Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Great Expectations

It is now under a week until the start of the North Face Endurance Challenge. In less than 4 days I'll be venturing out into Golden Gate National Recreation area for a short 50 mile jaunt in the woods. Cue: freakout.

Yes, I know I wrote a month ago how eerily calm I was. I also wrote that I would have the pre-race freakout and here it is.

Carissa (my pacer), me, and Denas just Denas prepping for the race!
A large part of freaking out, at least for me, is knowing that there really is nothing else you can do to
prepare for the race except get sleep and avoid injury. Looking at my checklist as long as I pack my running shoes I can stumble into California and figure it out until my foot crosses the finish line. Have more inspiring words ever been written?

My biggest goal for this race is to finish. Coupled with finishing is finishing healthy. I want to prove to myself that I can manage my body and nutrition for 50 miles and live to tell about it. The less time I spend huddled in the fetal position in my bed fighting off fever dreams post race the better. Here's how I'm going to do it:

Eat Smart

I have a huge bag full of Raw Revolution bars. But I know I cannot depend on one item to get me through the race so I am also bringing honey stinger waffles, other energy bars (TBD what is on sale at whole foods), electrolyte chews, various types of gels, sour patch kids, peanut butter cups, salmon jerky, nut thins. I am probably going to stash a tuna packet in my drop bags as well as pickles (duh). I'll also have nuun for my water bottle.

Drink Smart

I have forgone beer since Saturday night and plan to until Friday night. You're not supposed to mess with tradition and I always drink a beer the night before races and this one is no different. Thanks to Kircher, the accidental pedestrian, for instilling this important pre-race strategy in my head oh so long ago. Perhaps most importantly will be drinking smart after the race. Yes I will also drink a beer after the race, but what really killed me last time was failing to hydrate the next 24 hours post race. I am going to make sure I am not just drinking water, but drinking plenty of electrolytes.

The big test will be the Saturday after the race. Jill "drilltime" Fairchild and I are going to run a 5k. Yes, a week after running 50 miles I am going to run a 5k. Seriously though you guys, the shirts they give out for this 5k are so soft and comfortable it's worth it.

Despite what it sounds like, I am still hella nervous for this race. Last Saturday I was skinning up a mountain to ski it and all I could think was: next Saturday I'll be running on dirt in shorts for 50 miles. Mentally my brain is having a really hard time understanding that this race is happening. There's snow on the ground, the trails are covered, it's ski season not running season.

While my primary goal is to finish and finish healthy I do have some other goals for the race. I would like to finish in 13 hours. My last 50 miler took me 13 hours and 41 minutes (ish, I might have been 47 I don't recall). I think I can run it in 13. I'll have the aid of altitude and a kick ass pacing crew to get me there. Running smart will be key, unlike Colorado these trails will be very tempting to run the hell out of right off the bat so starting out at a smart pace will only help me in the long run. I remember Liz's only advice before my first 50; "don't be an asshole on the first hill". Wise words indeed.

As a final note regarding goals and hopes for this race the phrase "Great Expectations" comes to mind. So often we have expectations. Expectations that people will do a certain thing or react a certain way. Expectations that a race will go a certain way. We cannot force a race to be exactly what we want it to be the same way we can't force people to be what we want them to be. You can train, prepare, follow a plan, but in the end you just have to let it happen and take each step as it comes. I read recently; "we cannot remake the world to suit us". I cannot make a race be a certain thing I just have to take what I've done the past 6-7 months and go. Come 5am December 5th I'll be on my way.

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