Monday, November 16, 2009

Words of Wisdom

So less than 5 days before my first ultra run, the 84km Molesworth Run this Saturday. I am getting the same feeling I used to get when I was say around 7 years old or so, before a birthday, or Xmas. You know, when the excitement is slowly building, the not knowing what Santa might bring you, or what kind of cake you will get.......
This "excitement" is of course mixed with a new, less comforting emotion.

Running 84km is not what bothers me. You see after 84km I am done, so I am OK with that. It's the unpleasant time between K's 50 to 70-75 that I think will be really hard. Simply put I am scared. But to my surprise, this fear excites me a little bit, just enough to give me that feeling that this Saturday will be fun.
I have been researching and asking around, trying to get as much "fun" out of my first ultra as possible. Luckily I was able to get some words of wisdom from 2 very experienced Ultra runners. I put to them what the number 1 tip would be to someone about to run their first Ultra.
Bryon Powell is the man behind iRunFar, an amazingly informative website for Ultra Runners. If you have been watching Kilian's Quest you would have seen Bryon as he was Kilian's first pacer during the Tahoe Rim Trail. This is what Bryon had for me-
"For races 80k and longer, think of the race as a "training run" for the first two thirds of the distance. Run easy (like a decent 30k training run for the 80k and easy enough for the 160k that you could run all day) and take care of yourself. You want to go into the last third of the race still able to move well.
One way I try to remind myself of this concept early in a long ultra is by envisioning the race as an out-and-back course and thinking, "Could I run as fast at this point on the course on the return trip."
In other words, at the 20k mark in a 100k, could I see myself running that same pace at 80k. I swear it keeps me honest."

Pretty much the kind of answer I would expect from Bryon, but it is really nice to be reassured from someone that has been there. 
I think my biggest issue will be, apart from pacing myself in the early stages of the race, is getting to sleep the night before.

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"The skier who forsakes the lifts to climb under his own power to a mountain summit is a very different person from the downhill only piste basher and is often regarded by the latter as something of a curiosity.
But he was the creator of the sport; and possibly with him lies the future"
-Robin Fedden, The book of Europen Skiing, 1966
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