Posted by: Steven Hammer | July 12, 2010

A few updates

So, two weeks into training dedicated to the 50-mile race, I’m pleasantly surprised to report mostly successes:

I’m full-time in my Vibrams now, and can’t say enough about the effect they’ve had on my training and health. I’m running more miles per week than ever before without injury/pain. I haven’t been able to run 5 days per week since high school. I seem to be bouncing back day-to-day much more quickly than usual. Now, if I were suspicious I’d be crossing my fingers and knocking on wood… Anyway, switching to minimalist/barefoot running (which, in turn, has forced me to really pay attention to posture as well, a la chi running) has been extraordinarily successful thus far. I’m not sure I’d be able to log the necessary miles in conventional footwear. My history, at least, indicates that I would be running between 50-75% of my current mileage. And with an ultramarathon quickly approaching, I’m glad to be able to prepare with these long weekend runs.

Speaking of long weekend runs…damn, they’re really challenging and tiring. This weekend I did a 3:15:00 run on Saturday and a 3:40:00 on Sunday. I’m running a 9:00/mile pace with occasional (one per hour, more if needed) walking breaks to drink and eat. Yesterday I met my friend Mike at his house in Moorhead and we ran together for an hour, which was really nice–both to catch up with a good friend and to just run with someone else and break the monotony of solo running. I think I’ll arrange more of these partner runs, though I’m not usually one to run with other people.

I’m beginning to get nervous about running 50 miles. The usual suspects: “Will I finish?” “Is my training preparing me well enough?” “Will I look like an idiot when I crash and burn?” “I feel tired after 26 miles, there’s no way….” You know the drill whether or not you’re a runner, right?? Anyway, I’m trying to work through that and trust my training, trust my body, trust that I’ll find a way to cross that finish line.

I’ve developed quite a crush…on ice baths. Running “barefoot” has eliminated injuries thus far, but my feet and calves are still pretty sore after runs longer than 2 hours. Good sore–the kind that tells you you’re doing some wicked strengthening, but sore nonetheless. So it’s a bathtub of ice and cold water for me…and it’s heaven, especially since we’ve had some really toasty (for North Dakota, anyway…I write this the morning that the Badwater ultra begins…135 miles in Death Valley, CA…temps of 130+) weather this summer. I think they’ve helped keep swelling down and quicken recovery, allowing me to put in these long weeks.

Ok, there’s the lengthy update for mid-July. A month-and-a-half until the big race in Hot Springs. Hope you’re feeling good and enjoying yourselves.

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