"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Monday, 20 December 2010

51km Long Run

Yesterday morning I did my last long run before the Odyssey Ultra on 8 January. I ran 51km (31.7 miles). Usually I would do this in a 50km race, but since it is December and holiday time, there are no long races at the moment.

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.

Beautiful morning.

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.


Unknown said...

Sounds like a great training run, and well done to you for doing it solo. I'd say that would be mentally tougher than the 90km race in Jan.

Enjoy the build up to the race and all the fun of the holiday season.

I may just have to get up for a 5am run tomorrow - thanks for the inspiration,

Julie said...

Hi Johann,
Wow, a 51K long run!?! You are amazing! Beautiful pictures of your run. I love the shot of the sun starting to come up:) Great idea of setting up your own aid station...PB sandwiches are my favorite too!

Take care and have a fantastic week!

HappyTrails said...

Some great training for the mind and body. Glad to hear that your buildup to the big race is going well. Have a great week and Merry Christmas!

Molly said...

I completly agree with your thoughts about going music free, and taking to the roads for a long training run. Great job!

Email me your address for the bumper sticker, I can swing an airmail stamp : )

Jill said...

WOW!! What die-hard mental toughness training - you are truly incredible. One time I ran 28 miles by myself (and I did have my iPod) and I thought I'd poke my eyes out, it was mentally draining. That run is probably why I fear the 50Miler alone so much.

My favorite long run fueling is a PB sandwich, too! I have been known to smash one in a pocket for a marathon a time or two even!

First thing I noticed at your aid station was our pool - I hope you jumped in after that incredibly long run! :)

Excellent run, Johann - you're so going to be ready for your 90km.

Unknown said...

what a great run.

i'm starting to finally 'get' that LSD runs are about time on feet.

Adrienne said...

Wow! Can I borrow just a tiny little sliver of your mental toughness? That is so impressive. I love that there was not only change in night to daylight but also a entire change of weather during one run. Merry Christmas and I hope your training continues to go well until the race.

Jill said...

Lime GREEEEEEN-ish Shirt, how did I miss that? I'm telling ya, Chris totally missed his chance!! Looking good, Johann...and super jealous you have a pool in your backyard, but glad you put it to good use after the run!! :)

Black Knight said...

You don't need music because you run in a wonderful place and that landscape is the better company.
My last 50 km? This morning by my car. Merry Christmas.

One Crazy Penguin said...

Your aid station has a pool!?!?! Best aid station ever! Way to rock your run though :)

Nathan said...

Johann- I really enjoyed your photos. What wonderful scenery! Glad your camera didn't get ruined in the rain, too!

Mental toughness: I like your garmin-less strategy for the Long (super duper long) run. I don't have GPS...that may change soon, though. I think I will like ot have freedom not to have to map before or after, but don't know if I'll use it on my planned long runs either.

Ultra training/racing is fascinating to me. You are doing so well! I'm putting you on my sidebar today so others can find you =D

Nathan said...

Argh. I could use a comment spell check sometimes!

Mike said...

Your own 51k...with an aid station! You're Hardcore!! Good luck on your 90k Ultra.

Char said...

It blows me away that anyone can run that far as a training run. Who was the photographer for you 4:00 am shot? Did someone get up for that or did you put your camera on timer?

DRog said...

my man: GREAT RUN! especially like your thinking regarding mental prepardness and no trinkets and just you and the road. something I neeed to get down with in the next 6 months!


Bethany + Ryan said...

ok, first off, so cute that you had a little aid station set up in your back yard, or at least thats what it looks like in the picture! wow, 51km all by yourself? thats impressive!! major kudos to you!!!

Giorgio said...

Glad you didn’t have any problems during your last run considering that it was your last run before
your next adventure. Moreover, you ran on a beautiful and fresh morning. Let's know your next training before the Odyssey Ultra on 8 January.

I Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Marlene said...

That is an incredibly long unsupported run! Congrats!! Looks like some great scenery,

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

Good luck on the Ultra - wow that's a long training run! It blows my mind 90km.

ajh said...

You almost make this sound peaceful and easy but I know easy doesn't enter into it at all. You have the right mental attitude for sure.

Jon said...

You cease to amaze me!

Chris K said...

Johann, you big South African stud. I love the comment to your son, "The thought did not cross my mind". YES! That is sooooo awesome. Nice job my friend.

Alyssa said...

You are amazing! I love PB sandwiches when I'm running too (during my marathons, I would use tortilla shells, rolling them up and sticking them in my fuel belt -- worked perfectly, easy to carry, and didn't take up much room at all!)

I admire that you don't wear music or a Garmin either. What a true ambassador of the sport.


Sherri said...

How do you do what you do????
YOu are amazing...
You must find it odd...to read about me struggling to get out the door to run 4 miles??? I'm in awe!!!

Unknown said...

Incredible Johann! The fact that you're sitting upright in the final picture is an accomplishment all on it's own. :-) I love that you set up your own aid station - what a great idea! I hope to run an Ultra in the not-to-distant future. Good luck on the 8th - and most importantly, have fun!

Amy said...

I love your aid station! congratulations on an amazing accomplishment and above all, your incredibly positive attitude! And thanks for sharing the pictures - how I long for some blue skies and sunshine!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Wow, you're amazing! What a wonderful feeling to be running when the sun comes up...that is a rare treat for me...I hate getting up that early but when I do experience the quiet and solitude of being alone with the morning and the rising sun, it is breathtaking. again, amazing and good luck!

RunKathyRun said...

You are going to won that ultra; you've done the training now relish the rewards. Your pictures are fantastic; thanks for sharing.

RunKathyRun said...

O.K. talk about spell check; I meant to say "you will OWN" that ultra; I can't wait to hear all about it.

Kate Geisen said...

Wow, I'm impressed. I could use some mental strength training like that. When I'm on a long run (not long in terms of yours!), my brain gets tired of running before my legs do. I agree that running trails is much easier on the mind. Nice job fitting in all those miles early!

Merry Christmas!

Staci said...

You are a real inspiration. I read your posts and look at your pictures and I also feel like going out at 4am :-). Well Done and Enjoy the Race.

Tim Wilson said...

Awesome run and great aid station. Did anybody get in your way at the aid station? :)

Great pics as usual - good luck with your Ultra!