As I mentioned before, things got hectic in 2016 and I stopped writing. My last post of 2016 was about how I was training for a 50K to celebrate my 50th birthday, and how I was running a marathon as training for the 50K.
Fortunately, everything worked out. I ran the marathon at a leisurely pace, had fun, and enjoyed the experience. Realizing that the marathon was not the end goal but a means to get there was exciting. I had a lot of fun running because I wasn’t running the marathon to beat a certain time goal. Without any pressure, I experienced the race in a whole new way. I took in the sights and got to enjoy the scenery. And not just that, I finished strong without any sore muscles. I had so much energy after crossing the finish that I felt strong enough to run another marathon.
I was in such great shape after the marathon, that I was able to continue running and training the day after the race. Of course, in spite of all this, I still wasn’t sure if I could complete a 50K. Now, a 50K is 31 miles or only 4.8 miles more than a marathon, And you must realize that I probably cover at least this distance every time I complete a marathon. First there is the core marathon distance of 26.2 miles, but then if you include the distance walked from the hotel or car, to the start line, and the distance from the finish line back to the car or hotel, it adds to about 31 miles. But why doubt my ability to cover this distance in a race?
Well, the 50K is a trail race and I had no experience running trails. This 50K would be my first trail race. So I was full of doubts because running on trails is a lot different from running on paved surfaces. But I didn’t let any of that stop me. I continued to train.
The 50K race day arrived, I showed up, and immediately felt at ease. The whole setup was laid back. The check-in was in a picnic shelter, and the total number of participants running the race was about 100. However, it was raining and forecasts called for thunderstorms during the race, because it wouldn’t be a proper trail run without mud, right?
But guess what, it was fun. Everyone was so nice. The scenery was beautiful including a lake, flowers, streams, bridges, a dam, stepping-stones, and many waterfalls (or since the race consisted of four loops of the same course it could have been the same waterfall).
My primary goal was to finish the 50K; I didn’t care if I came in
first last. In the end, I finished in the top half, 42 out of 103. I was very pleased with my finish and celebrated the best way possible: with an ice-cold beer.
But of course, I couldn’t leave well alone. A few weeks after my triumphant and unexpected finish, that crazy-nagging voice in my head started to tell me that I needed to sign up for another race: not another 50K, but a regular marathon. I started to research various marathons and decided on the Indianapolis Marathon. My friend Kathy had signed up for the race and had asked me to run it with her. So I figured, why not?
I started training for Indianapolis and even finished a half marathon as part of the training. But two months before the marathon I learned I needed surgery that couldn’t wait. All that training would go to waste. Therefore, to cheer myself up and make use of all that training, I ran another half marathon telling myself that two half marathons added to one full marathon.
Not wanting to break the training theme for 2016: run a race as training for a larger one. I ran a 5K as a training run and finished first in my age group.
That’s my summary for 2016. Now I can focus on the great things I have planned for 2017. And, yes, I’m already registered for a marathon this year. Training for that race begins in June.