[Preface: The date of this post is June 3, 2014. Please pardon Tumblr for not allowing me to back-date—and welcome me back to what my blogging used to be like before Instagram existed. That’s right. Words, sentences, paragraphs—naturally with a few photos for your viewing pleasure].
Pinch me, I’m dreaming…
If you run, race, or have participated in any kind of competitive sport, THIS has inevitably happened to you. And even if not specific to a sport, it still applies to that big event that you’ve been anticipating for years, months, weeks, or even just days, in the case of “spontaneous sweater”-wearers (such as I).
It’s the few-days-before-your-big-event dream where everything goes wrong and it feels so stressful and SO real. You practically awake in a state of panic, (or night-sweat?) with a frantic anxiety that plagues your entire being.
Well, that would be me last night—because my first ever 50K (on trail—emphasis more on terrain than distance) just happens to be this weekend in Washington, D.C. I’m excited, nervous, anxious, passively downplaying it, and having all of these mixed emotions that are mindlessly drifting from my soul—to my soles.
"It’s only five more miles than a marathon, right?” That’s what I keep telling myself.
But that’s just it: it’s five more miles. Five more miles than I’ve ever raced, on an almost entirely trail running course. Talk about something new.
What was I thinking—or rather, was I thinking?
Well, the “what” is easy. I was thinking a few things. Namely these:
So, in answer to my own question, I guess I was thinking. Sort of. But admittedly, I keep overlooking the “I HATE RUNNING ON TRAIL” part. (I’m just a pavement-pounding kinda gal). But I really need to start bringing that whole trail image into focus a bit more, and mindfully hide the layer with the Gaussian blur.
I hardly ever, almost never run on trail; I can count the number of times I’ve “hit the trails” at work on less than one hand. (One of those being today! I’m holding on to the slight hope that it will minimize how blindsided I’ll otherwise be without a few pre-race trail runs on my Kayanos). Oh, and all of said trail runs have been by force, and resulted in some freak twinge in my ankle that I blame entirely on the trail—aka the “it’s so much better for your knees!” surface—even if that freak twinge was caused by a lifeless leaf.
Couple the lack of trail running experience with the fact that I’ve never run an “ultra” distance, and well hey—a little insane right? Maybe crazy, overzealous, ambitious? “Yes, I know,” to all of the above. But I’ve done my research, and if I want to do a 50K, my all-road options are quite limited. I think I found one, and the timing and location would be difficult.
So I thought, why not embrace The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K in D.C. while I’m still in shape from an 18 week marathon training plan? I’ll think of my 42.2K race in Vancouver as a training run, take one full week of rest (post-Van marathon), train for four more [weeks] before the D.C. 50K, and sign up to make it official somewhere in between.
I know myself well enough to know that I’ll be KICKING myself on June 10 if I didn’t register for this. The timing is right, the opportunity is now, and here I am to seize it!!
I’m all set and registered—and most importantly, have the support of my Swink from the start to the finish!!! :)
So, in spite of some arbitrary time goals I’ve set in my head (please let me just sub six hours because I don’t know if I can stand on my feet for much longer), I’m really just trying to have some fun with this event and enjoy it for what it is:
My first 50K.
My first trail race.
And my first (and likely only) ULTRA.
Wish me luck!! And with that, here is my stressful 50K dream from last night. To keep it short and authentic, here is the text message I sent to a few of my friends, nearly verbatim.
It was all just a dream…
Btw. Totally had a dream last night that I only had my CORAL colored socks with me for the race and I hate that color. I would never bring or race in that color sock. Then I went through all of my other pairs and none matched. I wanted my neon orange and couldn’t find those. Then I wanted black and could only find hot pink! I was so stressed! Then I wore those stupid coral socks and my Sperry’s to the race and was late to the start. I had my hiking boots in my bag at the hotel and was wondering—why didn’t I just bring my running sneakers like I had planned all along? I stuck with the Sperry’s because I knew they were comfortable and at least have the arch support I need. Then my dad brought me a lemonade on the course. I had a sip because I thought I needed the sugar and some other guy started drinking it. I thought maybe I should take it with me but the cup was like a Big Gulp cup with just a straw (no lid) so I couldn’t just throw it in my bag. I could barely move my feet when I started the race and then saw all of these people BBQ’ing. And I’m like, huh. These must be the 50 milers. I guess they have time to do this, as I’m dragging myself onward like a deranged sloth at mile 15. It was also this open course that was almost sandy near a beach and grassy. Everyone was being causal about the run…but I was just the stressed girl in the coral socks and Sperry’s, haphazardly spilling lemonade.