Bear Mountain 50k: I’m doing this!

For a few years now I’ve had my eye on Rainshadow Running’s Gorge Waterfalls 50k in Oregon as a race that I really want to run as my first 50k. I entered the lottery for the spring 2017 race but didn’t get picked. Now the spring 2018 race has, sadly, been canceled due to the terrible fire this summer. But I’m in a spot right now where I feel like I have the time and energy to train for a 50k. So? Plan B: the North Face Endurance Challenge Series 50k on Bear Mountain, New York, May 5, 2018. I’ve registered and this is my first week of training.

Logistics: This will (duh) be my first race longer than a marathon. 50k = approximately 31 miles, so around 5 miles longer if all goes as planned. The elevation gain will likely be around 4,500 feet across the 31 miles. To put that in context, the Breakneck Point half marathon I ran this spring had about 4,500 feet of elevation gain across 13 miles. I’m not saying Bear Mountain won’t be hard, but the climbing won’t be as fricking insane as it was at Breakneck. Race start time is 7 a.m. and a ten-hour cutoff means I’ll need to finish by 5 p.m. All during daylight; no headlamp needed. I would love to average 12- or 13-minute miles, but even 15-minute miles on average would keep me well under the cutoff.

Training: For a training plan, I’m using the “first 50k” plan from Krissy Moehl’s Running Your First Ultra. The book itself is a little sparse and could’ve used some editorial work, but the plan seems very solid, built on four-week cycles of three weeks of increasing workload then one week of recovery, with weekly totals that aren’t daunting except for two or three weeks near the end. It’s a 24-week plan so it will be the longest I’ve ever trained for a specific event. I’m going to include as much strength work as I can and also focus on quality daily nutrition (vegetarian always, vegan when possible) and getting tons of sleep. I’m lucky that there are trails right here in Prospect Park that I can use for mid-week runs and speed/hillwork. I’m hoping to get out of town most weekends, by train or bus, to run on Bear Mountain itself or around the Cold Spring/Beacon area.

I don’t really want to post a weekly training log but maybe I’ll post one for every four-week cycle. And hopefully I’ll post about some of the trails I get out to run on, outside the city. Plus general ramblings about gear, nutrition, and general preparation. Here I go!

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