I’m well aware, 100 miles is never “easy”, no matter where it is run, but the course at Burning River, which I tried to finish in Ohio last August, is relatively flat. (Relatively.) On the other hand, SD100 is run in the Laguna Mountains an hour outside of San Diego. Not so relatively flat. I tried the BR100 on only so-so training. There’s no way that will fly this time. But I’m already feeling good about my prospects.
Even before I knew my entry had been accepted (it was possible that a lottery process would be required), I began training. I’ve been rebuilding base miles since mid-December. I’ve added extra aerobic work with a mile worth of laps in the pool several times a week on top of my running. I’ve added a gentle, low-mileage run to my week, which means I run 6 days a week now. The seventh day is one of my swim days; I’ve never gotten aerobic activity 7 days a week before.
I’m picking ways to add hill work into my routine. (Never easy in Chicago.) The treadmills at the gym will be good for that. I’ll start spending just a little time on the Stair Master a couple or three times a week, and I’ll be heading out of the city a lot more often to do my Long Runs on some actual, hilly trails (such as we have in Chicago).
The biggest change I’ve made is to begin some basic weight training. Nothing crazy, just basics, and not just arms and legs, but also trying to pay worthy attention to my core and back. I haven’t done any real weight training since I was a junior in high school and had to do a few quarters of P.E. to fulfill graduation requirements. So far, I’m enjoying it, though. Like I said, nothing crazy; the point is to serve my running fitness. I don’t want another DNF this summer. I learned early last year that I can get far better race results if I dial things back or even take unscheduled off days when my body feels run down, and I’ll do that again this spring if I need to.
I’ll run the Lakefront 50K late in March. I’ll use the first 2/3rds of it as a training run, then depending how I feel, I’ll ease my way through the end and try for a finish. I’m running the Wisconsin Marathon again on May 1st. That’s also, basically, a training run now, but I’m still hoping to turn in a good, strong time. Two or three weeks after that, I’m going to organize some kind of long, final training run for myself near Chicago. Something in the range of 45 or 50 miles. Then I’ll start a taper and head to San Diego in the middle of June.
The race awarded Brass Belt Buckles to 30 sub-24-hour finishers last year. 52 more runners finished before the final, 31-hour cutoff and received a Bronze Buckle. 43 other runners (33%) were Did Not Finishers. I don’t care one bit which color mine Buckle turns out to be, I just want to make sure I get one.
There’s still plenty of prep and research to do. Not sure yet what kind of a crew I’ll have with me. (My sister says she’s interested again, but we already know Laura won’t be able to come out.) I learned at Burning River that I really do need, at least, one over-night pacer. I’ll have to track down someone who’s willing to do that. Then travel, and a place to stay, etc… But I’m really excited about this. I like the way the schedule sets up the next few months and I already feel really good about the work I’m doing. It’s been a year since I was this in tune with my training.
Mark my words: I am NOT going to DNF this one.