I have a good and challenging 25.5km route that I run often from home. I needed a 50km run so I decided to run my 25.5km route twice with an aid station halfway. I ran the route in opposite directions to add some variety. I opted for an early start as it is the middle of summer here and rain was expected later in the day.
4AM - Ready to go!
This was a true LSD run and I ran slow and comfortably from the start. When I do LSD runs my goal is to spend as much time as possible on my feet and I don’t care about the time I run for the distance at all. LSD is all about time on the legs…the longer, the better.
I ran through the suburbs and mostly on the road and pavement. I always do some long runs on the road. I believe it is mentally tougher to do a long run on the road than it is on trails. That is another goal of my long runs, mental training. This means no running partner, no Garmin, no music (I don’t own a Garmin or mp3 player anyway), just me and the long road. There is no better way to prepare for the long ultras. I feel as if I tune in with my body and the route.
1st sign of the sun.
2km “trail”, the only off-road section of the route.
I was feeling great and as the sun came out more and more birds were waking up as well. It was a beautiful, fresh morning and I was in a very happy place. This is what makes me a complete runner. Just me and my thoughts on a beautiful morning, running at a comfortable pace.
Early morning in the suburbs.
Before I knew it the first half was over and I was back at home. I got rid of my reflector belt and also swapped my hydration pack for a full one. I also had some ice cold water, Powerade and PB sandwiches waiting. Oh yes, if I set up an aid station for myself, I do it properly!
My aid station halfway.
PB sandwich, my favorite long run food.
Then I was on my way again. My son asked me later if I wasn’t tempted to just stay at home after the first half. I’m glad to say the thought never crossed my mind. I was focused on 51km.
About 4km into the second half some heavy rain clouds started to move in. I didn’t notice them earlier and was a bit surprised when the sun suddenly disappeared behind dark clouds.
Rain clouds moving in.
Not long after this it started raining. I ran in the rain for about 30 minutes. Luckily there was no lightning and just rain and wind. Then, just as quickly as it started, the rain and wind stopped and the clouds were moving away.
Just after the rain.
The sun came out again and it cleared completely. It was now hot and humid. This was certainly a run of different seasons. By the time I reached the “off-road” section again it was warm and I could feel the sun burning me.
Sunny and humid. About 6km to go.
The last few kilometers were tough. 51km on your own is not easy! I wanted to get some mental strength training in and I certainly did. I kept my pace and I’m happy I didn’t have any problems on this run. This was exactly what I needed before the ultra on 8 January. I was happy and satisfied with my effort.
51km done! Tired but a good run.
I’m as ready as I can be at this time of the year for an ultra. The next two weeks I’ll still do my 6 runs per week but cut back the long runs to 21km and 15km. Then it is the final week with 3 short runs before I tackle the 90km Odyssey Ultra, a great way to start 2011.