For my next race, there will be no finish line.
Aww yeah! The Wings for Life World Run takes place on May 7, 2017, in 24 locations around the world, all of which start at the exact same time. I’ll be racing in Santa Clarita, CA, starting at 4AM.
The WFL finish isn’t a line, but rather, a Catcher Car that begins its race a half-hour after the runners start and it gradually speeds up each kilometer. As it overtakes runners, they are eliminated from the competition and board a bus back to the start.
Motivation: My buddy, Jeff Minor, introduced me to the Wings for Life World Run in 2014 when Denver was one of the three US host locations. Jeff has shown amazing resilience in recovering from a broken neck in a motorcycle accident 13-years ago. Here’s his story. I didn’t know Jeff back then, but we shared a house and kitchen together in 2013/2014, and he really impressed me with his passion for bicycling. Jeff rides his pedal-powered bike nonstop on the trails of Colorado in between his gig repairing bikes at Elevation Cycles in Denver. It is remarkable to think how Jeff defied the odds of his immediate paralysis and willed himself back to a healthy body and healthy mind.Goals: In my first go-around with the 2014 WFL in Denver, I made it 25-miles, ran for 3:07 and finished in 7th place in the Denver competition. I was pumped with the race vibe, my result, and the race format. I was a newbie to ultra-racing back then and there was no info on the course nor aid stations prior to the run. All I recall is that I wore the Altra Olympus (read: cushy trail shoes) and probably carried a water bottle, but I have no recollection of nutrition during the race. I always have lofty expectations regardless of the race, and this event was no different. I thought I’d make it into the 30-mile range. Despite coming up short back then, things are much, much different this time around.
This time I’m training for the WFL as if it were my A-race road marathon for the spring. I’m picturing it, however, as a road Triple Half Marathon. I’m hoping to last 39-ish miles, i.e. 13.1 + 13.1 + 13.1.
Here’s my little cheat sheet using the WFL Goal Calculator that I created as I was musing about unrealistic goals:
- 25k (15.5-mi) = 2:07, 8:10/mi
- 30k (18.6-mi) = 2:26, 7:50/mi
- 35k (21.7-mi) = 2:44, 7:32/mi
- 40k (24.8-mi) = 3:01, 7:16/mi
- 50k (31-mi) = 3:36, 6:57/mi
- 55k (34.2-mi) = 3:51, 6:45/mi
- 60k (37.3-mi) = 4:06, 6:35/mi
- 65k (40.4-mi) = 4:21, 6:27/mi
- 70k (43.5-mi) = 4:36 6:20/mi
- 75k (46.6-mi) = 4:51, 6:14/mi
- 80k (49.7-mi) = 5:06, 6:09/mi
So my goal is to get caught 60 to 65k into the race. I’m looking to hold a 6:30 pace which would put me somewhere around 40-miles. My best road marathon is a 2:53, which equates to 6:37/mile. Why do I think I can run for 40-miles at a faster pace? I want to challenge myself to become that type of runner. And if I fail to reach my goal? Maybe I will hit a new marathon PR during the race. Maybe I won’t. This is why we TRY.
There is a huge weight off my back for WFL training. I am training to consistently maintain a pace for an extended period of time. In all my previous races, the goal was a finishing time… Sub-3, 2:45, bleh. That doesn’t work. That 6:37 pace in my marathon PR started out as an over-ambitious 5:45 or something stupid like that. We inevitably go out too fast, expect to bank time, and end up slowing in the waning miles of the race.
I have a calm and peaceful mentality regarding my aspirations to maintain 6:30/mile for 4-hours. I’m going to train myself into the groove. As I stick to one pace through each mile of training, each step holds a focus on making 6:30 feel easier – through efficiencies in form, cadence, nutrition, & mental feedback.
I plan to post a recap of each week of training along the way. Follow along to see the splits, pictures, and musings from my running endeavor.