I figure that an introduction is in order. For those who do stumble upon this blog (whether by accident or not), what I say might mean more (but maybe less) if I first explain my running background.
But I'll first start with a brief non-running introduction. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri before going to college at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. I studied philosophy. I continue to study philosophy in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I'm presently in my first year of a 5 to 6 year program, so I'll be in Madison for the foreseeable future. Ok, onto the important stuff.
I didn't start running until I was 18 years old. I read Dean Karnazes' book, Ultramarathon Man, and decided that if "anyone can fake a marathon," then I must be able to (since I assumed that I was anyone). During my second semester at TCU, I began to train for the St. Louis Marathon, which I ran, after a few months of training, on April 6, 2008 in 3hr:37. I had quite the fan club and I was happy just to finish. Not bad, I thought. But I'm not the type of person that likes "not bad." I heard about the "big" marathon: Boston. I decided that I would try to qualify for it. I did in November 2008 at the Rock n' Roll San Antonio Marathon when I ran 3hr:09. Then I ran Boston, but saw no progress, finishing in 3hr:18 (I had hoped to break 3hrs). I did, however, manage to convince the TCU cross country coach to allow me to walk on at the beginning of my junior year in August 2009. I improved dramatically in the next year and a half while training with the cross country and track teams (and occasionally competing). I ran a 4:14 in the 1500m, broke 22mins in the 4 mile, ran a 27:30 8k, and gained a huge amount of experience. None of my times, of course, were noteworthy for Division I collegiate running. But the speed work has paid dividends in my short career as an ultrarunner.
I moved to Boulder, CO in January 2011 after completing college. That's when I first began real trail running. After breaking three hours in the marathon at the Rock n' Roll Arizona in January 2011, finishing in 2:59:50, I began training exclusively for trails. I ran my first trail race in April 2011, finishing 2nd in the Muir Woods Marathon in 2hr:47 (truthfully, the course was well short of a full marathon). I was hooked. I began looking for races in the Midwest, as I had been accepted at UW-Madison for graduate school and would be moving there in July 2011. I ran my first real ultramarathon (I had, of course, run 30+ miles on training runs) in July at the Minnesota Voyageur 50 mile race. I placed 7th, finishing in 8hr:21. I was prepared neither for the distance nor the terrain. I was quite disappointed--I thought that I would at least place in the top five. I found another race, the North Face Endurance Challenge (TNF) 50k just outside of Madison, WI. I ran the 50k in September 2011, placing 1st in 3hr:44. I hadn't trained overly hard between the Voyageur and TNF, so I was quite pleased with my time.
TNF Madison was my last race to date. I am scheduled to run 7 races in 2012. The first four are merely for training purposes. Since competing in the Voyageur and TNF-Madison, I have read extensively about ultramarathon training. I also gained an immense amount of experience in those two races. I have adopted a training approach that centers on my strength: speed work. After six plus months of intense speed work to start the year, I'll take my strength and speed to the trails and try to perform well in three 50 mile races.
So, that's my story. I'm still young and rather inexperienced compared to ultrarunners who have been competing for years. But I'm a student of the sport. I approach ultrarunning as I approach graduate school: I study hard and try to learn as much as possible. This blog is a place for me to discuss what I've learned.
Now you know a bit about me. And hopefully that will keep you reading!