Professor Maiese Takes on Ultra Marathon Challenge
October 29, 2010
Many people dream of running a marathon, but for some, 26.2 miles just isn't challenging enough.
On October 9th, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Michelle Maiese ran in the Can Lake 50 marathon in Canandaigua, New York, a 50-mile race that loops around Canandaigua Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in western New York. She ran in support of the Greater Boston Food Bank, raising over $2,300 with the help of several Emmanuel faculty members. She completed the race in 10 hours, 20 minutes.
An avid runner, Maiese said she wanted to see what it would be like to train for such a long distance. Some of the people she spoke to about the ultra marathon were extremely enthusiastic, going as far to say it would be "easier" than running a traditional marathon.
"I'm not sure I agree, though I can understand part of what they mean," said Maiese. "In an ultra marathon, you run much slower. In that sense, it is easier."
Maiese began preparing for the marathon last May. She prepared by doing gradually longer back-to-back runs. At the peak of her training, Maiese would run 30 miles on Saturday and then 24 miles on Sunday.
"Apparently this is the best way to simulate running 50 miles all on one day without killing yourself," she said.
In order to fuel her body and sustain energy for the long distance run, she researched and experimented with foods while training. She used GU energy gels and found that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pretzels were a good combination together. She also tried a new sports drink called "Perpeteum" that has both protein as well as carbohydrates.
Not only did Maiese prepare herself by running and eating right, she got help from Special Instructor of Psychology Paige Curran, her good friend and a strong runner in her own right, who agreed to help pace her for the final 15 miles of the race. Maiese knew that Curran would be great company during the race. It turned out Curran joined Maiese a lot sooner then expected.
"We ran the last 23 miles of the race together. This was the furthest she had ever run, so it was a big day for both of us," said Maiese.
Maiese began running while in high school, where she competed in the 800-meter run. Back then, she did not like running as much and was doing it mostly because a friend convinced her to do it. During college, Maiese started running much more frequently, when she started doing longer distances.
"During the summer before my junior year of college, two of my friends were training for marathons," Maiese said. "I found this inspiring, and soon started signing up for races. Things progressed from there."
Maiese is preparing to run the Boston Marathon this year. She also plans to run another ultra marathon in the future.
"I decided to run an ultra marathon because I have done nine marathons and was looking for a new challenge," she said. "I thought it would be quite an experience, and indeed it was."