Next weekend I will be attempting a 50K (30 mile) Ultra run through the Santa Monica mountains above Malibu and Agoura Hills, CA.
I have run-walked as far as 20 miles on a flat riverbed course. However, this will be the first time I will attempt any distance over 20 miles. This should be a terrific confidence booster if I finish the race because it is not only 4 miles longer than the full Marathon I will face in November with the Tempe Ironman, but it will also involve as much as 8,000 feet of elevation gain.
The good news is that the course is two, 15-mile loops. So if I come crawling back on the first loop, if need be, I can just walk off the course and be done with it. Naturally, I have every intention of finishing the full 50K distance.
I will be carrying Electrolyte capsules and plenty of fuel in addition to a 2 liter hydration pack. In addition to the hills, it is pretty much guaranteed to be very hot, some years, it has been in the low 100s.
I have no idea how I will do or if I will make it.
My plans are to use the Galloway method of run-walks, probably trying to average 12-minute miles on the course for 5 minute spurts, then walking at any comfortable pace for exactly one minute. Then repeating for about 8 consecutive hours.
I will be walking down all hills, regardless of where I am in my cycle because of my hip problem. The jarring motion would really wipe me out if I ran down those very steep hills.
The course follows a lot of firetrails up the mountains and along the ridge. For many years, I have watched those fire trails from seat 2A and always wondered what it would be like to run those.
There is a 9 hour cut-off time for the entire race; we are required to complete the first 15.3 miles in 4 hours, or they take us off the course. The longest period that we will have to go without an aid station is 5.6 miles. I will have enough water, food and electrolytes to go at least twice that distance because I am planning on a very hot day in the mountains.
I am extremely excited about this event and wish to thank the race director for making a special exception to allow me to run. She was impressed by my progress (she read this blog) and decided to take a big risk with me, carefully warning me that this is a very tough course.
Doing the Bulldog Ultra run means that I am not going to be doing the Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon that was part of my race plan. However, at this point in my training, it is probably more important to build up my confidence by doing a really long run.