Ultramarathons, here I come. I signed up for the spring Superior Trail Race 50K this evening after putting off registering for a few weeks. 50K is 31.4 miles, 5.2 more than a marathon and on a significantly differently path. The route is full of some of the larger elevation gains on trail, especially in the first five miles or so - because the route is an out-and-back, the last five miles or so, also.
That said, it is nothing I cannot handle - it takes patience, training and a mental attitude that I honed in the TC Marathon. I have been setback on my training because of a minor right ankle injury and a headcold, but I am back to running now and should be getting into some more serious training regimes ahead.
I am incorporating weight lifting into this training season, and I will get around to doing serious hill work eventually; I just need to find a good set of hills in my area that would accommodate my need to vertical gain. I am doing most if not all of the exercises recommended to me by my cross country coach in high school, and an emphasis on high rep counts at reasonable weights.
My brother has tentatively agreed to head up my trail crew - my faithful girlfriend will be unavailable for the weekend as she has other plans she must attend to. Trail crews will be allowed access at four aid stations along the trail - two on the way out and the same spots on the way back. For me, that is at mile posts 7.6, 13.3, 17.7 and 23.4. This will be a change of pace for me from the marathon, which had aid every mile and medical stations every three miles. His job: make sure I have water, salt and carbs. And stop me if necessary. He is a person whose judgment I trust in a situation such as this; a trust I know I can hold on to even in a severely depleted state.
Looking at the SHT topo map, there is no realistic way to get aid to a runner during those final 7.6 miles from the last aid station to the finish. That distance, 5.9 of which pushes the race into the ultramarathon category, are the miles I am concerned most about. Running in the TC marathon, my quads gave out at mile 16 and my hamstrings gave out at mile 21. At that pace, I'll only be two-thirds of the way through with the biggest descents before me en route to the finish.
Finally, I'm going to guess I'm going to go through at least two pairs of shoes before the race and finally kill my two original pairs of SmartWool adrenaline mini crews. We'll see when May comes.
If you're going to be in the area and would like to volunteer for the race, email Mike Perbix at mike.perbix (at) gmail (dot) com.