(Not) preparing for an ultramarathon

Well, this weekend didn’t go exactly as planned. BF’s flight was a bit late getting in on Friday night, and that combined with us wanting to finally catch up (I hate being away so many days during the week!) meant I didn’t get to sleep until around 1am. Never mind getting up for 8:30am Tread class!

We did get up in time for Flywheel though, which was fantastic. I was so excited to show BF what I’ve been to so many Dallas mornings when I call him all “OMG I am so dead from my workout!” While he’s always been sympathetic, I definitely had a sneaking suspicion that he thought Flywheel was a bunch of wimps halfheartedly pedaling, gossiping, and barely breaking a sweat. Forget about telling him how my arms shake after the arm series – he couldn’t imagine that a 4lb and 2lb bar could provide even the slightest hint of a challenge, when he’s used to curling 50lb dumbbells in each hand.

Well, let’s just say that Flywheel taught him a lesson! The instructor was one of my favorites, Mark Shipman, and BF and I both emerged from class looking like we had jumped into a swimming pool. I was also proud to achieve my highest total score on the Torqboard yet – 278! After that great workout, we decided to skip the Katy Trail run (oops), and instead just knock out some pushups and lunges back at our hotel room. Result: my legs didn’t get trashed, but my chest/shoulders were pretty sore for my race on Sunday. Not quite the original intent.

Insert Fort Worth Marathon here. Race report still to come, and I am intentionally not going to say anything about it for fear I will let that suffice as a recap instead of writing a real one.

Despite not truly trashing my legs before the race, I realized I could also take the opposite approach: work out hard today instead. Nothing like doing your training four days before race day, right? I did a great spin class with Chelsea at 24 Hour Fitness this morning, and am hoping to make it to a special double instructor Flywheel class tonight after work as well. My feet have some nasty blisters from yesterday’s race that would make running today pretty difficult (especially since the only sneakers I have here in Dallas are the same exact ones I wore in the race), but spinning seems to be okay, so I’ll try to push my endurance using that instead. Kind of/sort of/not really at all the same thing. And totally a great idea to work on my conditioning when my ultramarathon is only five days away – isn’t that how the pros do it?

Upshot: I am actually pretty concerned about my ability to finish the NYRR 60K on Saturday. 37 miles is a very long way to go when my longest run in several years is only 26.2! (Okay, maybe 28.2 when I ran back to finish the Wineglass Marathon with BF – but that’s still not nearly enough.) I’m starting to take this whole “ultra” thing at least somewhat seriously, and am rather concerned that this actually might be a race I have to DNF because I won’t be able to make it to the finish line on my own two feet. Scary!

Since it’s a little late for me to be able to do much about my utter lack of training, I’m focusing on what I can control: my motivation during the race. Generally, when I am chatting with friends and having fun, I feel like I can go forever. (Whether or not that is actually true remains to be determined.) So here’s where you come in: I’m hoping to get my friends to agree to run some of the (nine, ugh) loops with me, and chat/joke/gossip/keep me entertained. You in?

The race is run completely on the main Central Park loop, nine times around the middle part of the park with a little extra thrown in for fun. It starts at 90th Street on the East Side, heads up to the 103rd Street Transverse, and then turns back around to 90th Street. For the rest of the race, just head south on Park Drive and keep circling around and around until you’ve done nine loops and/or fallen over from dizziness/exhaustion/boredom. The course turns on the 72nd Street Transverse (nine times) and again up at the 103 Street Transverse (nine times). Yes, the race cuts out the nasty Harlem Hills and therefore is pretty moderate terrain, but did I mention that it is nine times around? Someone ought to make a drinking game out of cheering the runners on each time they pass. (And if I weren’t so terrified of finishing the race, I’d be doing it myself. Maybe next year?)

So, please email me or leave a comment if you are willing to run any/all of these boring nine loops with me. I don’t care what pace you run and am just thrilled for the company, though my guess is I’ll probably try to do the first 13 miles around a 9:30 pace, the second 13 miles around a 10:00 pace, and the final 11 at a not-quite-crawling-on-my-hands-and-knees pace.

I’m confident in my ability to handle the first 26.2; heck, I’m even feeling okay about the first 30. But those last 7.2 are going to be tough! If I can even maintain some semblance of a walk for the final 4 mile loop, I am going to be thrilled. NYRR has not posted a time limit on the race details page, but some research into last year’s results indicates that two people finished at 9:59:57 and 9:59:58, respectively, so I am guessing it maxes out at 10 hours. At that point I’ll probably be begging to be put out of my misery anyhow.

I repeat: any and all paces welcome. Just come run with me and talk to me and potentially offer me some mind-altering hallucinogenic drugs that will give the nine monotonous loops of Central Park some variety. Bonus points to anyone who runs in front of me holding a Pumking beer just out of arm’s reach – something like that may also provide the inspiration I need to keep running.

Oh, and speaking of beer? There will definitely be an afterparty, most likely at Rattle N Hum, where I will attempt to eat and drink all of Manhattan. That will be quite a show in its own right, and if you can’t attend the main event, you’re still more than welcome to come there.

Leave a comment or drop me an email!


  1. I’ll come!!! Although my marathon this weekend is off limits as a topic of conversation as it will be demotivating

  2. I’m great at distracting people by chatting up a storm during a run. I’d love to keep you company, but my endurance is really poor right now. Thank you four weeks of bronchitis. But I can still run with you. Even if I have to do 2 miles, then walk while you do another lap and then meet for for another mile or 2, I’m game. It’s probably best if you schedule me towards the end. The slower I go, the longer I’ll be able to go. Email me and we’ll figure out a plan.

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