December 13, 2007

Run or Tri?

So I'm looking ahead at the 2008 multisport season and I'm not sure what to do.

I want at least 1 long distance event as my A race.

The two options are 1. Comrades and 2. Ironman France.

Comrades marathon is the oldest (and many say toughest) ultramarathon in the world, a 50+ mile road race over the hills/mountains of South Africa. The race attracts dozens of thousands of runners each year, making it also the biggest ultramarathon. It alternates courses each year, with odd years being a "down year" and even years being a "up year." The up years add many thousands of feet elevation gain to the challenge of the 50+ miles.

I want to do Comrades, I really do. This race is legendary, and I want to be a part of it. 12 hours after the start, the race director walks to the finish line and fires a gun into the air marking the finish. Cross the line at 12:01 and you have not officially finished the race. The stories of people who slip in immediately before or after the 12 hour mark have become legend, and the first person each year to finish after the 12 hour mark is a national 5 minute celebrity.

Now 12 hours to cover 50 miles seems pretty damn easy. barely over 4 minute miles? Piece of cake. Of course I wouldn't want to finish in 12 hours, I'd want to finish in 11 or 10 or faster. So my goal would be to run, if not all then most, of it. And therein lies the issue - I haven't done an ultra yet, and quite frankly I'm nowhere near sure that my body will hold up to the necessary training to do the miles needed. I struggle to get in the prep miles for 26.2 - how will I get the miles for a 50 miler?

But it's Comrades...

The other option still under consideration (and no, I couldn't do them both) is Ironman France. It's amazing to me how quickly and consistently IM races sell out. I mean, last year IM Switz didn't sell out and this year sold out 6 months ahead of the race. Well IM France as of today still has spots.

Since my inaugural IM in June I've wanted to do another. I was trained and signed up for Wisconsin, but had to cancel because of a required court appearance the day after the race a thousand miles away (that - yes I'm bitter - was cancelled 2 days prior to the race...). And I'd like to do one this year, but I'm not deadset on it - I could wait until next year.

One of the advantages of doing the IM instead of Comrades would be the familiarity. I know what it takes to IM train, and I know I can do it. I honestly don't know if I can stay healthy and consistent enough to train for Comrades. If I'm injured Comrades training and can't do either, I'm doubly screwed... But on the flip side, I've already done an IM and, although I do want to race IM again, I also like new experiences.

Decisions decisions...

What do you think? Should I do Comrades or IM France?


Cliff Tam said...


Take a look at this :). 125 km..24 hr....climb 3 mountains :) My Ironman Buddy, Darren, talked about this and now i am fantasizing....

If i am goign to do won't be soon.

What are these crazy races that are so intriuging??

IM or ultramarathon. That's a toughie. I mean it..either one is tough :)...I say pick the Comrades..

Star said...

Funny...I'm having the same dilemma! I'm going to nix an IM and probably head to IM Switz in '09. But for '08, I'm planning a 50-miler in North Carolina in April and another in Colorado in August. But I'm having a difficult time finding a good HIM to keep me on my bike....

Donald said...

Based on your IM training, you can do Comrades - but I wouldn't plan on running the whole thing. Walking breaks are just part of the deal for ultras, at least if you want to do them successfully.

The good thing about your decision is that both races will be there in another year. Pick one for this year, one for next.

rocketpants said...

I'd actually say do the IM this year and Comrades next only based on the fact that broke your foot this year and then couldn't run and are now coming back from an injury. This year as you train for the IM see how coming back from that injury goes. Then you have another year of running after an injury that put you out for a bit. It may help in the end to have more time to train up to 50 miles after an injury so integral to running.

Jason said...

Sounds like you're leaning towards to Comrades by the way your post reads.

RunBubbaRun said...

It is a hard choice, both epic destinations..

Comrades has the history, but I think there are more tougher and epic Ultra in the US.

So your choice, stay within the box or go out of it.. They will have either event next year..

Lana said...

Tough decision. I'd say whichever one you find yourself more excited about, go for it!

IronJenny said...

Skip them both and do the IceAge 50miler with me.

Iron Girl Nyhus said...

I think they both would be cool. Do comrades and I'll need a buddy to do Ironman Germany with in the next couple years.

Buttar Dot Com said...

Comrades sounds intense.

Good luck either way!

-Emily A.

Curly Su said...

I did IM France a couple years ago, and it's a great race...the bike course is 1 (!) loop and is absolutely beautiful, albeit hard. The Mediterranean Sea is awesome to swim in...I definitely recommend the race...Let me know if you have any questions about it.

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