I have spent many restless nights pondering over what my next adventure would be after the Boston Marathon. For a while, I was considering trying out for American Ninja Warrior. If nothing else, I wanted to work on my upper body strength and have an excuse for running, jumping, climbing over any obstacle in my way. ANW is still a possibility for the future, but I have a new mission.

A 50 Mile Run.

I’m going ultra.

How hard can it be? It’s just like turning a regular marathon into an out-and-back, as my friend Anthony Sanders would say. Yeah, sounds like … fun …

What have I gotten myself into?

I registered for the JFK 50 Miler. The location is roughly an hour from my house, so the logistics of travel are not an issue. I have friends that have run it and will be running it this year, so I won’t be alone out there. The weather should be cool, since it is in November. But, still, 50 miles is a bit daunting, to say the least.

The JFK50 starts in Boonsboro, Maryland. There is a 2.5 mile stretch of road until you hit the Appalachian Trail. The next 16 miles are on the AT and cover some steep, rocky inclines and declines. It then joins up with the C&O Canal towpath. The Canal section is flat and unpaved. It lasts 26.3 miles before you hit the final 8.4 miles of paved country roads that take you to Williamsport, Maryland for the finish.

This race is more endurance than speed. So it is a whole new challenge for me. I have confidence that with some advice from my ultra runner friends and the tutelage of Coach Kyle, I will be poised to conquer a new distance, and add a new title to my running resume as an Ultra Marathoner.

In the meantime, while I put my Ninja Warrior aspirations on hold, don’t forget to check out this year’s American Ninja Warrior city qualifiers. This coming Monday (June 8) is the Dallas qualifier. Friend of the Running Dad blog, Mike Steele, may make an appearance on the show. Here is an interview I did with him last year. Let’s root for him to make it through to the next round.