13 Weeks to Ultramarathon

Since I have an ultramarathon in 13 weeks, it is perhaps time to GET SERIOUS about training.   It is not a traditional ultra---it is Run Under the Stars 10-hour Endurance Event in Paducah, KY.   We will run around a 1/2 mile horse track for 10 hours--starting at 8:00 p.m. and ending at 6:00 a.m.   Sounds fun, right? 

Last year, I had a rough go of it.   I suffered from both boredom and blisters early on.   Every step was painful mentally and physically after mile 7.   My feet swelled due to the heat, my sodium intake, and the fact that the race began at 8:00 p.m. (and feet are naturally larger in the evening).   My normal running shoe size (which had fit just fine for 26.2 with just one blister!) no longer fit.  Finally, around mile 13, I borrowed a man's shoes several sizes too large, and running awkwardly in them at least dulled the pain for a while.   I felt and looked ridiculous in my giant man-shoes, so that kept me somewhat occupied.  Honestly, up to and after 26.2 wasn't too bad.  My knee started hurting around 30, but I was so close to 50K that I continued.   When I got to 31.5 miles, I stopped.   There was still time left in the event, but I had met my goal.

This year, my goal is to keep going until

A.  I simply can't go any longer in flip flops if necessary OR
B.  Time runs completely out on the clock. 

I hope to watch the sun set on the course and the sun rise on the course.  

I think I have the boredom situation covered.  I've made many new ultramarathoning friends over the past year who will be running RUTS.  I will be cheering them on and chatting with some of the more "normal" ones who jog or walk some of the miles like me. 

The shoe/blister situation is a work in progress.   At a summer night race, your feet are going to swell.  I have started buying shoes another 1/2 size larger since those awful blisters caused the loss of four or five toenails.  My street shoes are a ladies' 9, but I'm rocking a 10.5 in running shoes!  One-and-a-half sizes up is actually quite comfortable.  I should have gone up sooner!  I may take an old pair of my 12-year old's shoes to have as a back up.   He has outgrown me by a couple of sizes already.   His worn out, stretched out New Balance $50 shoes are still better than finishing in flip flops. 

I'm trying to get a handle on the training situation.  Last year, I was well-trained for a 26.2 that was 6 weeks from RUTS.  This year, I don't have a definite full marathon on my schedule in April or May.   I refuse to do the Country Music Marathon again and pay their ridiculous price.    I'm considering the Flying Pig in Cincinnati, but that involves a hotel stay and travel expenses PLUS the race fee.   I could technically do a 26-mile training run on my own for free, but  I'm not sure I have the gumption to run 26.2 on my own.   I will probably just put in a couple of 20 milers with maybe a 6 or 8 the next day. 

There is nothing like a BAD race (LBL trail race last weekend) to motivate you to get into gear!   I feel extremely motivated and not the least bit burned out.  

That's a good way to start 13 weeks of ultramarathon preparation, don't you think?  


I remember you post about the experience last year. I am sure you have learned a lot. You definately need shoes at least a half size bigger - that goes for general running and is compounded in ultra distances.

Using a 1/2 track for an ultra distance seems incredibly hard. And by that I mean so unbelievably boring! Not sure I'd last in a race like that. It will be a demonstration in mental fitness for sure!

I have a little less time until my next big ultra - well the A race for the year anyway. I'll think of you when the miles get really long and remember that I am lucky to not be going around in circles when the mountainous miles approach triple digits.