…and I’m the dummy.
It’s that time of year when all of us crazy runner/triathletes begin planning out the next years race calendar. It’s the type A in us, always looking forward to the next bigger and better race.
2011 will mark my 29th birthday, and I figured I deserve one heck of a fun party and/or gift to celebrate my last year in the “20’s”. And after about 30 seconds of consideration, I knew what I wanted: Marathon Maniac status. Why some of you might ask? Well, why not. It was too perfect NOT to shoot for. Bronze level status states I must complete 3 marathons in 3 months, or 2 marathons within 16 days of each other. And you see, I’m already running the Myrtle Beach Marathon February 19th, and 14 days from that date puts me on the weekend right after my birthday.
See? It was meant to be.
So the next challenge was finding a marathon that weekend. Preferably close to home, since we, like soooo many other families right now are really pinching the pennies. When what to my wondering eyes did appear on the marathon calendar but the Umstead Trail Marathon, just up the road in Raleigh NC. Course description: Hilly; Some rocky, rooty single-track; Hilly; Mostly wide sand and dirt bridle trails; Hilly
If you’ve never been to Myrtle Beach, SC let me go ahead and describe the running terrain for you: Flat. Paved. Suburban. Flat. Some concrete. Flat.
If ever there were to be a more perfect , crazy birthday challenge, this is it. Ahhh, long gone are the days when I would gather my friends for a night of drunken debauchery at the local karaoke and piano bars, dancing my booty off and drinking vodka-lemon-drop shots until the room was spinning. Now, I want nothing more than to run a marathon that will absolutely kick my ass. I personally think this is more pleasant choice, I’ll take DOMS over a hangover anyday. haha. I must do it. I WILL do it, assuming I can get into the 200 person field the second registration opens at the end of this month.
My goal for Myrtle Beach Marathon is not to run until I feel like I might pass out, as I did last week in the half. My goal is to simply run strong.
And my goal for Umstead: beat the 6 hour cutoff, don’t get lost on the trails, haha.
So now I present you the predicament. One some of you may have caught onto earlier in the post. Training. Let’s review, once again, the Umstead course description from their FAQ page:
The course is all on trails either single track or bridle trails. The single track portion totals approximately 6 miles and is early in the race. The single track section is full of roots and rocks and can be difficult footing. We cannot have more single track in the race because most of the single track is too remote to rapidly get an injured person to safety. The bridle trails are wide and covered with a pea-gravel type of rock. The surface is very nice for running. The course is very hilly.
Ok that’s not a picture of Myrtle Beach, but it might as well be. I think the only “trails” we have in the state parks here are…you guessed it…paved. And of course, hill-less.
So I beg for suggestions from you experienced trail runners….what do I do? How do I train? Put the treadmill on 15% and go to town? Run in the sand (we do have that!) to strengthen my ankles? Keep in mind, I will be in marathon shape (flat, road marathon shape) as I’m training for Myrtle Beach 2 weeks earlier, but how can I supplement my training to make sure I’m strong enough for a trail race? Keep in mind I’m not out to win…just finish before the cut off.
What kind of gear do I need? Will my Kinvaras work on trails? What’s the ettiquite on single track trail when the person behind you is tailgating (or you are tailgating the runner in front of you)?
I’m (trail) running blind here…
Signed, flat, pavement, urban runner