Uncharted Territory [relatively]
Tomorrow I will compete in my first trail race. It will also mark my first Ultra race. The race, Flagline 50k, will serve as the USATF 50k Trail Championships for 2014. And it is loaded with talent!
Although I have yet to race on the trails, or over 26.2 miles, I have been regularly trail running the past 3 years while living and working in Mammoth Lakes, CA, including two Mammoth Mountain Marathons in my Flagline prep. Can we get this course USATF certified?! http://www.strava.com/activities/187951612.
Our incredible community of Mammoth Lakes sits nestled at the base of Mammoth Mountain at an elevation of 8000ft, and has endless mountain single track and fire trails peaking out at over 11,000ft! Which, I believe to be the optimal training grounds for any aspiring trail or ultra athlete, or at least that helps me sleep at night 😉
Respect The Distance:
With increasing marathon experience, I’ve seen, heard, and expressed many opinions over the past few years. However, there is one comment that continually grinds my gears more than any other; “5:10 pace will be easy!” Or variations of that…
This typically comes from very well respected and successful 10k and half marathon men as they transition into the marathon. The notion stems from gained confidence racing shorter distances at a 4:30-4:50 mile pace. In theory, slowing down to a mere “5:10” mile average over a marathon should be plausible. Yet, statistics display otherwise…
That said, it would be incredibly hypocritical of myself to claim that a 50k is “only” 5 miles further than a marathon, and I “only” have to average above 6 minute pace on single track trails with 4000ft of elevation climbing while at altitude.
So, that is exactly what I won’t be claiming.
After months of picking the minds of successful ultra marathoners, experimenting with my own training on arguably the best mountain training grounds in the country, and a lot of reading, I have a much appreciated respect for Ultra distances.
Over the past 6 weeks I’ve run more miles and climbed higher peaks than ever before and am beyond excited to mix it up with a very loaded field of already accomplished trail racers tomorrow! (Which include 2:14, 2:18 and 2:20 marathoners!) I believe I’ve prepared well on our Eastern Sierra trails and look forward to exploring what Central Oregon’s high country trails have to offer and learning a thing or two about the Ultra scene!
Since I love free stuff, I figured I should start sharing free stuff with others. Predict my time for tomorrows race and I’ll send you a pair of my Brooks ’80’s Racing Shades! (Two people with the closest time, to the second, win. Comment below) There are 250 athletes and the course record is held by Max King at 3:27:54
Thanks for reading and as always, #runhappy! @timtollefson