In 2018 the 25 mile Quad Rock (May 12) was my big running event. I built my winter and spring training plan around it. I showed up and finished in 6 hours and 15 minutes. Tomorrow I'm going to begin a 24 week training program with the goal of finishing the full 50 mile Quad Rock on May 11 2019. If I can get in good enough shape to finish the second lap in less than 7 hours and 45 minutes (there is a 14 hour cut-off), I'll be a 50 mile finisher in the year I turn 50.
2018's Quad Rock was my third attempt to run more than 25 miles. I'd previously finished both of the two marathons I'd entered. I'd run 20 miles or more eight times in training. I'd survived crazy steep trail runs in the South of France. I knew the course well. Despite a half-assed winter of training interrupted by work travel and illness, I knew I was going to be able to make the cut-off. I'm not so sure about the 50 miler.
I was cramping and suffering and going backwards in the last 3-4 miles of last year's race. I wasn't going to be able to run another 25 miles in 7:45. I'm going to have to train more and better this season. I'll need to fix bugs in my gear. I'll need to build more muscle, find a good massage therapist, and learn to digest solid food while running (I suspect I'll be a natural at this). I'll need to lose some flab, which might mean cutting back on IPAs. Ouch. I'll need to learn to run well in the dark, for training as well as on race day. Making time for stretching and sleep will be super important. A little luck would help, too, and I feel like I'm due for a race where it's not snowing or raining and I'm 100% healthy.
Managing time is going to be my biggest challenge. In the peak of my training, I'm going to be spending 14-15 hours each week on the trail. That's like a part-time job. I'll need to get 60+ hours of sleep and put in a full week of work as a software engineer (relatively light duty, but still). I don't want to miss out on family stuff like skiing, concerts, school conferences, and soccer games. I've identified the personal activities that have to take a back seat: social media (which I've already curtailed), spectator sports (Pro soccer, etc), soccer coaching, arguing with people on the internet (everybody wins), and open source projects.
I've just completed my 3 best weeks of running since July and am feeling ready to go.