Finding Shit Out

Uplifting Social Media Meme
An essential part of learning is finding shit out. Seems pretty obvious, but WTF—its not quite like getting married or invading Iraq.

I did my first 50mi 90 days after my first 50k—and had my head handed to me on a plate. I finished, but holy hell. My advice on when and how to do a 50miler is given with this knowledge. Your mileage may vary. Just one of my control issues, but you'll figure your own shit out. Or not.

All this is a different order of business than charging people money to run 25 miles per week and drag a tire while telling them its gonna get them to the finish line in an ultra, especially a 100-mile. There are people who do that, and should be flogged.

Pinoy fun-hogs running the Hollywood Half with a surfboard and climbing rack, plus the Lunas.
Somebody's gotta do it.

I'd gotten marathons cold-wired well before I even considered a 50k. My then-training level gave me 3-4 marathons a year. But I was getting bored. I did my first 50k at the long-gone Baldy Peaks 50k, and I got un-bored. I also learned that running from Zuma Beach to County Line did not constitute altitude training, despite forays up into the Santa Monica Mts up the Zuma Motorway and so on.

The jump from 50k to 50mile

Think about your first 50-miler while executing the 50k properly. Rinse and repeat. Or, lose your mind and go off the rails entirely. It works in the movies!

When I transitioned from 50k to 50mi, I was already running 60mpw. I still got my ass kicked. Because I wasn't out there long enough on the long runs, that's why. But getting my ass kicked on my first 50 [Avalon Benefit 50, 10:30, thank you very much] proved to me that my training was sorely inadequate to the task ahead of me. And I got very serious about mountain time after that.

So when I read crack-smoking, lo-mileage, unicorn-poop cupcake-frosting running speculations from clearly ill-informed sources, I get a little edgy. And then I become the Brand Ambassador for Whoop-Ass. This goes back to my first marathon, where I trained out of a book that was all of the above. Here, read the review: 
"How to Run Your First Marathon" is a cruel hoax in a breezy, fun, gosh-its-gonna-be-fun style. I bought this book in 1985, when I was training for my first marathon, Los Angeles 1986. It promised a bunch of things, namely "don't worry too much about distance, run for time". That is perfect barney-bait.
By the time I was at 20 miles, I'd begun to hate the day I'd imagined that the author knew what he was talking about. OK, I finished--walked the last 2-1/2 miles to a 3:55. After I was able to think about marathons again, I found Joe Henderson's "Run Long" book. It had everything this breezy pamphlet did not. I trained out of Henderson's until 1992, then ran with Jim O'Brien's track club at Cal Tech.
Subsequently I went on to finish over 25 marathons, before getting into ultras [50k on up to 100-miles]. I cannot in all honesty or good conscience recommend this book to anyone, unless its for dilettante voyeurism. It is ornamental, and worthless.

back to ultralandia

If your longest training runs are less than 25mi, you are in Sore Delusion Land. Kid you not. Butt! Seriously [as Uncle Howie would say]—those of you who think I'm blowing smoke, give it your best shot on a dainty lo-mileage workout. Let us know what its like when you're pushing on your quads at 35mi while people you never met are charging on past you. Its an eye-opener for sure.

One size does not fit all. My point is that typical homeostasis will dictate a comfort level well below optimal training necessities.

Finally,  the soup we all swim in is apps, keystrokes, and re-sets if something goes off the rails. Ultras are not like this. They are intensely analog endeavors. You cannot fast-forward to the game-highlights here. There are a seemingly-diminishing number of people who will do their goddamned homework. There is no patience for the process. A cursory survey of visual slush on social media is all of the Uplifting Bullshit Meme

Miracles can happen, but its a wide curving ramp up to the killing floor. Now go and have some fun with that.


Captain Hairdo said…
I should probably have read this *after* my first attempt at 100 miles in a few weeks... =)
Mr Trail Safety said…
You'll get your mountain-money's worth!

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