Ok, so I am a really behind in terms of getting this post up. I actually ran this race several weeks ago, but I've had some issues getting this post up for a variety of reasons. The race I ran was the Riley Trails Marathons which is technically not an ultra, but a traditional marathon, but because of how the race was set up, I was able to run an additional loop of the course and get my Ultra distance. The race started at a place called Benjamin's Hope, which is a really cool organization that helps adults with autism and other disabilities live independently, here's the link check them out http://www.benjaminshope.net/; from Benjamin's Hope, we ran a mile and a half or so to Riley Trail's park, where you run six loops and then back to Benjamin's Hope. I ran a seventh loop, which at the end of everything, I was right around 32 miles. I inadvertantly ended my run on my Garmin just under 29 miles and when I realized it and restarted, I think it gave me another mile and a half or so.
This race was different for me because I ran it completely different than any other race prior. I had some drop bag issues, so I had to change up things last minute. I was initially going to start the race running towards the front and push my pace a little more than in previous races. Once I had my drop bag issues sorted, nature called at the worst possible time, so I was able to get to the finish line right as the race began. I was still sorting out my race vest, so I was going extremely slow and a guy running next to me struck up a conversation. For whatever reason, I was intrigued, so we kept talking while going at a slow pace. This went on for the next three hours or so.
This man was in his 60's and had done more than 500 marathons and Ultra's...pretty much every race that you could think of, he's done. I took the opportunity to learn about everything related to running events. All of the races that I was thinking about doing, he was able to give me tips, tricks, or advising which races to skip. It was a graduate level education course in races and I''m really grateful for that. It really helps me moving forward.
My wife had called around three hours and asked how it was going and when I'd be done. It was then that it dawned on me that I needed to get moving. I thanked my new friend for his time and knowledge and I picked up the pace. The cool thing about this was how much gas I had in the tank because of the easy pace that I adhered to during my "learning experience" in the first part of the race.
So I ended up running the rest of race and then some much faster and finished everything right around six hours...not bad all things being considered. The big mistake that I made was that I got in my car and drove 2 and a half hours home without cooling down or stretching like I would usually do. Fortunately, I was up and moving when I got home and the next day as well, so my recovery didn't suffer too much.
I've been preparing for Ultra #9 which is in a couple weeks now. I've been trying to keep my mileage reasonable, which for me means trying to stay between 30-40 miles a week. I'm doing that because I've been implementing more weight/strength training. I've been doing this because I realized that my engine is running pretty efficiently, but I need to add a little more power, so theoretically, being able to create more force/power should translate to the trail...so I guess we'll see soon enough...