>Racing>Ultras - hey, J LlynnBob!!
Roads were made for journeys...
You'll ruin your knees!
So Rocky Raccoon is 5 20-mile loops? - YEP, that makes it a great race with or without a crew. If you choose to have one, your crew can sit back and wait for you to come to them every few hours.
I've heard it's one of the easier 100's to start with (along with Vermont) - is that true? Absolutely, it is relatively flat, although they make the hills steeper each loop. The night running is quite interesting, as the roots get harder to see and more aggressive at grabbing your feet.
Have you done any others yet? Nope, just the one.
How many marathons did you run before moving up to ultras? For that matter, how many 50ks before moving to 50 miles .... how many 50 milers before moving to 100ks .... and 100 miles? I started running in Nov of 2000 and started marathons in Oct, 2001. I did one per month for Oct, Nov, Dec and Jan, then a trail 50K in Feb and another in March. A few more 50Ks and closed out the year in 2002 with a 50K on 12/14 and a marathon on the next day. That helped convince me that I could move up to a 50 miler, and did that in Oct 2003. Kept racing and moved up to a mountain 50 miler in 2004 and a tough 100K in 2005. The 05 100K was the start of my run to the 100 miler the next Feb.
I looked back over your training - so most of your longest weeks were 60-70 mile weeks? What was your longest single training run? Prob about 38 miles, but some back to back runs of 30/20 miles on consecutive days.
You talked about using races as long runs ... does that mean you do marathons as training runs? If so - what kind of pace do you run them at (compared to what you could do if you wanted to)?I have, but mainly don't like that much mileage on roads.
*DID* you pace your runner later at Leadville? If so - what was that like?No, I didn't make it to Leadville because my schedule just wouldn't allow it. My runner didn't make the cutoff, I really hated that. I'm not sure if he had a pacer or not.
Are you really going to try Western States without a crew? Or are you going to worry about that after getting in? By the way - is the lottery still set up with a "miss twice you're guaranteed the third year" sort of deal?I won't necessarily put a crew together. The support at the race is incredible and I am not sure I want a crew. That is another story, if you have to worry about a crew meeting up with you at certain points, I find it to be mentally taxing and a negative that I don't need to introduce into my race. The running community in that area is quite strong and there are often pacers looking for runners. I would probably just pick up a pacer if available.
Do you have to do some kind of "ultra service" to apply - like volunteering? Does your pacing count? Yup, eight hours of volunteering for trail work or working as a volunteer at an ultra race. The work has to be confirmed by a race director or trail steward. Not a problem as I work at 2 of my club's races each year, a 15/25/50K in November and a trail marathon/50 miler in March. We also do trail clean-up a couple times a year.
Is it an absolute necessity to run parts of that trail before running it (the WS)?Nope
How bad is the terrain - really? And how far did you pace the guy exactly?The sections I ran were not the roughest in the race. There is a good bit of horse traffic on parts of the WS trail and some of the downhills were quite challenging. Picture a 3/4 mile very steep downhill in a rut about 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide strewn with softball sized rocks and tree roots...AT NIGHT! Imaging a climb that is a good bit steeper then the max setting on a treadmill and imagine it at altitude (read: not a lot of oxygen) and lasting 45 minutes at a fast walking/slow running pace...repeat as necessarily until finished.
Do you do any speed work in training?Not really what I would call speed work. Sometimes I run faster than others, does that count?
How many marathons - and how many years of training - would you recommend before tackling your first 50 miler?
(Note: ultras are a good 2-3 years in my future. I'm just curious).Hard to say, I would suggest terrain-specific training. If you want to run trail ultras, train on trails, especially for your long runs. If you are running marathons, you can run 50Ks...the mileage is not that different and the trails are easier on your joints/muscles. You don't need to wait 2-3 years, just get to the marathon level and come on in, the water's fine!
""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)