steep-canyonThis post went live around 8:30 Thursday morning, less than 4 hours before my next ultramarathon, the Steep Canyon 50k in Brevard, North Carolina.

Little about this race is conventional:

  • It starts and ends at Oskar Blues Brewery‘s REEB Ranch
  • It’s held on a Thursday, to kick off a 4-day music festival
  • The start time is set for noon, so all runners end while the music is jamm’n
  • It’s a loops course, 3 x 10+ mile loops

The odd timing throws off my taper period, nutrition, and frankly, my mental state. But the event is bound to be a blast, and the uniqueness of the music festival, brewery, and timing, will only make this race that much more of an adventure.

Unfortunately, my training has been just as unconventional:

  • Due to traveling nearly every weekend for the past 5 weeks, long runs are all out of wack
  • Weddings, birthdays, river floats, and travel meant I wasn’t eating or sleeping well, and drinking a few too many beers

Training has been less than ideal. Take this past Saturday, for example, when I spent more time getting dressed for a wedding, than I did running. It ain’t easy looking this good:


But here we are, a few hours before the start, and I’m loading up the car to head to the start.

Letting Go of Expectations

When I registered for this race, I intended to take training seriously and see what I could do on this course. I ran the route several times, and focused a course specific training plan for this hilly — yet very runnable — route.

Slowly life started getting in the way, I had to make adjustments to my training. Eventually, though, I completely lost focus on that initial drive.

Spiraling me into a deep running funk.

All of which means I’ve had to reevaluate my expectations. Let go of the idea that this will be a dream race, and set new goals.

So what are my new goals? To have fun, reinvigorate my training, and enjoy a day out on the trail. With Katie out volunteering on the course, and lots of friends running as well, having fun sounds a lot more manageable.

Over the past few weeks, as I’ve held on tightly to expectations I knew I couldn’t fulfill, I’ve been down and discouraged.

By letting go, and just appreciating the adventure for what it is, I’m feeling a lot better about the experience.

A good reminder that sometimes you have to let go in order to move forward.

How I Prepare for a 50k Ultramarathon

Yesterday I released the 20th episode of Trail Talk! Thank you for all the support and kind words about the podcast over the past several months.

In this episode, I share my final preparations before an ultramarathon:

  • Proper tapering to feel rested, energized, and strong on race day
  • How to prepare the mind for the highs and lows of an ultramarathon
  • Nutrition strategies for the days and hours leading up to a race
  • What I plan to eat and drink during the Steep Canyon 50k

You can listen to that episode here:

And don’t forget to subscribe and rate the show in iTunes or Stitcher.

The Aid Station’s Run Smarter Mini-Course

aid-station-ipad-display-2I’m super pumped to announce the release of the new and improved Aid Station, which now includes a free Run Smarter mini-course.

The 3-part mini-course is designed to help you run smarter and stronger on trails. In it, we tackle:

  • The Why and Hows of trail running
  • Building a bullet proof mental strategy
  • Maintaining discipline and motivation in your training

The lessons are delivered through the same platform as the Busy Runner Routine and the Trail Runner’s System, with the full course being released over a 10 day period. Over the course of the 3 lessons, you’ll gain access to 4 free eBooks.

On top of that, Aid Station Members will now receive member only content, select interviews, and more.

And of course, the entire thing is completely free!

If you’ve already joined the Aid Station by signing up for one of the eBooks, you have two options:

  1. You can sit pretty and do nothing, and continue to have access to the old Aid Station and the eBooks along with it, or
  2. You can sign up for the new Aid Station, and start the course. You’ll probably recognize a few of the eBooks, since not all the content is new.

The new Aid Station has been several months in the making, and I’m thrilled by not only the new course and platform, but the additional awesome features and content coming soon.

Claim your free Aid Station membership, and kick-start your training with the Run Smarter mini-course here. 

Run With Me and Runner’s World

rwhalf-logo-altra-2Remember last October when I had a blast running the Runner’s World Half and Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania?

I was lucky enough to be asked back by Runner’s World to join a small group of bloggers attending the event. The best part? They’ve added a trail race!

In addition to the 5k, 10k, and half marathon, they’re now hosting a 4.1 mile trail race.

I, and a great list of other bloggers, will run all 4 races, and we’d love to see you out there.

If you’re interested in running, here’s an RW Half discount code, good for all races, to get a few bucks off: blogrockcreekrunner

Let me know if you sign up. I’d love to see you there!

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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4 thoughts on “Final 50k Preparations, a New Free Mini-Course, and a Chance to Run with Me and Runner’s World

  1. This will be my 4th Runner’s World!… I am a BOTPr, so will be towards the back.
    I finally ponied up and bought some trail shoes, but have yet to hit a trail. I am afraid of injury until after I run the NYC marathon… Enjoying learning, and ready to go soon! (My mind keeps toying with trail running and an ultra… just need to get my body and lifestyle on board)
    Best of luck and enjoy your race.
    See you in Oct!

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