4 days 6 hours and 30 minutes until the race. I can't sleep. I've saved the details until this final week of preparations and now I'm worried. I'm also very excited BUT....
What does it take to train for a 50 mile race you may wonder. Lots of people ask me how many miles per week I run, what my longest training run has been, how I've prepared for the terrain and altitude. Every time I answer these questions I find myself a little nervous. I don't really know what I'm doing. I've never done any thing like this before and I've found that there is little detailed information on how to train for ultras. Well, that's not entirely true. There are lots of personal accounts of training but because each race is it's own event (unlike the standard road marathon) the training required would be very different for me living in flat lands training for a 50 mile mountain race then it would be for a Vail runner training for Badwater (super hot, dry 135 miler). So I've had to try to decide for myself what my training should require.
I needed to learn to climb. So I found Mount Hoy (Trashmore) and ran up and down 4-5 times twice a week. To put this route on a grander scale it would be like an elevation gain of 400-500' per mile. Come to find out the race will require me to scale 1,000' per mile miles on end. I'm not yet sure that I can do this. I did run on snow lots this winter and there is a good chance I'll encounter some snow along the course. It's been a couple months now but I should be okay in this respect. My trail shoes are fresh and comfortable. I have a couple pairs of back-up shoes though because my feet are worn out from the past 7 month of abuse. And as for endurance and distances, I ran the marathon distance two weekends in a row. The second weekend I participated at the Rockford Marathon instead of running my usual training trails. This race was suppose to be a confidence booster and it was in some regards. I proved to be better trained than for any of my previous marathon performances however my body had it's issues. I started out too fast even though I felt great. My digestion got all messed up and I had chills for more than half the race despite warm weather. I could have finished 13 minutes faster had I not had to stop for all the port-a-johns along the way. I wish I knew the cause of this ailment. Now I'm worried about what will happen along a 50 mile trail course if my body responds the same way.
There are so many variables when it comes to racing and the longer the race the more potential variables. I have prepared as well as I was able to and wanted to. I have been looking forward to this race since Dec. 1st when I mailed in my application. Now I'm left waiting for the clock to count down the final days and put up the best I have to give when the time comes. It would be nice if everything came together perfectly. If I have full energy, the weather is right, my brother can come and pace through the tough part, my dad can push me through the finish, and I can enjoy the feeling of giving it my all.
I leave for Utah on Wednesday after work. I expect to arrive in Denver by Thursday morning then complete the drive by Friday morning to Provo, UT. This won't leave enough time to acclimate but maybe I'll not suffer too badly. The race is from 5,000-9,000', only 3,000' above what I'm accustomed to. Updates from the race will be posted to my facebook wall. Please send encouraging words. I'm a bit stressed at this point.