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Disclaimer:  I am recording this for posterity, but I am in no way, shape, or form advocating running an ultramarathon without proper preparation.  Read the title, above.

It’s been a busy summer.  Between the sweltering heat, lots of travel, and lack of motivation I haven’t been running or racing much since Hyner View back in April. After rattling around about running an ultra this year, I finally bit the bullet and registered for the Sept 1 Labor Pain 12-hour Endurance Challenge.

This will be my first attempt at a 12-hour race, and I’m excited to see how many miles I can chew through in that amount of time.  If you are interested in watching an ultra marathon this is one of the best for spectators.  Held at the Reading Liederkrantz (bar is open most of the day) it consists of a 5-mile trail loop that runners plod around till the time is up.  As a spectator, that means you get to sit back, relax, sip on some fine German beer while watching a carousel of ultra marathoners stream past.

Endurance running is an endeavor that requires mental toughness and nutrition management, and two years ago I was intrigued by the differences in the runners’ chosen supplements.  Some threw back carefully measured energy gels and tablets, while others chowed down on cold fried chicken and coke.  I’m aiming for somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

The race is but a mere 7 weeks away, and it’s time to think more concretely about whether or not I am prepared to get through 30-50 miles.  I decided to pick the first 50 mile training program that popped up in Google (congrats to the SEO folks over at Runner’s World).  Next, I downloaded my running history over the last 9 weeks from DailyMile, and with a little excel magic ended up with this:


It was a bit disheartening, but a much-needed reality check.  See that two-week period of 0 mile days?  I have a pretty good excuse, I was busy riding a 35 year old motorcycle across the country.

I’m using this week as a litmus test, of sorts.  If my base is strong enough to jump into the training program at week 9, I think I’ve got a shot.  Otherwise, I may need to revise my goal for Sept 1.  We will take another look at that graph in a few weeks and see how things are progressing.