Day 84: Ultra September, a Call for Runners

**Here’s a synopsis: I’m looking for running partners on Saturday, September 29 to help me with a training run on the Monon. Any distance, any leg are helpful. I’ll be running between a 9:30-10:30 pace depending on the day. Feel free to leave a comment or drop a line if you’re interested.**

I’m two months away from the 2012 OPSF Ultra Marathon, the only race I’ve ever DNF’d. (The upside to that race: I met this girl on my way home.)

The moment I decided to drop out of the race, I knew I’d be back. You never finish on a miss. My dad taught me that lesson many years ago when I’d shoot free throws on our driveway. The last shot you take before you go inside has to be a make. This was no different.

The 50k Ultra — in this case a 35-mile run as the course was mis-measured — is an entirely different beast than a road marathon. The hills, the trails, the solitude, the limited aid stations, and the location make these races equal parts mental and physical.

When I DNF’d, I decided to skip the rest of my races in 2011 and 2012, and instead dedicate myself to conquering the ultra distances. I retro-fitted my road bike; I ditched my road marathon equipment and bought lightweight trail running gear; I joined CrossFit to build the endurance needed to run up and down thousands of feet; and I put one race on my calendar: November 3, 2012.

As September begins, my training picks up. I ran 20 miles on Saturday, Sept 1; I’ll run 24 miles on Saturday, Sept 8; dial it back for 18- and a 14-miles runs the following Saturdays; and on Saturday, Sept 29 I’ll do a 30-mile training run.

It’s the last run that sticks in my head: a 30-mile training run.

Until last year, I’d never considered running a marathon let alone a 50k ultra. Now I’m the proud owner of this 3-liter Camelbak, which also holds food, Gu, and a change of clothes (plus some light rain gear). You can’t really own something like that and not run 30 miles.

I’ll likely split my route between with the foot path to Butler University and the Monon trail to Carmel. That’s not what’s important right now, though. I’m still trying to grok the end of the crazy training adventure.

Big props to my future wife who has agreed to meet me for the last 6 or 7 miles of this run. I’ll be in bad shape when I see her, and she’s a champ for offering to run with me. A partner-guide is the best gift a runner can have. And we’re all about the high-fives, and smiles during our long runs.

Unfortunately, Rebecca’s awesomeness won’t come until the end, and there’s a whole big middle I’m going to need help conquering. This brings me to you, dear reader (and runner):

Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be recruiting friends and runners crazy enough to help me. I won’t be going fast that day: I suspect I’ll be trucking around 10-minute miles with short walk breaks on the 5K. Any length and any segment will be helpful. Heck, you don’t even have to run. You can meet me along the way with a small coffee and something warm to eat (like soup!) if it’s cold or something cold to eat (like fruits!) if it’s hot.

I’ll be starting my run sometimes around 4:30 A.M. so that I can finish before 10 A.M., which is the magic hour of pain when the suns starts taking its toll. (This gives me 3 hours of dark running time, enough to get more than 1/2 way to my goal. Sunrise comes around 7:30 A.M.)

I don’t expect any fools up early enough for that start time, but I should be starting to hit the troublesome areas just around the time you early birds get going.

If you’re interested, by all means drop me a comment here or send me an email. You can even tweet me: @thebradking.

If you can’t make it but want to offer support, I’ll be using RunKeeper to live tweet the run (although I’ll only check my feed during my big breaks around the 8, 16, and 24 mile marks. Every little bit helps.

#DeathBeforeDNF