I feel like I've been reluctant to talk about training for an ultra because I haven't felt like an actual ultra runner.

I've been tweeting about long runs and such but an actual declaration has yet to come out. I guess I'm still an 'ultra runner in training' although after my 38 miler a few weeks ago, I'm fairly confident that 50 is doable.

The purpose of doing an ultra has always been two fold.

Numero Uno -- to do a 50. I mean really... why not? It's the logical thing to do, especially for someone like me who seems to do well at longer events.

I'm already considering 100 but I'm not sure that's a good idea and let's knock out 50 first and see how I feel.

Numero Dos -- As I alluded to in a previous post, I've always wondered if there would be a benefit to over distance running with regards to Ironman training.

With my Kona slot secured from my performance at Ironman Arizona, I feel like I have a little wiggle room to try something different.

And with that phrase, I'm always reminded of something written on Seth's Blog which I'll paraphrase by saying that trying harder sometimes doesn't work. So sometimes, you have to try different.

At my level, the gains are getting smaller and going in a different direction from what has been successful is somewhat scary. In all honesty, I like going to Kona and I want to keep going. What I've been doing hasn't failed me yet but I can see the end.

Triathlon is getting more popular and the field is getting stronger. If you don't see it, take this as a warning, it's happening. Couple that with an increase in races and a decrease in slots and it's only a matter of time before my squeaking by comes to an end.

So I'm trying something different. If it fails, I have my slot, all is not lost and I still get my October vacation on the Big Island.

Somehow I've already managed to get to October, it's only April and I have yet to spell out my ultra plans.

Rewind.

After fattening up in December, I started thinking about training again.

I sat in front of my computer and I began plotting my idea of what my training should look like for a 50 miler.

I basically took what I would do for a standard marathon progression and beefed it up. And then as I sat there looking at how big the long runs were getting, I realized I was already behind. In other words, I screwed up already. :(

In hindsight, I would have ramped up a little slower but only because in the back of my mind, I'm always concerned about getting hurt.

Fortunately, it worked out, I didn't get hurt and in fact, I'm feeling more durable than I've ever been.

Not to get too bogged down in the details of the plan, I started my long runs at 18 and began increasing it each week. I was initially thinking I would add two miles per week but it ended up more than that mostly because I was enjoying the big numbers.

I know, its' silly, but I'm easily entertained.

My body has handled the long runs well but my need for sleep increased tremendously. Under normal conditions (whatever that means for someone who's typically training 15-20 hours per week), I'm getting 7 hours of sleep.

Ultra Vince has been seeing a minimum of 8-10 hours and I'm pretty much sleeping through the alarm clock on a daily basis. But I'm fairly certain the consequences for not recovering properly would be devastating.

A couple of interesting twists along the way --

#1 -- I expected my run volume to be much more than what I'm doing. I also expected to be doubling up on days but neither seems to be required.

#2 -- I expected to be able to ramp up my Ironman training in parallel which has proven to be false.

In the second instance, most recently, I feel like I've been more successful but maybe because I've come up for air from my Sunday LSD. I don't know for sure but I have one more long run on the schedule for this weekend so I'm curious to see if my streak lasts.

Bottom line with the training itself, I knew it was a living entity that would change and my overall goal was to determine if I could handle the distance and if so, determine my "all day" pace.

When I started hitting the high 20's on my long runs, I was confident I had found my all day pace. The subsequent runs just reinforced what I already knew.  Beyond that, I started to change gear in and out to see what I liked best for a long day on my feet.

After a few changes with bottles and such, I determined that my old mountain biking Camelbak worked well for hydration. It has a small pocket which can hold food but with the longer runs, I had to hit the convenience store to buy some Kettle Chips (F'ing LOVE Sea Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips on my long runs!!) to supplement.

Even then, I still had a hard time carrying enough food until I discovered the FlipBelt (http://www.flipbelt.com/) . I found this thing at the local sporting good store and it seemed a bit girly to me but it works great. With a combination of the Camelbak loaded with water and some calories (in the water), pockets filled with gels and the FlipBelt thingie filled with gels, I have enough to get through the longest of long runs.

I'm still stopping for Kettle Chips though. It's the small vices. :)

Funny story -- the other day while on the return of my long run, I had plotted my course for the convenience store to get my chips (300 calories per bag, the perfect snack and loaded with sodium!!).

I run into the store, I start looking around and it's the only convenience store in the world without chips. Seriously? WTH! Dude looks at me and asks if he can help.

Me: "Do you have Kettle Chips?"
Dude: "No"
Me: "Have a nice day"

Fortunately, the next convenience store was not far and they had my "precious".

Other than that, not really much else to report other than I'm really enjoying the running. Running has always been a first love and making it the focal point of my training has reminded me of why I love it so much.

For the first time since 2008, I've actually thought about putting Ironman on the back burner but some recent talk about my plans for Ironman Coeur d'Alene have since squelched those thoughts. One day, maybe.

Anyway, time to sign off because I need a nap! ;)