The first month of 2016 has been a very busy one for me. I ran the highest mileage week of my life (80+), competed in 5 races (5k, 50k, mile, 10k, and marathon), set P.R.s in both the 50k and mile, all within the highest mileage month (230+) of my running career. For me that was a lot, maybe even a little too much, running. I have typically hovered right around the 45-50 mile per week mark with a total around 175-180 per month. Although the extra 30+ miles may not seem like a lot it took more out of me than I expected. The toll of extra mileage did not manifest physically in slower runs or fatigue but it did zap my motivation. This was a completely unexpected effect and one I am just starting to get over.
But before I get sidetracked here is why I started writing this post…January Race Reviews.
1) Polar Bear 5k: I ran a 17:10 on New Year’s Day which I was happy with. I was using this small, local race just as a predictor to gauge my short-distance fitness. And overall I was happy with 2nd place and a good workout.
2) Savannah Rails to Trails 50k: This was an awesome race! It’s held Cockspur Island outside Savannah GA and is run mostly on grass trails and a hard pack converted railway (hence the Rails to Trails name). As this race was the week before the Bermuda Triangle Challenge I was looking to get a good 20 mile run in than back off the pace and make sure I recovered well. I managed to do all of that while running my first sub 4 hour 50k and coming in 2nd overall. But even more enjoyable than the running was reconnecting with some of the incredible people in the ultra-community I hadn’t seen in a while. If you haven’t forayed into this type of running it is something to consider. I have found a 50k (31 miles) is much more strenuous than a marathon so be prepared. I have also found the ultra and trail running communities tend to be more laid back and willing to ‘just go with it’ which can be a nice change from the high intensity road racing venues I’m more accustomed to. It’s always nice to switch it up every now and again.
3) Bermuda Marathon Weekend: By far one of my favorite events. For the past 2 years I have participated in the Full Triangle Challenge which is a mile, 10k, and marathon spread over 3 days. My goal this year was to run a faster combined time (see Setting Goals in 2016) than I did last year and I am very pleased to have accomplished that. I was overall about 8 minutes faster than last year and in the process P.R.ed my mile (5:03), won the men’s marathon, and the overall Triangle Challenge.
a. The Front Street Mile is one of the coolest races around…it starts, passes, and finishes in front of huge crowds of locals and visiting athletes. It can make anyone feel like an all-star athlete. After the Challenge mile (which includes all tourists as well as some locals) races are held for the local school kids, local adults, and an elite invitational race. This really is one of the most fun races to participate in and watch.
b. The Bermuda 10k is a very tough race that has a great mix of locals, tourists, and invited elites. This course has two major climbs that really made me remember exactly how flat the Lowcountry is. One of my favorite parts about this race (and weekend) is the 10k record holder Geoff Smith (Olympian and 2x Boston winner) comes back every year to run. If you ever need a good excuse to get away from winter weather definitely check out this race!
c. The Bermuda Marathon. On both attempts at this course I have been humbled and more or less got my ass kicked. This course has continual rolling hills mixed in with some more aggressive climbs and drops. With incredible views, great crowd support, and overall phenomenal tour of the island this double loop course definitely does not disappoint. I lucked out this year and no elites ran the marathon so a time of 3:07:22 was good enough to win the men’s race.
So overall I was more than happy with how I ran at this month’s events. However my favorite part, as it almost always is, was getting to reconnect with old and make new friends along the way. Every time I’m at a race I’m blown away by how amazing this community is. Hanging out and getting to know other runners is what keeps me hooked and look forward to the next race. So thank you for being part of this running community… it has done wonders for me and thousands of other people!
Be sure to subscribe to The American Runner email list (theamericanrunner.com) to be kept up to date. Next up will be ‘Staying Motivated Thru Year-round Racing’…an issue I have been dealing with more and more of recent…