Monday, July 23, 2007

Ultramarathon with Fries

So, I've been training for my first ultramarathon, which is defined as any foot race farther than 26.2 miles. The one I've signed up for is in Redwood Regional Park, in Oakland, on August 26. Last Friday night, in preparation for this (and since my wife and child were out of town), I ran 26.72 miles according to my GPS watch. I stopped at a McDonald's at about the half-way point and ordered a soft drink and a medium french fry. It sure felt good to eat.

I stopped the watch when I had to stop and buy food, which I did twice. Otherwise, I ran pretty much continuously, covering the distance in 3 hours 59 minutes. I think I hit the marathon mark in 3 hours 53 minutes. I was slowing down a lot over the last few miles and was really sore. I think I'm going to lose a toenail because I was getting a bit too much friction on my left middle toe. Well, this was good training for the real thing. I need to be super careful that my toenails are trimmed and that everything fits perfectly. But it was a confidence booster in that I wasn't trying to run fast and it mostly felt easy.

It was fun to go exploring and to plan out the distance during the run. I knew I wanted to do 20 miles but then I figured that when I train for a marathon, I get up to about 22 miles on my longest training runs. So, for a 31 mile race in tough hills, maybe running slowly up to 27 miles on flat ground would be appropriate for a training run. I just took off north, trying to stay on trails and roads next to the San Francisco Bay. I started running at 7pm, so it was dark on my way out. I turned around somewhere on East Grand Ave. in South San Francisco and headed back along a slightly shorter route, having to avoid some of the unlit trails. I was very happy and relieved to get back to my car in Foster City. That was the longest run I've ever done.