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REDEMPTION RUN IN WISCONSIN
I also learned from my marathon in D.C. that I needed to increase my endurance on hills. To manage this I ran in Van Cortlandt park at least once a week leading up to the race. There I pushed my limits on the hills. I even ran some of my longer runs with local college teams.
The morning of the race my legs and I felt fresh and eager to run fast and long.
The chilly 40 degree weather in Wisconsin might have bothered me if I didn’t know that such a temperature would only make it easier for my body to stay cool as the race progressed.
With 20 seconds until the start I kissed my hand and placed it on the ground to ask for strength and thank the earth for letting me run.
During the first 3 miles I ran with a group of three other runners at a relatively easy pace. We chatted and I learned that each of them had already raced distances of 50k and beyond. When I shared that I had never run a 50k before, one runner suggested that starting out in the front was bold. I just smiled and told him I trust my training.
I set a goal to run under 4:15 and qualify for the elite wave of the Endurance Challenge 50 miler in San Francisco. With this in mind I picked up the pace and started running with purpose. Just before mile four, I left the pack.
As I weaved through the wooded trails, I ran and breathed lightly and relaxed. I felt smooth and in control at 7:00 minute pace per mile. Midway through I felt so fresh I thought I might even negative split the second half of my race. As I neared mile 26, however, fatigue spread throughout my legs. I increased the frequency of my gel intake to every 30 minutes and drank more water, but to no avail. My legs grew heavier and more sluggish. “Dang it!” I thought to myself.
For the next four miles I fluctuated between 8:00 and 9:30 minute pace per mile.
At mile 27 I fell to second place. I tried to respond but failed. I looked down at my watch, which read 3:19:02 and realized that I had plenty of time to finish under 4:15 and qualify for the race in San Francisco.
Within the final 200 meters, my calves and quads started to to cramp. I mustered up what little energy I had left and crossed the line in second place with a time of 3:53:03. I felt so happy to finish my first 50k, I barely noticed any pain.
Upon reflection of my race, I thought that perhaps if I had stayed back with the winner early on, I might have won the race. Then I realized,
“I don’t want to slow down to win, I want to learn to run faster, longer.”
After all I did feel in control for most of the race, I only needed a little extra for a few more miles.
On December 6th I run the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler. For this race I want to focus on running faster, longer.
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This past weekend I went to Wisconsin with my wife Abby to see family, hang with friends and run my first ever 50k trail race as part of the North Face Endurance Challenge Series. I started this series with a first place finish in the Bear Mt. Half Marathon. Then in Washington D.C. I finished my first marathon in fifth place.
During the marathon, my longest race in distance, I experienced muscle cramping, so I knew that for the 50k it would be prudent to eat more energy gels for extra sodium. Leading up to the 50k I practiced with nutrition until I found the perfect balance. The magic combination turned out to be one gel every 30-35 minutes, starting with the sweet flavors and ending with the sour.
Coach Patrick Hammond earned his Masters Degree in Sports and Performance Psychology from the University of the Rockies. He is a USA Track and Field Level 1 certified coach.
As a runner in college he competed at Western Kentucky University, where he helped his team win a Division IA Cross Country Sun Belt Conference Championship.
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