Its weird how the brain works. All it takes is a few enablers to whole-heartedly support a fleeting idea. Before you know it the seed has been planted and that silly idea is sprouting into a whole damn forest of crazy.
Welcome to my brain – a forest of crazy!
A few weeks ago I ran the Wild West Relay with a whole team of crazies. They were all incredible runners and as usual failed to mention the misery that goes into hardcore training cycles. Instead they told stories of gorgeous scenery, amazing people and pushing the limits on trails. They made it sound fun.
Days later, while stuck in standstill traffic, I was still thinking about trail running. And racing. If I could pull off personal bests when running on zero sleep for two days I could handle at least 13.1 miles on a hilly trail course, right? Heck, I could probably handle more…probably. I did some Googling and it turns out the Xterra trail half that Heather was trying to talk me into also had a full marathon option.
You see where this is going, right?
I started scheming. I did some math, scribbled out mileage, counted off days on a calendar, planned out long runs, researched Front Range trails…
Most importantly I chatted with a few trail runners I knew would jump all over the chance to talk me into something crazy. Turns out they are a little too good at gushing about trails and trail races.
Thanks to Courtney the Bear Chase 50K was mentioned. At first I wrote it off – I had no desire to spend a ton of money on a race in my backyard; especially since I figured there would be a very high probability that I would hate my life during the race. But it kept coming up in conversation and I kept thinking about it.
Out of curiosity I decided to run a portion of the course last Saturday as my tester long run. I was aiming for 20-22 miles, just to see how my body held up. And to see how my feet felt about water crossings…you know, just in case I decided to run the 50K.
I got a little turned around trying to follow the course and finished my first loop at exactly 13.1 miles. Even if I ran the right trails the second time around I’d come dangerously close to a full marathon. I could cut the loop short or I could go for the full 26.2. Any guesses…?!
Yea, I went for the full marathon. I got back to my car at 25.1 miles and while I really wanted to just gulp down cold Powerade I was not stopping that stinking close to 26.2 miles! Did the last mile really make any difference? No. Actually the last mile really, really sucked. But saying “I ran a marathon” sounds a lot cooler than “I almost ran a marathon”!
**Full Disclosure: There were to untimed breaks, one at mile 13.1 to refuel at the car and one at mile 21 to refuel with cold water at Mt Carbon.
I stopped my watch because I knew I needed to focus on getting food/water and not feel rushed. Combined it was about 20 minutes of down time.**
The next day we packed up the car and headed into the mountains on a quest to summit a few fourteeners. It may not have been the best “recovery” after an impromptu marathon but we had everything planned out so we were going. At the very least I’d find out how my legs felt about all this mileage.
I’ll save all the pile of mountain photos for later but I will say that I survived, my legs did not complain and as soon as I got home this happened…
Yup, that Bear Chase 50K is happening. It might not be the most responsible thing I’ve ever done but I’m fairly certain I can pull it off. Worst case scenario I’ll be setting the bar pretty low for my second 50K…because there will be more. For that I blame Paula…or credit Paula. Only time will tell!
As for that Xterra trail race the weekend before? That is happening too, only I’m sticking to the half. And a certain someone I know is going to be running his first official 5K…