Running up, over and through the cogs

Transitioning into Ultra-Drive

lone runner on a country road

Last fall I cut more than 12 minutes from my previous best marathon time.  Part of the reason for such improvement was due to increased core and leg strength.  The rest, I am convinced, was because of my glorious summer of ultras.

With such a strong base established, by the time August came around and I was ready to put in 10 solid weeks of specific marathon speed training, my endurance engine was so robust that 26.2 miles at 7-minute pace felt short — exactly what I needed to to run my fastest race.

This year I plan to do even better.  As I have proclaimed before: 2013 is the year I break 3 hours in the marathon.  I hope to do it at Chicago on October 13th.

And so it will be again, with great fervor (and more intelligent training, especially regarding rest/recovery time), that I embark on yet another sunny summer of ultrarunning.  Outside of the occasional fartlek, the next few months will feature mostly long and slow distance runs with a handful of short races thrown in for fun before tackling my summer target event: The Christmas in July 12 Hour Race, organized by my friends and fellow New Leaf Ultra Runners Brian, Ed and Terry.

In addition to the above, I am happy to announce that my personal training business, Iron Lung Fitness, is sponsoring Anastasia “Supergirl” Rolek’s 2013 Midwest Grandslam of Ultrarunning bid.  Supergirl has graced these pages many times and I know she will represent ILF with the same focus and strength she does all of her events.  Go SUPERGIRL!

But perhaps the most exciting development of this upcoming summer of ultras is the fact that I have TWO premier pacing positions to fill.  The first will come June 1st and 2nd as I pace my friend Jen during the Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run.  Jen is a tough, focused athlete who trains with me, so I know getting to the finish line will be top priority for both of us.

Then, at the end of June, Siamak, another friend of mine and recurring Run Factory persona, will be taking on the biggest, baddest, most historic 100 mile race in the entire western hemisphere: THE WESTERN STATES 100 MILE ENDURANCE RUN!!!

And yep, you guessed it.  I am the lucky fella who will pace him to the finish!  Indeed, making sure Siamak circles the track at Placer High School will be my sole reason to live come the weekend of June 29th.

Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think of what it might be. In running the mind flees with the body, the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms.

–Joyce Carol Oates

The weather has turned for the better, my legs are feeling fresh and I welcome the mysterious efflorescence of language to pulse in my brain alongside my constantly moving feet.

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8 responses

  1. Dan

    It’ll be the summer of ultra for many of us, I’m sure. If you ever want company on a long-slow run, let me know. I need someone to push me out of my comfort zone this summer. Onwards!

    May 1, 2013 at 16:37

    • Absolutely, Dan! See you at IA in two weeks! Let’s get some miles (and post-race beers) together!

      May 1, 2013 at 16:47

  2. It sounds like it’ll be an exciting summer Jeff! I’m looking forward to following along on your blog. I’m building up to my first ultra in November, and you’ve been a great inspiration in my training. Happy running!

    May 2, 2013 at 04:37

    • That’s awesome, David! Enjoy the process. You will learn a lot about yourself!

      May 2, 2013 at 09:38

  3. Kirsten Pieper

    See you at the Kettle Jeff! I too am pacing a friend for the 100, through the wee midnight hours.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:08

  4. Boooooooooo ultras

    May 8, 2013 at 11:15

  5. Ignore my other comment. Good on ya for continuing to be a beast, Jeff. I’m not sure I’ve reached that level of insanity to run an ultra. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but the odds are not leaning that way.

    Keep running!

    May 8, 2013 at 18:40

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