Monday, August 19, 2013

Fall Ultramarathon Races

Now that I survived the Howl at the Moon 8-Hour race last weekend, it's time to think about fall ultra racing! I feel optimistic about my fall training and racing. I managed to get 41 miles at the Howl race, less than I wanted, but pretty darn good compared to other runners. It was a tough day. Most importantly, I'm not injured and I'm ready to dive into training and racing as the weather gets cooler.

I head out of summer and into fall with my new running philosophy ("I Do What I Want"). Sure, I'll still track my runs, but all alarms are off and I simply run as I feel. My last two runs have been awesome with this approach. I'm starting to get "in tune" with my body. I judge effort by breathing, rather than by heart rate. It's working well and it feels right. I tend to settle into a moderate effort--not super slow, but also not extra hard. It's Goldilocks time! Just right.

So, it's time to plan fall races. Here they are:

September 15 = Evergreen Lake 32 Mile Trail Race (Hudson, IL)
(also a 16 mile and 44 mile race)
This is the third year for the race. I ran the inaugural event in 2011 and enjoyed it. I was hurt last year and couldn't run it. Looking forward to coming back this year. Here is my "Evergreen Lake 50K Race Report" from 2011. Back then it was a 50K, now it's 32 miles (which is what I thought the length was even back then).

October 15 = Farmdale 30 Mile Trail Race (East Peoria, IL)
(also a 10K, half-marathon, and 50 miler)
This is the 8th year for the event--and I've run them all! Farmdale is one of my favorite races of the year. It's well-organized, the trail has lots of variety, and the race directors are always cordial. Race distances change each year so it's always interesting to see the new trail loops. This year the race has new RDs, but they are long-time ultra runners and have been involved with the Farmdale races for a long time so it should be another fine event! Wonder how many others have done the race every year? You can search this blog for my race reports.

November 9 = McNotAgain 30 Mile Trail Race (Pekin, IL)
(also a 10 mile race)
I've also run this event every year...even when it was a "fat ass" style run to test out the viability of holding a real event. This will be the 4th official year. It's run on the same course as the spring Potawatomi Trail Race (50-100-150 mile events). This one only has 10 and 30 mile races. It's a great time of year to be running this trail--cool weather and less mud than in the spring. Of these three events, McNotAgain is the toughest trail. Here is my "McNotAgain Race Report" for 2012.

All three races are within a 90-minute drive of Champaign, IL and the trails are well-marked and moderately difficult. If anything, they tend toward being a little too easy. Still, if you don't pay attention to every step, you'll catch a root or rock and go down hard. And if you run all the hills, you'll be dead before the end of each race. Just the right challenge!

If things go well, I may add a road marathon (Redwoods Marathon) and/or 24-hour ultra (Across the Years). I should be happy with just these three trail ultras. We'll see.


Will Musto said...

Chris, how long do you plan on following the "I do what I want" plan? I'm intrigued/impressed. I've done stuff like that during base training periods, but during a racing season? Gutsy, man. Good luck!

Chris said...


I'll continue through the end of this year and see how it goes. Feels GREAT so far! Nice change.

Ruairi said...

will see you at Shady Hollow (32) and Farmdale (30) and then I head home for the Dublin Marathon on the 28th of October. I really like Shady Hollow, did it last year. The folks who run are great fun and yummy gluten free food at aid stations. Best wishes!

Chris said...


Look forward to seeing you at some fall trail races. Let's hope the weather cools down.