It’s 3:35am and I have 31 miles to go before I can sleep.
(I know that is some sort of line derived from some piece of literature but I have no idea what the ACTUAL line is nor do I know what piece of literature it’s from. I tell you this because, after I typed it I feared you would get the wrong impression of me. Like I’m some sort of literary intellectual. I am not. Just to clarify.)
I have a 50K today!
I’ve been doing my 20-30 mile weekends for 2-3 solid months now, so my long-run base is there and fine. HOWEVER – I’ve not been doing my mid-week runs very diligently. There are a lot of VERY good reasons for this that involve work and life and soccer and house-selling. But none of that matters, I just didn’t do them as regularly as I should have.
Also – I’ve been getting lower back pain again this year when I do long runs. I really need to start doing some core exercises or something. You’re not supposed to take NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen) for a lot of really interesting reasons (I won’t bore you with them right now, but basically you need inflammation when endurance training and they prevent it) so I just kinda need to suck it up and really try to focus on a good upright posture and not slouch too much while I run.
But basically, I need to be ready to mentally tough it out.
This race is always the hardest on me mentally because there’s some lonely stretches of boring trail. First – you do the same figure-8 course three times, so it is repetitive. But that doesn’t bother me too much, in theory. It’s the long stretches of “boring” that get to me. One one of those loops of the “8” there’s a 2.5 mile stretch of trail that is basically the same zig-zag through the woods. And you can SEE other people ahead of you both on that zig-zag trail AND on the loop that goes AROUND the trail. And while sometimes seeing people near you is nice, seeing people AHEAD of you repeatedly can make you insane.
So – this is always my hardest mental race. And I have more physical hurdles to cross than usual.
ALSO! This is the first of a stretch of races the locals here call a “Grand Slam”. 3 50Ks and 1 marathon. First race is today, last one is January 25th. If we make it? We can a fancy jacket. If we don’t? We hate ourselves until we can try again next year. I’ve done 3 of the 4 for the last two years, so you’d think I wouldn’t be nervous. But I am. It’s just a daunting challenge I’ve considered every year and not attempted because the last race is so intimidating. To finally give it a try this year? EEK. NERVOUS.
So. 31 miles. I think I’m going to break up the monotony by trying to take a lot of pictures to post from the trails. Also, it’s going to be COLD and Nikki is going to be hanging out at the checkpoint (We come back to the same pavilion 7 times) so I’ll be worried about her freezing, so I might have extra motivation than usual.
Wish me luck! I have peanut butter and jelly flatbreads (not together on the same bread, some are PB, some are preserves) cut up into 50-100 calorie bites. I have applesauce packets. I have bottles mixed with the right proportion of G2 and water that I like. I have hand warmers (my hands are the only part that seem to sometimes get so cold I can’t warm them) and a million layers of clothes for after the race. Donnie’s racing too even though he hasn’t touched a trail since last Spring. He’s 50% insane and 50% badass.