It’s easy to say you’re, oh, I don’t know, going to run a 50K (31 mile) trail race this year when you’re on a sugar high from your holiday celebrations. It’s another to shell out the money, log the miles and actually make it to race day.
Fellow Skirt Sports ambassador captain Mirna Valerio had just written a Women’s Running piece on setting SMART goals. She wrote: “SMART goals are SPECIFIC, MEANINGFUL, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT, TIME–BOUND.”
Back in January, I did just that, shooting for the Bad Apple Ultra in October. It’s a trail race at an apple orchard I committed to running with my BRFs (best running friends).
Unfortunately, the race doesn’t offer finisher’s medals this year and a few fellow runners found that offensive, to say the least. After a bit of noodling, we settled on Run Woodstock in September. It’s a few weeks earlier than Bad Apple, but still gives us plenty of time to train.
MEASURABLE and MEANINGFUL
My runner friends and I settled on the 50K training plan from Women’s Running magazine they’ve used for their races and I already plugged in all of the weeks’ runs/workouts into my monthly planner.
I should note that the 26 miler in August did prompt me to question our collective sanity. It’s been suggested that I instead run Old Farts trail half because it’s very “technical.” I have learned that ultra marathoners use that term like obstetricians say you will feel some “discomfort” when you’re pushing an 8-pound baby out, so I’ve yet to sign up.
ATTAINABLE and REALISTIC
Once the holiday glow wore off, I also questioned whether my goal to run a trail ultra marathon was either attainable or realistic.
I just ran the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in Grand Rapids a couple of days ago and am feeling well enough that I believe I’ll get to the 31 miles on pig-headedness and stubbornness alone.
My familia supports my insanity, always giving me the flexibility I need to fit all of my running and training (and doctor’s appointments, online shopping…) in.
And I’m learning as much as I can about trail running and ultras in particular. If you haven’t, check out my running mentor Brandess Wallace’s Guest Chica post on ultra marathon must-haves.
I’ve scratched the 5K, half and full marathon distances off my list, so why not an ultra?
(I can hear you laughing. It’s rude to laugh at crazy people.)
I’d already decided that I would focus on distance this year, so having a September race on the calendar helps keep me focused and willing to get up early or head out late for those mid-week runs.
Gazelle Girl did that for me this winter and I know I need to add a few more races to my schedule throughout the summer to keep me going. I did sign up for the Two Hearted Trail Half in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in June, a marathon relay in late August and a 5-mile fun run on Labor Day. And we all know that I’ll probably end up running Old Farts in August.
I hope you are being smart about your own goals. In the meantime, please share your updates below.