Add to Technorati Favorites "Going the Distance!": Yours Truly 50K, How To Be A Great Ultra Pacer and "Spirit of the Marathon"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Yours Truly 50K, How To Be A Great Ultra Pacer and "Spirit of the Marathon"

Picture from the 2007 YT 50K in Budapest, Hungary

Next Sunday, 1/27, I will be participating in the Yours Truly 50K out at the Green Rock Trail near St. Louis with a few other SLUGs. This is an interesting concept as it is a world wide race, based on the honor system and you have 24 hours to complete the distance. Here's how the website describes the event:

"Time starts running at the same time when you start and will finish when you have run 50k. You can have breaks if you want. Your time will be the time between start and finish.
Example: You start at 05.00 AM and you run till 09.00 AM. Totally about 35k. You come home and take a shower, eat and watch TV for couple of hours. At 01.00 PM you continue your run. You run those missing 15K's and finish at 03.00 PM. You have used totally 10h to run 50k, that is your result."

Click HERE for more information and good luck!

My AT100 Pacer, Andrew Karandjeff and I at the Finish

On Saturday, Februrary 2nd, I will be pacing my friend and founder of Running4Recovery, Brad Holzworth, during the last 40 miles of his attempt at the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Trail Run in Huntsville, TX. In the February issue of Trail Runner Magazine there is an article on how to be an effective ultra pacer. Below is a brief recap of the main points in the article along with some of my own thoughts:

Know the Course: It is always best to run the course beforehand but is rarely possible so the next best thing is to study the trail map and know the information on the race website like the back of your hand. Know where the aid stations are, the difficulty of the different sections so you know when to push hard and when to pull back and most of all KNOW THE RULES.

Know Your Runner: Do they like to talk while they run or prefer silence? Should you be stern in your motivation or gentle? Do they like to run in front or behind? There are many physical and emotional highs and lows in a race. Your runner could be feeling great and jovial one minute then suddenly become nauseous and cranky the next; learn how to read your runner and modify your approach according to their mood.

Plan Aid Station Stops: About 10 minutes before you reach the aid station discuss what your runner needs and what you will take care of. Andrew did a great job of this at Arkansas Traveller this year and we had a plan going into each aid station so we could get what we needed and get out as soon as possible.

Know When To Be Bossy: Late in a 100 mile race your runner will not be thinking clearly due to fatigue and low blood sugar, may be nauseous, dehydrated and just plain tired. It's at this point that you need to take over and become the decision maker ensuring that they eat, stay hydrated, keep their electolytes in balance and keep moving forward. They may want to rest or just sit for a while but this is usually what causes a DNF. Remind them that the pain is only temporary and will end when they are finished but that the memories and sense of accomplishment will last a lifetime.

You're There For Them: It's not about you so you need to cast your ego aside and take care of their needs but make sure you are also taking care of yourself so they can count on you when the going gets really tough. They know how important you were in helping them achieve a finish and will remember the help and sacrifices you made for a lifetime.

I have been fortunate to have wonderful pacers (Chris McMahon, pictured above right, at Kettle and Andrew Karandjeff at Arkansas Traveller) for both of my 100 mile finishes and this is my opportunity to return the favor in helping Brad achieve his goal. At the end of the day though it is the runner's job to get himself across the finish line. You are there to provide emotional support, fill their water bottles, help light the way and motivate them to keep moving but they are the ones who need to put in the training, planning and preparation required to cover the distance.

This Thursday, 1/24, the movie, Spirit of the Marathon, will be showing in select theaters across the country. This is a one day engagement with an encore presentation on February 21st so if you have a chance check it out at a theater near you. Below is a brief description from the film's website:

"Four years in the making, Spirit of the Marathon is the collaborative effort of three-time Academy Award winner Mark Jonathan Harris, Telly Award winner and marathon runner Jon Dunham and producer/marathoner Gwendolen Twist. Spirit of the Marathon is the first ever non-fiction feature film to capture the drama and essence of the famed 26.2 mile running event. Filmed on four continents, the movie brings together a diverse cast of amateur athletes and marathon luminaries.

As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports movie, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike.

Filmed on four continents and in five countries, the film stars legends such as Dick Beardsley, Paula Radcliffe, Bill Rodgers, Toshihiko Seko and Grete Waitz."

Hope all of you are doing well and Happy Running,

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