Well ladies and gentlemen, in a week, on April 12th to be exact, I will be out in the woods, along a bank of the Bull Run River in Manasses, VA ready to cross the start line of my first ultra marathon; the Bull Run Run 50 Miler. It's been a while since I made up my mind to cross over to the super exciting side of running and ever since then I have been getting more and more eager for the day to come (at this point I can't honestly tell the difference between sheer fear and excitement...so...I'll say woo hoo! bring it on!).
Physically I'm pretty sure I'm ready to go. I've run 5 marathons in 6 months and have felt stronger at each one, telling me my legs are really beginning to adapt to this concept of running for extended periods of time. My cardio is up, I can go forever, especially when it's at a nice easy clip and I stay steady. Mentally, I'm almost at 100%. I will say that the reactions I get from a lot of my friends hasn't really helped: a lot of them just say that I'm crazy and should rethink what I'm getting myself into. Well, as some of you will know, my response to that is to laugh and say thanks for their concern and worry, but I'm ready, and I highly doubt anything too bad will happen to me, and if it does, I am prepared to take responsibility for it/them. BUT, in my head I'm really saying "shut up! A great way to support a friend is to acknowledge that he is relatively smart and has prepared well enough for the thing he is attempting and if you want to say anything in response try "good luck", "man, that's great", or, "go get 'em tiger" or something like that".
Ahem...well, now that I got that off my chest I can move on to talking a little more seriously about what this next week will entail for me. I will be taking it very low key, sleeping a lot, sitting around a lot, eating a decent amount. My nutrition plan will be to limit my carbohydrate intake through Tuesday and then begin my carbo loading through race day on Saturday. I will be studying the course a bit, mostly to figure out where the aid stations are and where I can time and place some of my crew (if I actually can get a crew together). You see, there will be an aid station every 5ish miles, but crew is only allowed to be at a select few of them. While I can refill my water bottles and get some light food and such at the aid stations, the crew will be carrying extra socks, shirts, towels, shoes and so on that I am hoping I'll not need, but assuming I will. So, I need to figure out a general time when I'll be hitting each aid station so that I can be sure a crew member will be there to help me out. The other big thing to mention here is the moral support they supply. I imagine around mile 30 I'll be needing a few major pick-me-ups, and that will really be the main job of the crew; as well as jog with me here and there for the last 20 miles or so.
All this is where I feel a bit under prepared. I really don't know what to expect out there. I have read tons on ultra running, I have read up on the course and taken everything I can from it. I have continuously fought with my conflicted mentalities of just getting out there and running the damn thing, and, being super prepared and comfortable with every tree and rock along the way. As I think about it, I'm pretty sure I am more than prepared and I really have nothing to worry about. But, when you're sitting around with a week to go before embarking on an event greater than anything you've ever imagined yourself doing...well...you tend to over think a thing or two.
But I am ready. I'm ready for the pain. I'm ready for the bumps and bruises and falls and cuts. I'm ready for the water fills and the food. I'm...not quite ready for the bathroom situation while running through the woods for ten hours... I'm ready to push myself farther than I've ever gone before. I'm ready for the unknown, the excitement and surprise of it all. I'm ready to humbly challenge myself to go beyond, to keep going, to not stop when everything I've learned is to collapse and give in. I'm ready to completely change my life in one day.
This is SO exciting!
P.S. Pictures will be added on Monday when I return to my computer (I am up at my mom's place for the weekend)