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Learn : Ultramarathon Story  

Running Background:

marathon photoI consider myself an advanced runner and I primarily run for fitness. This was my first ultramarathon. I decided to run it because I am training for a run across the entire state of South Dakota in the spring of 2008. Myself and another Rapid City, South Dakota runner have co-founded a non-profit cancer research campaign we call "Chemo Is Harder". We are raising money and awareness in the name of cancer research and are taking our running talents on the road. We will be running 429 miles in just 14 days from April 26th to May 10th, 2008. I ran this ultra to see what it will feel like next spring when we run an average of 31 miles per day. If you want to follow our progress and read more about how we got started, please visit our website at: www.chemoisharder.com

Training:

I trained for over 4 months using a training program from the Runner's World website. I was training up to 65 miles per week at my peak. I would run for 8 minutes and walk for 2 minutes. I continued that throughout every run and surprisingly enough, when I ran my 25 milers, I was running PRs. Yes, PRs despite that fact that I walked after every 8 minutes.

I also trained with a camelbak. This was key to my hydration. I also had my power gels and energy bars in there so I could eat and drink on the run. This is exactly what I did on the 50 miler and it worked like a champ!! I felt awesome on the ultra. In fact, I was less sore after that run than any of my previous 6 marathons. It all had to do with trail running. Much better for joints and ankles and I took care of my feet by using Sport Shield. It is AWESOME. I rolled it all over the front part of my feet and between toes, under my armpits and between my legs. I never had as much as even a hot spot on my feet during all 50 miles.

In terms of training advice I would share with others, I would tell people to walk early. Get your body used to moving early in the morning. Do not go out blazing, because you will inevitably burn out midway and then you will most definitely pay for it by the end of the race. In addition, make sure you hydrate well and replace your electrolytes.

Make a plan and stick to it as best you can...but allow flexibility because if you don't, you will set yourself up for failure. I did not realize that the first 16.5 miles of the 50 miler were all uphill!! I had to walk a lot, but I didn't let it get me down. I stayed focused and ran on the downhills to make up for it. Do what works for you.

Race Day:

The 2007 Lean Horse 50 Mile Ultra-Marathon was better than expected. I had a phenomenal race day!! I was fully prepared and it showed on the course. I have definitely been bitten by the ultra bug and will do more of them in the future.

I just kept thinking that it was only going to make me more confident for my run across South Dakota next year! Our longest day is 47 miles and I know now that I can most definitely hack it.

Now I will continue on with long runs and prepare my body by using my weekends for back-to-back long runs (30 mile days). I am very excited!!

Recovery:

I didn't have any problems with my recovery. I iced my legs immediately following the race!! I also took some Motrin and drank a TON of water.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Newton Running Shoes
The shoes I ran in.
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Camelbak Hydration Pack
A must for staying hydrated on long runs.
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iPod
I love my iPod!
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Search on Amazon

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Never let anyone tell you that you can't do it!!! Just know that you will have great running days and you will also have some bad running days...but don't get discouraged. Start out slow and gradually build up your mileage. Make sure that you eat well and most importantly, get the proper amount of sleep every night.

Plans to Run Another:

I am hooked on long-distance running because not everyone does it. I did my first ultra to prove to myself that I can do something that a very small fraction of society will every attempt. It is very rewarding to go out and run in the Black Hills of South Dakota because I feel privileged to be out there in such a beautiful environment.

For my next ultramarathon, I wouldn't change anything expect to get more and more people involved!

Just remember ~ "The Journey is the Reward."

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