July 26, 2007

Shifting Focus

I've always had a hard time focusing. My mind drifts and wanders, thinking ahead to the next day or week or the next big adventure or the next patient that might stagger through my ER door squirting blood from a dozen bulletholes.

Lack of focus makes Ironman training hard for me. It was hard for Switzerland, and it's getting harder for Wisconsin.

Right now, I can't stop thinking ahead to Comrades. For those not in the know - which I wasn't until Momo wrote about this race a few months ago - Comrades is the world's largest and oldest ultramarathon. It is a road race, 55 miles long, held each year in June in South Africa. The racecourse alternates directions each year, so on even years it is UP and odd years it is DOWN.

Ultramarathons typically have no more than 100 or so entrants. Last year Comrades had over 12,000 starters, and 10,000 finishers. How huge is that?!! Check out this article from Runners World about this race.

So I'm committing myself to Comrades, now just 11 months away. To get there, and to survive, I'll need to shift my focus to a run-dominant training plan after Wisconsin.

I'm looking at either Marathon of the Palm Beaches in early December, or the Rock-n-Roll marathon in Phoenix in January. I'd like to be prepared for a near BQ time for either of those, although actually BQing isn't a primary goal. I'll need a 50k race in February or March, and any suggestions are welcome. I think one more 50k, or maybe a 50 miler, in April would have me ready to tackle the bigun in South Africa.

I've dreamt of running ultramarathons since I was a little boy, but until now its never been a realistic goal. This is something I want, and it's something I will have. I will finish Comrades... I WILL finish Comrades.

Now if I can just keep my focus on Wisconsin for another couple of months...

Thanks for joining me for My Daily Spin.


Triteacher said...

Man, when you take something up, you don't do it lightly, do you? I mean, here you are writing about lack of focus, but you are getting the job done. Kudos.

Donald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donald said...

Ultras, huh? Welcome to the club. I loved that RW article, too. But remember that there are plenty of awesome 50M/100K/100M races right here in the good old USA once you finish Comrades. Have fun!

TJ said...

there used to be an ultra (50K i think) at Pine Mountain GA. i don't know if they still have it but you might want to check it out as a build up race for the 55 miler.

IM Able said...

How cool?! I've always eyed ultras from across the room -- I'd love to do one next year if the knees hold out. Check out Lisa Smith-Batchen's blog (http://lisasmithbatchen.blogspot.com/) if you have the time. She just attempted a Badwater DOUBLE -- as in the Badwater 135 and a "little" extra. I think the goal was 300 miles, but weather prevented her from continuing.

Anyway, it's a fascinating community. Looking forward to following your progress after we finish Wisconsin on your ultra training. Just promise a little time off in between... ;)

Matt said...

How could you not do the Mercedes? It's right here? I'm going to try and qualify for Boston as well this next year. Let me know if you want to do some pace or distance runs.

Benson said...

It seems to me that by writing your blogs, it keeps you focused. so...keep us informed. good on ya man.

momo said...

aargh, i just can't commit to this year - its too close to cda. you'll have to be sure to let us know how goes though - i'm thinking 2009. a down year. :-)

IronJenny said...

I am doing the Ice Age 50 miler which is in May, so I will be in top sherpa-shape for CDA.
You have more focus than you realize:
Short term (ask one of your patients after you've sewed up their 30 bullet-holes) as well as long term (you pretty much JUST learned how to swim and you are an Ironman already).
I think it's a wonderful goal and if anybody can do it, you can!

tri-mama said...

Maybe just think of Wisconsin as step 1 in ultra training :-)

RunBubbaRun said...

I think you are getting the ULTRA fever.. It's hard to shake.. I know.

If Comrades was closer I would try to do it with ya.. Sounds like a geat race..

Lana said...

I read that article in Runner's World - that sounds awesome! I'm so excited for you!

As far as a Dec Marathon - how about Rocket City?!?!