February 8, 2009

This 'n That

Got in another build up run yesterday... 13+ miles around Lakes Calhoun (twice), Harriet, and Lake of the Isles. Great weather 2 weekends in a row! For such a low key run, my legs felt more tired than they should have :( Makes me a little nervous with Chippewa only 2 and a half months away. The heel is doing "OK" with the longer runs, but still doesn't like hills.

I've also been doing some short barefoot runs on an indoor track 1-2 times/week, which doesn't do much for increasing my running base (at least in terms of miles), but does help strengthen the intrinsic muscles in the feet and lower legs. Since I haven't been running on trails, this is a great benefit! And it feels great to run without the weight of shoes!

Even though I'm feeling a little panic about getting ready for Chippewa, I found myself poking around the internet this weekend looking at 50 mile races. Not for this year, but within the next 2, possibly next year depending on how things go this summer.

Things to consider:
*Time of year (I don't like winter running, so putting in high mileage during those months probably wouldn't go well).
*Location (closer to home is cheaper and easier than having to fly somewhere, but not a deal breaker).
*Cut off times (I'm slow. And have NO experience pacing myself at this distance. Generous cut-offs would be an advantage; however, courses with generous cut-offs usually have them for a reason: they are much more demanding).
*Altitude - we don't have any here ;)
*Total elevation (hillier courses are harder and take longer).
*Trail type (singletrack is my favorite by a large margin. Not interested in a road run - or dirt road run).
*Course type (I prefer point to point or out and back rather than loops).

Of the races I'm aware of, my impression is that Voyageur and Superior are pretty darn tough for a slow first timer. Ice Age, Glacial, and Mohican are probably in the moderate category. Lean Horse sounds like one of the easier runs, but also sounds like it's more on dirt roads rather than trails? Bighorn is intriguing - I'll have to get more info from runners who've done it since we can't really prepare for high altitude or extended downhills/uphills in these parts. Rocky Raccoon has very generous cut-offs for the 50 and looks to be non-technical singletrack, but would require more travel and winter running than I really want.

So, any suggestions for a first time 50?

I'm wondering how Carl did on his 100 miler at Rocky Raccoon this weekend?

I rediscovered some music that I've had for ages and forgot I had: Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It's like getting new stuff without having to buy it :)

Hope you are having a great weekend!


Matthew Patten said...

I think Molly Cochran did Big Horn last year, and even placed.... (2nd or 3rd women). I don't gather it being an easy 50.

All things considered, Ice Age is pretty easy. It's a good time of year, very well managed, lots of aid stations, and the cutoff is generous enough.

I have told many people, "if you can do 50k at Afton, you can do Ice Age 50M." If you can run 2 loops at Afton 3-5 weeks before Ice Age, you are good to go.

If you have a good day at Chippewa, you will be in shape for it. It is harder to get in shape, than stay in shape.

Lean Horse has the potential to be hot. Voyageur.... never done it because it happens on the average hottest weekend of the year. Superior.. well... put your big girl pants on for that one. I hear Glacial is harder than Ice Age.

SteveQ said...

Carl finished in 28 hours!

Your best bet for 50 is probably Ice Age. Voyageur has an asphalt section and is a tough, tough course.

Kinda going dark with Cohen and Cave... you might dig the Cramps as well (lead singer Lux Interior died this week).

Kel said...

Thanks for the input guys. I was kinda leaning towards Ice Age before posting, so your remarks pretty much helped to seal the deal ;)

nwgdc said...

Hi Kel,

I'm really enjoying your blog, and have a bit of experience on a couple of the event courses you mentioned, so I'd throw in my 2 pennies...

I'm echoing the previous opinions, but the Glacial 50 course is in another league compared to Ice Age. I have never run on Superior, but having read about it, I would say that Glacial is a step below Superior, but a couple steps more difficult than the portion of the Ice Age Trail that Ice Age 50 is on. For your first 50, Ice Age is the way to go.
I'll see you at Chippewa!

Steve said...

Yet one more vote for Ice Age, Kel. It was my first and a great course to notch your first 50 at.

Wayne said...

Good post, Kel. Your thoughts and the comments are helpful for other people who just happen to be thinking about a first 50 miler some day. :) You'll be ready for Chippewa.

Jennythenipper said...

I've never tried barefoot running, but I may have to add that in. Great idea. Good luck in your races this year. I'm trying to plan for Moose Mountain this year.

I love Leonard Cohen. I go through a Cohen period every year in the fall. If i listened to leonard Cohen in February though....that would be bad. I need happy music to get through this month.

Kel said...

Ice Age it is! Now I'll have to consider doing the 50K this year just to scope out the course ;)

Jenny, the barefoot running definately helps strengthen the intrinsic muscles in your feet - a BIG plus on the Superior Hiking Trail! Just ease into it... In prep for Moose, I'd recommend running the spring Superior 25K this year too since the course is also part of Moose Mtn Marathon. Good luck!