Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Extra Motivation for Race?

This past weekend's "long" runs did not materialize.  I did a 5 miler and a 10 miler.  Now I have an easy week leading up to my first real ultra of the year--the Potawatomi 50 miler this Saturday (there is also a concurrent 100 miler).  Unfortunately, my last long run was in January (28 miler at "Riddle Run").  I haven't done a run longer than 12 miles since January.  I'm getting in good shape, just not "ultra" shape.  If this was a trail half-marathon, I'd be feeling pretty good!  If this was a trail marathon, I'd be feeling OK.  If this was a trail 50K, I'd be nervous, but excited.  A 50 miler?  That makes me nervous, anxious, scared, depressed, distressed, hesitant, worried, uneasy...you get the point.  I'm not ready for this race.  At least it's not the 100 miler!  I've done the 100 at this same race, so at least I know the course well and theoretically I should have no problem with 50 miles. Theory and reality are not the same.

So, I'm trying to find ways to motivate myself.  I've loaded up my iPod with new songs, picked out two trail shoes (one old familiar friend, one new kid), and bought some new tasty mini-Clif bars.  After following a couple of 100 mile twitter race feeds, I thought I might tweet updates on the course as I hit aid stations.  I can text updates at the start/finish aid station (mile 0/10) and Heaven's Gate (around mile 6 and 7) for each 10-mile loop.  Maybe this will give me extra accountability and motivate me to keep going.  If nothing else, it'll provide a short summary of my feelings at various points during the race.  I could add a widget to this blog that grabs and displays my twitter feed.  I'm thinking no one would follow such a set of tweets (maybe my wife?), but what the hell...I could pretend that the WORLD is following and rooting me on!

Even with real or pretend motivation, I'm not sure this weekend is going to end well.  Here are my thoughts on what may happen on race day:

1. Wake up and decide to skip the race. No miles. Very possible.
2. Start the race, do one loop (10 miles), and drop. That's just silly.
3. Start the race and drop out after 20 miles. Nice reasonable training run?
4. Start the race and DNF at 30 miles. Excellent long run. This is tempting.
5. Drop at 40 miles. No. If I get 40, I'll get 50 miles.
6. Drag my sorry self over the finish line after 50 crappy miles. Hopefully without injury. Recover and kick ass at my 8-hour CRUD trail race on May 21. Wow, May 21 seems like a loooooong time away.  It'll be here soon.  I'll be ready!  Really, I will.
7. I finish the full race, but injure myself and I'm out for weeks healing and recovering. Not good. Thus my thought about #1 above. Stay home and run local trails.

Any thoughts on this idea of tweeting?  Have you ever followed a race via twitter?  Ever posted to twitter during your own race?

PS:  If you don't know what twitter is, you can find the twitter web site here.  You don't have to sign up to read people's tweets. Kind of interesting to search for people and topics.  If you have an account, then you can follow people and people can follow you.  My twitter account is @chrism42k (nothing very interesting, just started my account for an online class I'm taking right now).


Suza said...

Hey Chris! If you tweet during the race I would be honoured to read!! :)
I know of another online person that tweets in her races (@healthyashley) and it's fun to read her thoughts throughout the race! I think tweeting does keep her motivated, and you can also receive replies that will let you know ppl are reading!

Good luck, I hope you don't get injured if you do decide to run!

Chris said...

Thanks Suza! I'm leaning toward running and tweeting. I was feeling all sorry for myself last night, then I watched the movie "127 Hours"--the one where the guy (Aron Ralston) is stuck in a crevasse with a boulder pinning his arm to the wall. He cuts off his arm (after 5 days)! If he can survive that ordeal, I can run/walk 50 miles with full aid station support.

David said...

I hope you take a crack at the full distance, twittering or not. I'm curious exactly how little preparation is necessary to slog through a 50 miler, and it sure would be nice for someone else to do the experiment before I try!

My own morbid curiosity aside, play it smart, keep it slow, and drop out if your calf starts to seize.

Chris said...

Thanks David. Good advice. I'll be testing the limits of an "ordinary healthy man" to run 50 miles. Calf seems good the last few weeks. Just don't have the base mileage.

Jeff said...

here's the plan
loop 1 run with one of your many friends running the 100 miler...keeps your pace slower
loop 2 10-20 miles - run as you feel
loop 3 20-30 pick up a slow pacer (me) at HG aid station (Mile 26)and follow him a full 10 mile loop, thur loop 3 finish/start of loop 4 plus 1 mile loop to mile 37, on your own from 37 to 40.
loop 5 - start it and finish it.
That's it, Jeff

Chris said...


Sounds like a plan. Where is the part about me winning the race? ;-)

Kelsey: the Blonde Bullet said...

I think tweeting is such a good idea! Just get people excited to do it weeks before the race. Even to a few practice tweet contests to get people following. If you can your blogging friends to stay tuned, then it could be an AWESOME source of motivation and a really cool use of social media. I'll follow you!

trice said...

Hey, just do it. Two miles. 50 miles. Walk. Run. Have fun and don't worry about anything. Nobody cares if you finish or not. Geez, you're getting yourself worked up over nothing. Pride is dangerous. Snap out of it!

Chris said...

Trice (Tom),

Why you only running the half on April 30? It ain't no big deal...run the full marathon, then repeat. It's "only" 50 or so miles. Come on...you can do it. ;-)

trice said...

I want to run only 13 miles. Why run a marathon? Silly.

Chris said...


You are funny. And often correct too! Should be fun on the Great Smoky Mtn trails next week...if the govt hasn't closed the park becuase of a shutdown.

Pekin, IL race plan...walk, run, repeat until done.

trice said...

You have the perfect race plan.