WEEK 12 – Getting Faster

I wanted to start off by thanking folks for their generous donations over the last few weeks. We are getting very close to our goal of $2500.00; and as a first-time, charity seeker, the strong community response helps to make this a lifelong part of who I want to be as I continue to grow in life. Thank you, for your donations and your kinds words of support.

I am six weeks away!

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that my biggest fears leading up to the 50-mile race are the cut-offs. After 25 miles, runners must be on pace to finish the 50-mile trail in less than 12 hours. If you are not on pace to do so after 25 miles, you are pulled from the race right then and there. Worse, if you do barely make the 25 mile cut-off, but cross the finish line in 12:00:01, you are not considered a finisher. …maybe in your own mind, but not in the official results.

Because of these cut-offs, I have been working diligently to increase my speed. I must become stronger and increase my ability to run faster, longer.

This week I showed some real improvement in speed. I ran my speed training day, Wednesday, at a 7:42 mile pace, for 4 miles. This is as fast as my fastest 4-mile race ever, and I did it in training, a day after running 8 miles. I felt very good about this level of improvement and believe it represents some of the strength improvement that I seek.

Long runs this weekend were supposed to be 5 hours on Saturday, followed by 4 hours on Sunday, however, Friday I was sidetracked with a splitting headache that affected my diet (didn’t eat anything solid for over 24 hours) and energy levels for the entire weekend. I dug as deep as I could and suffered through 2 hours of trails on Saturday and 3.5 hours of trails + road running on Sunday. All-in-all, about 50 miles this week which is shy of where I should be, but acceptable leading into next week.

Next week I peak at another 5 hours for next Saturday and 4 on Sunday. I would like to find a marathon to run on Saturday to try to ease the mental anguish of such long runs.

Thanks for reading and keeping up with all the physical, mental and emotional challenges that this intense training has created for me; and, as always, I know I say it each week, but if ya have $5 bucks, $25 bucks …whatever… that you believe you can spare to help some homeless kids get some healthy meals, please donate. Credit cards make it so easy …and it’s 100% secure via PayPal.


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hi Chris,
What an amazing thing you’re doing. I can’t even begin to contemplate ultra running – you’re incredible. The dedication is amazing but it sounds like you’re finding some of it really hard work – which it is. It will come together on race day – I’ve been backtracking through your entries and you seem to be putting in every necessary ingredient. Good for you and great for you for doing this for such a good cause. I’ll be thinking of you while out on my runs – remembering it could always be longer and further. You’re doing something amazing and you will never forget this experience.

Hi Lisa.

I do one day a week of speed training. The benefits of speed training for ultrarunning are the following:

1) Helps increase lung capacity
2) Helps to improve muscular leg strength
3) Gets me used to running my normal pace faster

If you review my training program linked above, to the right of the page, you’ll see my Wednesdays are 4X which means 4, one-mile repeats; however, instead, I run four miles as fast as I can and try to get that four miles faster each time.

Tuesdays and Thursday consist of moderate pace runs at longer distances, 6-8 miles, while weekend long runs are very long consisting of anywhere from 2-5 hour runs.

These back-to-back Saturday and Sunday long runs are the bread and butter of my training and 75% of my focus is on these runs. These runs teach me to stay on my feet for hours, and running during periods of heavy fatigue, pain and a lot of the time, intense hunger.

I might also add that it’s these long runs where I practice race management and experiment with nutrition, electrolyte control and race equipment.

Thanks for asking and good luck with your training…

{thanks for the donation too – just saw the email}

I’m confused as to why speed is such an issue- what length of breaks are you planning on taking during the run? 2 hilly back to back marathons doesn’t seem like a race that needs sub 8 minute miles?

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