August 07, 2010

Day before 50-mile ultra

It's a little past 7am and I have been up for at least half an hour. Tomorrow I am starting the 50-mile STORMY trail run at 6am, which means it will be a short(er) night with my alarm likely set for 4am. With the race starting a 5-minute drive from our house, and a field of 75 runners at the start line and no need to warm up for an 80km race, there is simply no need to get up any earlier.

Twenty-two runners are registered to begin the 100-mile STORMY - they are running two 50-mile laps and they start today at 10am. I am planning to go the start and cheer the four women and 18 men as they begin the adventure which they need to complete within 32 hours. I deeply admire anyone's courage to start an 160km non-stop journey on foot.

The sky is overcast and it is 15 degrees Celsius. The forecast calls for light rain. July was an extremely dry month in Squamish, which means the trails are dry and dusty.

Today I need to finalize the preparations for my race, packing all my nutrition and hydration, and other extra gear. Besides going to the start of the 100-miler, I will need to pick up my race package between 4pm and 9pm today. And with Tim already out on a 6-hour bike ride I will also take Luka for a 45-minute, or so, walk. I will have a final look at the maps of the course.

Other than that, I plan to put my feet up and enjoy the pre-race excitement. I am really looking forward to the event, as it is something new. In a marathon I am focused on my watch, taking splits nearly every km in the first 30 to 35km of the race to monitor my pace. With 12 marathons under my belt, I know my pace very well. As it is my first 50 miles, and a trail run which I have little race experience with, I am not sure what to expect in terms of pacing tomorrow.

The 56 of us that are registered to run the 50-mile race have 12 hours to do so. My key focus is to finish within that time. Icing on the cake would be to finish closer to 10 hours. My general fitness is there. But you never know what your body does. Sticking to conventional ultra wisdom, I will walk the uphills because it conserves energy and your speed isn't that different.

I think that the biggest challenge will be to begin the race slow enough, as my rested body and competitive mind may be tempted to go too fast - particularly since I don't know my 80km pace. My plan is to start near or at the back to make sure I begin slow enough.

Overall, my mind is optimistic - I cannot wait to explore this new aspect of running - and my body feels good. I am ready.

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