I went to a couple of Jared's ultramarathons and helped crew/cheer him on. At each race there were people like Jared-fast!, better than Jared and slower than most people I have met. Each and every person was treated like a podium finisher. Every step they took people admired and cheered for them. The running community has always been a supportive one but THIS community was even more attentive. I knew I wanted to run further than 26.2, but how could I do that AND on these trails? Regardless, I knew I wanted to push myself beyond my limits and crawl my way to the finish line at one of these babies! I found a type of race that just completing one would be enough for me. I didn't have to worry about time and I could have "fun". (If your form of fun is mud, dirt, hills, rocks, pain and more pain).
Finding a plan that would work for me (the most injury prone person) was going to be tricky, but it might just work out well since I was just coming off of marathon training. I figured my body was already used to high mileage. Knowing my body needed some recovery time though, I decided to turn my daily double runs into 75 min runs in the morning 6 days a week and to alternate my Saturday longer runs at only 90-1h45m until I needed to begin training. This actually worked very well for me. Just switching to 75 mins instead of breaking up a 60 min morning and 30 min afternoon run changed my fitness level. I also began to learn how to run on trails. It probably sounds silly to those who run trails avidly or to those who don't run trails at all - "learn how to run on trails". If you aren't used to running on that terrain it is something that takes time to get used to. You have to watch your footing constantly and the softness of the trails takes so much energy out of you at first. My average daily mileage on the road or treadmill was decreased significantly when transferred to the trail.
Something changed for me while doing this preparation for training. The runs were significantly harder but the time flew by. I found that I was smiling throughout most of my runs. I was like a kid in a candy store when I would pass a deer - I never had been so close to one before. I loved being out in nature. It felt freeing! I knew that no matter how long it took me to run a trail race, I wanted to do it. I wanted to for the experience, the training, the fitness level it brought me to, the atmosphere and the love I felt for nature while running in it.
So, my first 50k is in about a month. As you know, I tested the course and had my @$$ handed to me; but, I couldn't be any more excited to try it out. I actually don't care if I DNF either. I just want to try something I always thought would be out of my reach and there are always other races where I can start again. I couldn't be happier to have Jared run with me. He is my biggest supporter and the only person who thinks I can do the things I set out to do. He never needs convincing regarding my plans. He doesn't think, "not fast equals not good." He knows it is a stepping stone for me to reach a new level. I have time to get where I want. :)
Anyways, here is the plan I followed for the most part.