Endurance Challenge: 50-Miles, Marin, December

Ok, ok, 158 days until the race (The North Face ECSCA Gortex 50-miler). But, I’m a fiend for visualization, and since it’s my focus race for 2016, every run around our little village of Golden, CO, I play the game of “this reminds me of” or “this trail feels like.” It’s a fun way to put myself in the race zone and remind myself what I’m hitting the trails for.

So 158 days is a lot of time. Since the summer is hot & dry in Colorado, and the trails are riddled with rattlesnakes, I’m taking a conservative approach to training. Having been forced to refocus my agenda for the last four months to let a foot stress fracture heal, I have enjoyed the element of play and freedom in my training.


Sunrise over Golden

My previous two years of ultra running have found me racing almost every month, with a mix of 2-week taper or race recovery filling the days of each month, leaving me overworked, and under-enthused.

The last month or two, I’ve explored some new base training tactics including lugging a tire-strapped-to-a-backpack up and around summits. This provided a much needed new perspective on the mountain trails that I’ve been narrow-sightedly traversing for the last year or so. Carrying extra weight.. be it by a tire, or 20-lbs of weights strapped around my waist… has forced me to SMELL THE ROSES. Well not really, but it’s slows me down enough to look up from the trip hazards or the trail, take in the sunrise, and enjoy the opportunity to run with others.

So with base training consisting of a lot of power-hiking and weight-assisted strength running, I’ve lost a bit of my fitness, speed, and turnover. That will enter through the summer as, I search for flatter terrain around Golden, in which to hit 180-steps per minute to keep my form fast, efficiency, and healthy.

22 weeks till race day!

Previous ECSCA Races:

  • 2013: Marathon 3:39:09, 8:21/mile
  • 2014: 50K 4:17:26, 8:18/mile
  • 2015: 50K 4:16:19, 8:15/mile

Goal for 2016:

  • 2016: 50-Mile Goal 7:00:00 , 8:24/mile

ECSCA Gortex 50-Miler Course Map:

ECSCA 50M Route

ECSCA Gortex 50-Miler Course Profile:

ECSCA 50M elev profile

ECSCA Gortex 50-Miler Course Aid Stations (I’ve never raced out to MCKennan Gulch or Stinson Beach):

ECSCA 50M Aid Stations

Here’s my goal race pace as executed by ultra-running extraordinaire, Paddy O’Leary:


At 8:18/mi, Paddy is right in my wheel-house for 50k racing, which means, yes I have to step up my game, but yes I know what that pace feels like and am comfortable with it for a looooong time.

I’ll be analyzing Paddy’s splits as race day get’s closer.


More race data:





2 thoughts on “Endurance Challenge: 50-Miles, Marin, December

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s