Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I am setting up a run, here in Birmingham called The Run for Kids 12 Hour Challenge. There will also be a 50K and 5K runs. The Run for Kids Challenge will be a fund raiser for Camp Smile-A-Mile. Camp (SAM) is a non-profit organization in Alabama for children with cancer. The camp's mission is to provide year round recreational and educational experiences for young cancer patients, their families as well as young adult counselors who are cancer survivors from Alabama, at no cost.
100% of registration and sponsorship proceeds from the race will go directly to Camp SAM. The race will take place at Veteran's Park in Hoover, Alabama. (In the Birmingham area.) The trail is a professionally designed 5K course where major cross-country meets are held. The course is a 3 mile loop and covered in fine crushed rock. It is fairly level and would be a great chance to see just how far you can run in 12 hours. Trail shoes are not needed.
We will also ask all participants to request that friends and family sponsor them in the race. That is, ask everyone you know to pledge a certain amount per mile, or per lap run. We are working on a pretty cool (one of a kind) prize for the top fund raiser. There is another event I have participated in for Camp SAM called the Ride of Love. This is a 150 mile bike ride from Tuscaloosa to Children's Harbor, (the location of Camp SAM) on Lake Martin, near Alexander City, Alabama. This year, in the 10 year of the ride, 74 riders raised $170,000. That is a goal worth shooting for.
Come out and help us get started. Please follow this link to our web site. Run for Kids Challenge.
Also, Please go to the Camp SAM web page a watch the videos on the first page and Ride of Love page. Camp Smile-A-Mile
Preparing for an any major ultra, especially 100 milers, requires a huge investment of time and energy, not to mention the cost of traveling to the race. If I am going to go to all that effort and expense, I want to make my chances of success as high as possible. The more knowledge I have about any particular race and the conditions I can expect to encounter, combined with other pertinent information the greater the chances of success.
To that end, I subscribe to Ultrarunner and Trail Runner Magazines and read them from cover to cover. Yes, I have learned a lot form both publications, and from a few web sites, but most of the information I actually use while training or racing came from other trail runners. All of us have experimented with shoes, equipment, food, electrolytes, and so on. We have learned what actually works for us and what does not. I hope this will be a forum to share our "hard learned" knowledge.
For me, the most valuable information comes from "middle-of-the-pack" runners as well as those of us who sometimes find ourselves racing the cutoffs. In 2009, I went to the June training camp for the Leadville 100 trail run held in August. Sunday night, following the days run from Twin Lakes, over Hope Pass to Winfield, and back, I attended a forum with eight or ten locals who had finished 10 or more Leadville 100 races. The founder of the event, Ken Chlouber, was introducing Duncan Callahan, the winner of the race the previous year, and comparing his finish time to one of older 10+ time finishers. He said something like this: “After Duncan finished, he could have rested a while, taken a shower, had a big meal at a restaurant, gone to his room and slept 8 hours, had breakfast and come back to the finish line in time to see – (Pointing at the older runner, probably as old as me) – John finish.” (I actually do not know the name of the person Ken was pointing at, so “John” will do.) Of course, everyone had a big laugh, but it was true. Duncan could have actually done all that.
In the 2008 Leadville Trail 100 Run this was critical. Duncan finished before the severe weather hit which knocked out so many runners. The later finishers encountered intense lightning, hail, snow, freezing temperatures, and torrential rain during the latter stages of the race. I do not know for sure about all runners, but I do know that I run so slow in long trail races that I generate very little additional body heat to help keep warm. When I was younger, I could run a 10K or even a marathon in nothing but shorts and a long sleeve “cotton” shirt in sub-freezing temperatures and never be cold.
This example of Duncan and “John” is a good one. The guys up front racing for the win in15 or 18 hours do not experience the same problems or fatigue those of us running 26, 30 or even 48 hours, as I probably will, if I ever get in Hardrock. We are running twice a long and therefore have a much greater chance of blisters, stomach problems, joint injuries, dehydration, hypothermia and the list goes on and on. These are the runners I wand to exchange ideas with because that is the type of runner I am.
I will share some of my experiences and discoveries in the next few days.