Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One Month to Go, and Making the Cut-Off..

One month from today, I'll be toeing the line of the Stone Cat 50 Mile Trail Race. I'm just going to re-read that sentence until it stops making me nauseous, and then I'll declare myself ready. Yeeps.

From a strict mileage perspective, I feel prepared. I have executed an asinine amount of runs over 20 miles, as well as a 30+ miler. I have one more 28-30 mile run next weekend, and then I just let my body absorb all the work. I am not injured (knock some SERIOUS solid wood), and I feel strong. But my God am I slow..

Which brings me to the cut-off. Being a solid middle of the packer, I never have to worry about cut-offs in a race. Not being all "mightier than thou"; I have just never gone into a marathon worrying that I won't make the 6 hour time limit. This ultra trail running stuff is allllllllllll new territory for me. As I mentioned, I've run silly amounts of miles, but there hasn't been any speed-work. I've done it deliberately; with my surgery, and reaching higher mileage weeks, I knew I couldn't have it all. I sacrificed speed-work to avoid injury this training cycle. It worked (are you still knocking wood?), but when you run a bazillion slow miles, it gets to be all your body knows. Slow.

The Stone Cat course is a 12.5 mile loop which you repeat 4 times (for all of us that aren't so great at math, that equals 50. You're welcome). The race starts at 6:15am, and you must start your last loop by 3:15pm. Again, for all of us non-math majors, that gives runners 9 hours to run the first 37.5 miles, which is a 14:24 pace (min/mile). If I were reading this on someone else's blog who has run a marathon in the low 3:40's, I would laugh. And maybe you are too; but I'm scared to death.

For anyone who's done some trail running, you know that your pace slows dramatically from the pavement to the woods. And God KNOWS what I'm going to feel like at 34/35/36/37 miles; I may feel like Usain Bolt while rockin' 16 minute miles.

The goal of this race has been something dramatically different than any race I've done in the past (yes, including my first marathon) - to finish upright and preferably without too much damage. I'm trying to think of this cut-off as a friendly reminder that the volunteers and race staff don't want to have a sleep-over in the woods of Ipswich because I decided to tun a 50 miler in 20 hours.

In 31 days, I will have my very first 50-miler under my belt, and WILL collect my finisher's jacket. Even if that means attempting a 7 minute mile at mile 36 to make the cut-off. Maybe I should think about ordering some rocket-launcher shoes.. Hmmmmmm...

Happy Training!


  1. Friend, you will rock this 50 miler, no matter how slow or fast. You will meet the cut-off and you will meet me at the finish line and/or somewhere along the course cheering your beautifulness along :-) I am so impressed, and continue to admire how smart you are with training (and in your recovery!). You've come so far - literally - and physically in a relatively short amount of time. XO!

  2. So excited for you! I can't even imagine a 50 miler but a race named the "stone cat"' might change my mind! Lol

  3. You've definitely got the training under you. Good luck!

  4. you can totally do this!!!

    You HAVE the base speed - you HAVE the fitness. Take it 1 lap at a time (1 mile at a time if you have to) Just remember - keep moving and you will get through this!!

    My boyfriend started running a year ago and has never been as fast as you are and he was able to complete his 50 mile race (same format 4x12.5 mile loops - same cutoff time frames). He made a bad mistake early on, but was to "handle" it and keep moving forward. I did a blog post about it:

    look forward to reading your race report!

  5. I think you're going to do great. The fear you're feeling is just because you're doing something so new...which is the fun part, right?

    You've been smart about the training and you'll be smart about the race. Enjoy!

  6. You are going to do AMAZING and that cut-off won't be an issue at all for you. Your training has been very solid and SMART. You got this, enjoy your rest and get ready for your beast. :)

  7. M-I know you know this but the biggest mistake people make when entering the ultra world is running the first half or third too fast because they are worried about cut-off's or they are just not used to running so slow at the start. I was on a training run the other day and at about mile 15, my running partner and trainer said, "If you run the beginning of Pinhoti this fast, you'll drop at mile 65, no doubt." I thought I was almost walking. Do NOT start off at an 11 minute pace worried about cut-off's. Get your splits down. Get your time in and time out of aid stations down and don't modify race day. Your goal should be to have negative splits or very close to it.
    A 50 is definitely tough, no doubt about it. But as everyone has said above, you've definitely done the right training and physically, you're ready. Get ready mentally. Know that at the end of the 3rd loop, EVERYTHING will hurt. Know that you'll think about quitting. But also know that it's just one more 12 mile run. You've done a million of them.
    Running ultras is all "Relentless Forward Progress".
    Can't wait to read the "I'm a 50M Finisher!!!" blog. :)

  8. Oh friend, that's just your mind playing some serious tricks on you, I PROMISE. You will NOT have to worry about that cut-off time -- even if you've slowed your pace a bit from where it was before, its NOT slow to the point of missing the cut-off, I am TOTALLY confident in that fact. You are an animal -- and you WILL finish with a smile and with that finisher's jacket in HAND!! I can't wait to cheer you on!! xoxo

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