Sunday, March 1, 2015

Burning River for Ben: Time to Step it Up!

Wow time is going by fast and we are already down to 21 weeks before toeing the starting line of the Burning River 100. Before February, although doing a lot of running, I wasn’t specifically training; just getting in the habit of running, establishing a decent base to train from, and form somewhat of a pattern. February marked six months from race day and training started in earnest. Since running track and cross country in high school, I’ve been racing every distance from 800 meters to 100 miles, mountain bike races across entire countries, 24 hour races, multi day races, and road bike races, for over 40 years. I have not been this motivated and excited about doing a specific race for as long as I can remember, if at all. I can’t explain why other than it must be because this race is not about me. It’s not about placing, it’s not about competing, and it’s not about any of the reasons I’ve raced throughout my life. Sure I’ve used ultra-distance racing to try to set an example for those I love to never quit, never give-up and to show what hard consistent training can produce. But this is different. For the first time in all these years I feel like I’m using the little talent I have to use racing for a greater cause than myself. It’s a good feeling. I thought with all the people and organizations getting involved and donating to our cause I would feel tremendous pressure to finish. So far that is not the case. All I feel is an amazing motivation and love of every footstep taken while training for this incredible race and cause.

Early Morning Runs with Max and Primus
The last week has been a test in resolve as we’ve been getting snow storm after snow storm. The past week was consistently in the single digits each morning with new snow. The snow melts a bit in the daylight hours then refreezes at night, making it a bit tricky in the mornings. Last Saturday, Max and I got a 24 mile run in just before a shower that brought about a foot of new snow. The next day after spending a couple miles post holing through knee deep snow, I ended up running 12 miles on the treadmill, only the fourth time I’ve ran on a treadmill in my life.

A Typical Run This Week

Only the Fourth time on a Treadmill!
Getting up early and running in this incredible winter wonderland is quite invigorating. Wednesday morning for example, the snow was too deep to run the trails. So I ran on the roads, spent about 20 minutes helping people dig their cars out of the snow, and then rode my bike to work. When at work I asked a colleague how it was going. His response was a grumpy “I don’t know ask me after I’ve had my coffee”.

Max and Me Loving our Winter Runs
Anyone that has run ultra-distances knows that there is more to completing these races than just running. Pacing, nutrition, and crew support are all critical aspects as well. One challenge us Coloradans are going to have to plan for is not to go out too fast. Since our races are typically in the mountains there are almost always sections we are forced to walk, which can be a good thing. It gives the running muscles and energy systems somewhat of a break. We also have altitude to deal with which naturally slows us down and makes running more work than at lower elevations.  Going to lower elevation is going to make running faster seem easier. A seven minute pace could potentially feel like an eight or nine minute pace. The lack of huge climbs (although there are plenty of rollers) will also encourage us to run more and faster than we usually would. So last week I tried and experiment. I ran 24 miles, running 25 minutes, walking 5 minutes throughout the entire run. I was amazed. At the end I felt I could easily run another 2 hours or more. And the average pace was about the same as if I had not taken the walking breaks! This is probably because I was still so fresh in the last 10 miles. I definitely need to experiment with this more.

At 11 degrees it's a bit Balmy compared to other mornings (Jeff Mulder & Matt Larsen)

Matt and Jeff getting in their miles for Burning River

Max, Matt and I stop for a quick pose during an 18 miles run

On the fund raising front we reached our first milestone of $500 for the Showers Family Center for ChildhoodCancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children’s Hospital. This really is a fantastic organization and the support they provide for these kids and their families is amazing. I’ve always been very shy and hesitant to solicit for non-profits but after seeing the good that this organization does along with the dedication and passion of its staff and volunteers, I’ve crossed that line and ask that you give what you can. I just want to thank everyone that has contributed so far and all of you that will help out. Every little bit helps and it really does make a difference.

No comments:

Post a Comment