Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

So I signed up for a 50k Race…I mean, how hard can it be?


Thanks to Vanessa Runs‘ awesome helpfulness, here’s my answer:

Yeah, you read it right. Back-to-back long runs. Thankfully, the real commitment to craziness, according to this schedule, doesn’t start for a whole month (thanks to a smart commentor, Jason Fitzgerald, for catching it – because I thought it was this week – yikes!). But, I mean…did you see week 11? That’s 24 miles on Saturday and then 10 on Sunday!


Okay, okay. Maybe this isn’t so out of bounds. I did want to increase my weekly mileage this winter anyhow. And I can (hopefully) run without hurting myself if I go nice and slow. I mean, I’m not going to win the race anyway, so forget that. But because I’m REALLY slow right now, I can work on speed during the week, along with some lifting and strength workouts.

I will admit something, though. I am not holding myself to the full 50k, if it becomes unreachable to me that day. I promise not to beat myself up if I have to stop after the first of the two 25k loops (and then beg the race director to let me pretend I’d signed up for the 25k, to avoid a DNF). With that said, if I spend these next four months training my ass off and manage to not get hurt, then I can’t see why a marathon wouldn’t be possible. And once I get to a marathon….well, what’s five more miles? Right?

But I am not completely obtuse. I know that most people train for years and years to get to ultra-marathon status. They run these things with serious goals in mind, besides beer and social networking. They are lithe and strong, they have earned their runner’s bodies, they can easily run a mile in under 7 minutes, and they haven’t eaten ice cream in at least 18 months. And most importantly, yeah so they’ve already run at least a few 26.2’s.

But me? Well, I’m a slow-as-fuck runner who averages between a 10-12 minute mile (these days it’s 12, and sometimes worse), I’m overweight, short, and I haven’t picked up a free weight in…at least 18 months. And I’ve never run more than 13 miles in my entire life. And that one time that I did? I didn’t even do a great job, I ran down a hill wrong and busted my IT band.

And I worked hard for that half mary. Busted my ass, even. I lost weight, worked my way up to three 10 mile long runs and one 11 miler. But since that didn’t seem to work for me much in the end, I think maybe this time I’ll go about it in a completely different way.

Oh, I am going to train. I’ll try my best to knock down all those back-to-back long runs. I’ll start doing strength training to even out. We’ll see how it goes. But if something starts to hurt? I’m going to stop and rest. If it starts to feel like a job? I’m going to stop and rest. If I can’t get all the miles in? I’m going to spend more time at the gym doing strength training. I’m not going to stress about it. I’m going to call these next four months of training The 50k Slacker Program. The way I figure it, I may actually be the least experienced person at the whole race, and my completion of it will be out of sheer dumb will, kind of like Forest Gump running cross country. And because I’m going into this just to have a good time, I’m going to let my Slacker attitude prevail, all the way.

So with that in mind, I have 5 possible goals for this race, in descending order of successfulness:

  1. Finish the 50k and drink my first beer as an ultra-marathoner (take that, disbelievers!)
  2. Finish the 25k and have time for more beer
  3. Drink Jason Robillard’s share of the beer while he runs 50 miles
  4. Drink beer with a bunch of cool barefoot running people like a total slacker
  5. Walk around barefoot drinking beer and wearing somebody else’s cowbell around my neck (they give away a cowbell instead of a medal, how cool is that?)

No matter what happens, though, I will come away from these four months fitter, lighter and stronger than I am today. So even if I don’t complete a single one of these goals on May 27th (although I’m pretty sure that walking around barefoot with a beer in my hand won’t be much to tackle), the Pineland 50k will have done me a whole lot of good.

So what’s to lose, right?

(except dignity, self-respect and the ability to stand?)

17 thoughts on “So I signed up for a 50k Race…I mean, how hard can it be?

  1. Dude, I’m so with you on this. I’m just as lazy, stubborn, barefoot and optimistic as you are, and from the sound of it, same experience level. There is no good reason why you cannot have a good time, which is all I’m after in my first ultra, too.

  2. 50K?! Holy Son of Man!! That’s insane! I’m trying to train for my very first 5k! As well as the Rugged Maniac Marathon (where you get to race AND drink beer!) lol You are a brave brave woman! And I wish you luck! 😉

  3. Trisha, doesn’t this plan say 8 miles on March 4th? Seems to start on 2/27. So, good for you… your ahead of schedule!

    • OMG you’re right! It doesn’t start until February! I just saw the 27 and figured it was this week. Doh! Well…that changes things. Good catch, Jason, thanks for figuring that out!

  4. LOL! I’m so glad all I did was sign up for a 5K in April… but there’s no beer involved – too bad for me! 😉 Trisha, I love your perspective. 🙂

  5. Now get out there, kick asphalt…and make sure to tell me all about it cuz im over here jonesing for a long run.

  6. I like your comment about it hurting, stop and rest. I always try to run with the credo of, “if it feels like work, you’re running too hard”! I love to run, and thanks for tagging me on the original FB post, cause it’s been fun following!

  7. I had a shuffle, I enjoyed it also till it shorted out. I liked the fact that I could clip it on my shorts and it stayed put!


  8. I like that training program.

  9. If you got hurt running down a hill improperly, I suspect that you’ll get injured on this crazy training plan pretty quickly, especially since you’re running everyday and giving your body zero time to repair. That’s literally begging to get hurt.

    Now, I have the same goal as you — run a 50k — but I couldn’t do that in 4 months without having my ITB flare up pretty badly within 2 weeks (injured 4 months ago). I’d be proceeding with extreme caution since you have an already established fibre injury that’s pretty easy to re-injure.

    • Hi Richard. All valid points. Anyone could get hurt if they ran every day without ever giving themselves time to recover. This is why, as I said, I will be taking care to do the best I can while still always listening to my body. I have not, nor do I ever, plan to run every day. In fact, I never follow training plans to the T, and in typical fashion, I’m throwing in a lot of strength training in place of some of those run days. I have quite a few friends who run ultras and I’m taking their advice on things, albeit with a grain of salt as always. I’ll run some, maybe even most of this plan – but I’m not going after it like it’s the word of God.

      And if, like yourself, I injured my IT band 4 months ago, I probably wouldn’t be trying this right now. In fact, that injury was a little weird for me. It hurt that day, but the pain was absolutely gone the next day and never came back. I have some mild suspicions that it maybe wasn’t ITBS at all, but an extremely tight group of calf muscles that had not been taken care of properly. Since April I have had no more problems in that area and I’m crossing my fingers it stays that way. Also, as I said, I will be playing this whole damn thing by ear…because, if you couldn’t tell in my title – it’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek. I am doing this for fun, not to win anything. I run 12 minute-mile long runs, for chrissake!

      So yes I am going to aim high…because what’s the fun in always aiming low? And I’ll do what I can do. And if I don’t make it? Then I don’t make it. No big deal. Try again next time. No need to be negative about the endeavor, just enjoying the ride of my life. 🙂

      • I’m not trying to be negative, that wasn’t my intention. But instead, I was trying to confer that you should be wary of this plan or any other that has you running such high mileage back to back, it’s just not good for the body.

        I’d love to start my 50 training, but just conditioning my feet to smaller increases is slowing progress.

  10. Your goals are on the money! Can’t wait to see how it works out. I’m a halfer so far. Never had the inclination to run a full. Then one day some one said Ultra. 50 miles. 100 miles. It’s so on my bucket list.

  11. Trisha – you Rock – you are going to do great!! I did my first Ultra last year a very technical mountain trail one – – I found it easier and less taxing than the road marathons I had run and far more enjoyable. Your training plan looks great if I could offer a couple of pieces of advice is try and run on the course itsaelf in advance of at al possible . I ran my course in sections on differeing weekend and it really helped on race day knowing what I had to expect. Secondly defintely do some core strengthening excercises you willbe on your feet /running for much longer than you probably have ever been and a strong core will really help in terms of the end of the race and in terms of preventing injury due to poor posture , I did six weeks of core conditioning before my race and I think it was the difference between a DNF and a finish time I was over the moon about. Either way I wish youall the very best and am excited to hear about your progress

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