It was Monday morning when I started the timer for my first 50K race at http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown. Just 5 days before the monster distance footrace challenge before me, and I wanted to share my thoughts and contemplate the 50K race experience during the intermediate of all the training I put into preparing and the actual event that takes place on March 16, 2013.
My intent is to follow-up the event with a post race blog that will allow a comparison of the before and after this undertaking. Quite frankly, I don’t want to forget the feeling of apprehension that I feel just before taking on a really big challenge. In this day, there’s few better ways than to etch your words into the stone of a free blog page on the Web.
I don’t think an hour passes without my mind going to the 8:00 am start time on Saturday’s event. I am glad that I prepared with all the trail runs on the course, including the Saturday a week before the race where I went and started my training run from the start line area. But, the apprehension creeps in and takes over my thoughts because I don’t know what the area will be like with all the participants crowding together facing towards the course ahead of us.
I imagine that most endurance runners shared my moments when they doubt themselves. I think that self-doubt is normal. Future opportunities in life just naturally raise questions that we don’t have answers, which is fertile for self-doubt. But, what I found is that if I start over with those questions from the beginning, I can give myself a positive pep talk. This allows you to adequately address the questions with the confidence of answering them with the training that you’ve put into preparing for the challenges.
The haunting question, “How will you manage the slippery slope of hydration?” I don’t want to hydrate too-little too-late.” I’ve trained over 150 miles using my CamelBak. If you sip this down starting early and don’t get behind, you’ll be fine. My plan is that I will incorporate the hydration opportunities provided along the course at the Aid Stations, since I can’t carry enough fluid for the full 50K distance or timeframe.
What about the unforgiving issue, “How to avoid the too fast too early?” I don’t want to get to 24-26 miles and realize that I’m going to “tank.” My plan is to use the interval running at approximately an 11:15/ mile pace for the Interurban trail (6.5 mi at the start & 7.0 mi at the end.) I spent several training runs honing this interval run to ensure that I don’t let the pace drop too low and at the same time be able to incorporate a very generous rest cycle in my running to avoid over exertion in the race. Mantra: “Stay with the plan!”
How will you dress for the weather conditions? Layers, layers, layers. I’ve got enough Tech mesh Running shirts that I acquired from Goodwill that I could even shed layers on the run as I pass aid stations without a care of ever seeing those shirts again.
Of all these questions and concerns that could overwhelm and raise self-doubt, the one that interests me the most is, “Will you have fun running 31.5 miles?” TSSSHA! Yea. Smiling and doing antics for the course Cameraman. Smiling and taking in the highpoint vistas from Chuckanut Mountain! Smiling as I tell myself over and over during the run: “This is what you do! 50K” I guess this is a great way to end this post, “Chuckanut Mountain, Bring it!”