50 for one of us
In a classroom, a 50 is a failing grade. In a glass, 50 can be half full or half empty. In miles, 50 is a number that separates endurance runners from the pack.
With the recent increase in participation in marathons, ultra marathons are becoming more popular as endurance runners look to push their limits on further distances. Combining a longer distance with an even more difficult course up mountains, down valleys and through hot or cold might sound 'crazy' to some, but just like that half full glass, to the rest of us that sounds like a challenge.
Unfortunately, I'm not ready for that challenge. Towards the end of last year, there were minor rumblings of training to tackle a 50 miler in April of 2010. I wasn't really sure if I would be ready a few months ago and wanted to see how Jan. and Feb. played out. With a marathon in mid Jan. and a 31 mile ultra in early Feb., 50 seemed like the next logical step. If I was already trained for 31, why step back? Keep training and kick it up another 20 miles on race day. LOL. That doesn't even sound right as I write it. Honestly, there were 3 of us in our training group that were considering 50. One of us in serious consideration.
Early in our ultra a few weeks ago, 2 of the 3 decided 50 wasn't in our near future. Me being the least ready for tackling 50, it wasn't a big deal to admit I wasn't ready, mentally and most importantly physically. I had to admit to myself that I am still working on conquering 26.2 and until I do that, 50 will have to wait.
But for the one, an extremely strong runner, 50 will become his focus for the next couple months. He will be attempting the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run, or AR50, in April. If he finishes in under 11 hours he will qualify for the Western States 100 (and that thought has crossed his mind). I have full confidence that he is capable of finishing. Although it will be an extreme test of his physical and mental strength, if there is one in our group that is ready, this is our guy. Like a city rooting for their local hometown hero, our training group will be deeply invested in this venture and experience it vicariously through "our chosen one." LOL. We got your back, Chris! (Dang, thought I could go the whole post without calling him by name. Almost made it.)