!

Donald said...

My preference to have some down time between races, but you could definitely pull it off if you want to. Just don't burn yourself out before springtime gets here - there will ALWAYS be another race to run.

Josh said...

well, you know I'm a complete wacko, but I say go for it. It sounds like you want to do it, and your body feels good, so why not? You could improve your time significantly. Just don't expect this one to be a lot easier than DC just because of the lack in elevation change. 50 miles is 50 miles!

Bob Gentile said...

hmmmm not sure... all I know is my first one GTR in Sept. I think beat me up more than I thought immediatly afterwards...BUT I live in FLAT land and I have never down any races prior--lol well a 5k in 97' hehe

SOOO I am having some recovery issues and now I have JFK in less then 28 days and I am I am not the best person to ask :-(

you have some good comments above and I do agree with josh it's still 50miles...

even though I have been kidding with a few peeps lately saying "I will be ready it's only 50m" but deep inside me thinking it will be a great mental test to keep myself focused cause of being under trained and to be smart on my fuel.

isn't this fun though!!

Sarah said...

hi sweetie,

I think the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler on 12/1 in the Marin Headlands area could be a good compromise, unless you really prefer a flatter course.

There are lots of great 50K left this fall, and you shouldn't feel like you have to do 50 milers every other weekend now to keep up your running fitness.
I think that would break you down more than build you up.

Personally, I learned last year that I do better when I have an official "off season." But this lovely Bay Area doesn't really lend itself to much downtime, with our moderate climate. I keep delaying the start of my off season, so I understand the temptation.

Maybe it'd be fun to try skiing, yoga, or any number of other activities to mix it up and cross-train a bit.

PS. You think I could borrow some of your boundless enthusiasm to get my thesis written?

Catherine said...

Helen Klein offers a 50K too. Might be a nice compromise. Someone mentioned your DC time qualified you for WS100. I thought you had to do 50 miles in less than 11 hours. You could do that at HK50. I'll be there attempting my first 50 miler and qualify for WS100. Let us know what you decide. Great job at DC.

Michael Kanning said...

Nope, no compromising. If your heart truly wants to run the 50 miles, just go for it! Rest up and I know that you can do it. I'll be at HK and look forward to seeing you there.

Michael Kanning said...

By the way, (this is just my opinion, but frankly it's hard to argue with results) I reject the idea of an "offseason". Last May at Quicksilver 50 Mile I finished 62nd/73 in 11:09. At Firetrails I finished 16th/245 in 8:16, the course featuring approximately the same elevation change. In the 5 months between the two races I never took more than 3 days in a row off. I'm certainly not saying you should try to race on sore legs, or it will be detrimental to your physical and mental well-being in a sport for which you have found such a love. I do mean to say that you shouldn't no run HK purely for the reason, "Well, my legs feel ready, and I really want to do it...but maybe it's a good thing to take a month off." No. If your legs feel fine, and you want to run HK, HK!

Congratulations again on your awesome finish at Firetrails.


rick said...

Yup, go see how you feel after this weekend. If you're body is up for it then go ahead but if you have some lingering issues; fatigue, soreness, then I would back down and get more rest. You're in great shape now and can roll into the next one just make sure you're rested. Sometimes you'll come off a race feeling super only to find out that deep down you are still tired. You'll know when you go do that long run.

P.S. I definitely have what people call an off-season. I train and race for 10.5/11 months and usually take Decembers off. I found this to contribute greatly to my mental and physical well being.

robtherunner said...

If your body and mind are willing then go for it. The body is capable of a lot more than most people think.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

I will try not to let my personal bias (I wish I weren't working the HK weekend) lead me to give you unsound advice.

You sound out of specific pain and HK emphasizes different muscles and mechanics, you're enthused, you're not out to thrash yourself, and there isn't a lot of long stuff in the winter unless you travel. If you're feeling good now a week out, I think you're fine. You only have to maintain, not build. As Sarah mentioned, the North Face gives you an extra month, without chintzing on the distance.

Bottom line is you seem like you want another 50-miler before the New Year, so don't deny yourself if you're not in pain.