50 or Bust?

Today I’m embarking on the first week of training for either a slightly under-trained Zumbro 50, or an extremely over-trained Zumbro 17. I’m still not sure.

I hate to equivocate, but I am really uncertain about my ability to put in the mileage necessary, and to stay healthy for 16 weeks in a row. However, I do want to be transparent about what I’m doing. There’s no reason to be secretive about a goal, just because I might not make it. Of course I’m setting myself up for failure by not committing 100% to the race RIGHT FREAKING NOW, but I’m being honest. Last winter, I was sick for like 8 weeks straight. I trained through some of that, but I also had long stretches of time with no running. I ran Zumbro 17 in the midst of that illness (and on about 2 hours of sleep), but that was 17 miles. (Well, 16.7.) Running 3x that distance, starting at midnight, in who knows what weather, is entirely different.

I’m a bit concerned about ramping up the mileage after several weeks of very low mileage, but I have several days off this week, it’s warmed up considerably (I ran 5.6 miles yesterday in sub-zero Fahrenheit weather), and I am feeling pretty good. I don’t have any nagging pain, I’m not mentally beaten up from running, and aside from a bit of a runny nose and some sneezing most likely brought on by poor air quality in my house, I’m not feeling sick.

My goal was to loosely follow the plan laid out in Hal Koerner’s book. I was going to use the plan from Bryon Powell’s, but I can’t figure out where I put that book. It is probably under my bed or under my couch. I’m a slob, but I’ve come to terms with it. It prevents me from having too many houseguests, so it’s got its good points. Hal’s plan is far too ambitious for me, but I’m also hoping to just finish the race before the cut-off, not win.

I’m under no illusion that I can half-ass this training the way I did with Wild Duluth and Moose Mountain. There was a lot of winging it, mileage-wise. I made virtually no changes to my nutrition. I haphazardly did strength training. I didn’t concentrate on sleep or stress management. And I didn’t have to worry about when I ran because it was decent weather most of the time and there was lots of daylight. If I am able to successfully complete the Zumbro 50, it will be because I was able to eat well, run well, sleep well, and live well. It will be life-changing in a way that running a marathon and a 50K were not.

I am really, really excited to see what happens.

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