Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tupelo, MS the New Hot Spot of the South??

The Plan….

I have to admit, the thought of running 124.6 miles is daunting. It has been long time since I was worried about finishing an event. The last time was at the Disney World Marathon in the late 1990’s when I stupidly ran it with a sprained ankle. The run went fine but the doubt kept me awake all night.

The challenge for the Tahoe Super Triple is training to run 26.2 miles three days in a row while training to run a 72 mile ultra-marathon. Each event is unique and requires it s own approach to training. Previously, when I ran the Tahoe Triple, I did multiple back to back long runs of 18 to 20 miles and one weekend where I did three long runs in three consecutive days. Luckily, this usually fell on Labor Day weekend which is also when a low key marathon is held in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Last year I did an 18 mile long run with our TNT team on Saturday, drove to Tupelo and ran the marathon on Sunday, drove back home that day and then ran a 20 mile run with my friend Beth on Monday. The Tupelo Marathon was a nice diversion and provided a great opportunity to get a fully supported long run in. I planned to run the Tupelo Marathon this year, but can you believe this…. It sold out! IT SOLD OUT! We are talking about a marathon in Tupelo, MS in September.  Can we say HOT, HOT, HOT!?! The race starts at 5 AM…. In pitch black… it runs through the rural Tupelo country side… not that you would know it since it is dark (luckily it is an out and back course so if you did not see it the first time, you get to run by it a second time)… the summer heat and humidity are oppressive (hence the 5 AM start)…. With the temperatures easily rising well into the eighties by the time the bulk of the participants are finishing. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great race…. It is actually one of my favorites. It is well organized, it has a great post race party with pizza, and most importantly it has a skull and crossbones t-shirt and medal. Well…. Now that I think about it I guess I can see why it sold out. Another hard lesson learned by a habitual procrastinator…. Register early.

OK, back to the plan…..

I think I have developed a reasonable plan that integrates traditional marathon training with a steady build up of mileage, distance, and time on my feet. I have two major focal points for this training. The first is the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday, August 22nd. The second is the Labor Day weekend runs. The Pikes Peak Marathon offers its own set of challenges. It starts in Manitou Springs at an elevation of 6,300 feet. It then proceeds to run 13.1 miles to the top of Pikes Peak, an elevation gain of 7,815 feet. You top out at an elevation of 14,050 feet where you turn around and run back down. The bulk of the marathon is run on Barr Trail which has a variety of surfaces, technical challenges, and steep grades. To prepare for Pikes Peak I have been following my usual marathon training schedule with a few modifications. During the long runs I am running some of the miles on hilly roads and trails or I run the scheduled mileage for the week and then hike for several hours with the Sweet Rie. This approach is helping me prepare my body for the challenges of running up and down a mountain, running on trails, and for spending more time on my feet which will help at Pikes Peak and at the ultra.

The Labor Day Weekend runs will be similar to what I discussed previously, except the runs will be longer. I will run 22 to 24 miles on two of the three days with the 3rd day topping out at around 30 miles. The miles will be a mixture of running and hiking with a goal of spending 5 to 8 hours on my feet each of the three days. The remainder of the weekends will consist of back to back long runs with a 2 to 3 hour hike following the run. During the week I will run 9 or 10 mile tempo runs on Tuesday and Thursdays and will run with our TNT team on Wednesdays. Monday and Fridays will be very easy runs or rest days.

The Tahoe Super Triple represents a significant and personal challenge for me; however, in the end I am doing this to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with my goal being to earn your donation or pledge. If I have, please make a donation or a pledge to help me reach my goal of raising $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Will I hold up through the training?? Will it help me accomplish my goal of running 124.6 miles at the Tahoe Super Triple?? Will I make my fundraising goal of $6,000?? To find out, please continue to follow my blog. Next up…. How the training is going.

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