Two years ago I turned 50 and planned an adventure of running a 50 mile trail race to celebrate being 50 years old. I trained for 8 months to prepare for this endeavor, I even hired a coach. To me running 50 miles at 50 years old represented a milestone in my life and I was going to make it happen.
It took me a while to zero in on the right race to run. I really wanted to do a 50 miler out west such as Colorado or Utah or maybe California. Being my first 50 miler I thought I should be realistic and pick a race that is a little easier and closer. It can be expensive to register for a race and then travel to the destination and I didn’t really have the cash at that time.
I finally decided on the Marquette 50 miler in Marquette Michigan. The Marquette 50 miler is run along the shores of Lake Superior so it includes challenging hills and beautiful scenery. Marquette is not exactly close but it’s still a 1/3 of the distance of a western states run. The price was reasonable as well so I signed up.
Without getting into all the reasoning and excuses I can tell you that I never made it to the starting line. I did run a 40 miler from my house the week that I as supposed to do the race. That should have been a training run. In my eyes I failed! I let myself down. I’ve had people tell me that 40 is a big accomplishment and I should be proud that I did that but I just can’t find it in me to celebrate such a failure. I mean come on I know many people who could knock out a 50 miler and some. In fact most of them could run 100 miles. I came up with excuse after excuse why I didn’t run the 50 miles including all the standard one’s like I was too busy at work, blah blah. No matter what angle you look at it from, I failed.
The good news is that I learn from my failures. This year I turn 52 years and to me I’m in the beginning stages of the second half of my life. That’s right the second half. I plan to be running and biking and kayaking into my 90′s. With that thought I’ve got plenty of time. This year I’m considering running from Grand Rapids to Mackinac Island on my birthday. I’m really starting to get excited about the thought of running that distance. I want to do this self supported and try to average 40 to 50 miles each day for 5 days. The one thing I can’t seem to decide on is if I want to carry a light pack or carry my gear in a stroller.
Before I can make that decision I have to practice running with both. I have run with a pack before and can maintain a 14 or 15 minute mile over the course of 20 to 40 miles but I’m not totally sure what I can do with the stroller. Yesterday I ran 10 miles and averaged a 12 minute mile but still I’m not sure if I like the pushing a stroller. Today I thought I’d give it another try.
On my way home from work I stopped in Marne, Michigan at the trailhead of the Musketawa trail. I ran out 2.5 miles and back. It’s flat and paved and runs through corn and soybean fields and some wooded sections. It’s a paved trail that was a railroad line in the early days and it’s flat but a beautiful stretch.
I felt a little better pushing the stroller today as I got into a pretty good rhythm and it really is nice having all my gear right in front of me. I’ll be able to carry more gear too because it rolls very easily and weight doesn’t necessarily affect the effort needed to push the cart; until I come to a hill that is.
It was a good run and I’m starting to get excited about my next adventure. I just need to stay motivated. What adventure is motivating you?