Saturday, June 27, 2015

6 Weeks to Howl at the Moon Race

It's only 6 weeks until my favorite race of the year...Howl at the Moon 8-Hour ultra in Danville, IL. The Kennekuk Road Runners put on one hell of a race!  Free pre-race camping, free beer, free food, and a well supported race with 3 aid stations on the 3.29 mile loop course. The weather is usually hot and humid, but the volunteers do their best to keep you going for the full 8 hours.

This will be my 14th Howl race. In the 13 races I've done, I have accumulated over 550 miles. Average of 42+ miles each year. One year, I'd love to hit 50 miles, but my personal best is 47 miles (twice). This year will not be my best. I have not trained well lately due to illness. No high mileage weeks, no long runs. This week, I'm finally back to "regular" running. But with only 6 weeks to go, I'm not sure how much training I can squeeze into my remaining days. I feel lucky to be healthy and active again. Any running is better than none. Still, I want to perform well at races and be fitter and faster than I am. I suppose increased fitness will come over time. Patience.

I'll need patience at the Howl 8-hour race. If I can develop a structured run-walk plan from the start, I may be able to log more miles than expected. I could try a short 1-minute walk every mile. My GPS watch beeps at each mile, then walk for one minute. That strategy worked well at the Tunnel Hill 50-mile race last fall. I need to delay my fatigue as long as possible. A slow and steady start could keep me going further. Eight hours is a long time to be out in the heat and humidity (and mid-day sun) of central Illinois. Efficiency is the key. Run, walk, eat, drink. Repeat.

It's a bit strange, but I feel good about the upcoming race. I know it won't be a personal best, but I also know I'll give it my best, try a new strategy, and see what happens. As long as I notch at least 26.2 miles, it'll be ultra/marathon #100. That's worthy of celebration. There will be more ultras in my future, but this milestone will only come once. I might as well enjoy it and appreciate the day.

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