Friday, April 18, 2008

The Day Before the Insanity Plea

So tomorrow I'm running a 50 mile race. Yes, 50 miles! That's roughly the distance from Sandy to Ogden. It's kind of terrifying to think that I will be on my feet for the same amount of time I will be at work today, only I don't get paid for it.

I have been running basically non-stop since January, running more than 70 miles some weeks.
My regular training week looks something like this:

Sunday: Rest
Monday: 9 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 9 miles
Thursday: 20 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 25-30 miles

Toward the end of my training, I got really tired all the time. I could never sleep enough to recuperate from the running. I would wake up, run, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. Needless to say, the house has been cleaner than during the last few months.

The running has been going pretty well though. I can now run 25 miles at an 8-minute/mile pace and not be sore the next day (hopefully this will mean good things for my Palos Verdes Marathon next month!). In fact, it kind of worried me that I didn't get sore anymore. I mean, I did just run 25 miles, didn't I? I guess we'll see how that turns out tomorrow.

Not only have I been running ridiculous amounts of mileage, but I have also consumed massive quantities of "Ultra Marathon Power Fluid", known to mere mortals as water. I have never had more water than these last few weeks. In fact, I carry around a milk jug full of water, and fill it up a few times a day. I just hope that it will help hydrate me properly for the big day.

Truth be told, I have never been more scared in my life. At 23, I am the youngest runner entered in the race, perhaps the only one under 30. I just figured I would never have the time or energy to do an ultra before we have kids. What also terrifies me, is that I have never run for more than 30 miles at one time, and am not sure quite what to expect in the actual race. I've run what most trainers suggest as a good build-up, but I don't know how that will affect when I am actually running. I have a tendency to run too fast in the beginning (I love a good 7-8 minute-mile), but if I can keep it to 9-minute pace, I have a good chance of finishing in the top 3. I think I am going to try for a 4 hour marathon, and pick up the pace if I still feel good 20 miles later.

When I think of this race, I can't help but think of the book Stone Fox. That was the book about the boy who raced a dogsled team and his lead dog dies about 100 feet from the finish.

The idea behind running so slowly is the difference between finishing like Searchlight (the dog in the book) and finishing like this guy:
Either way, I will be glad as long as I can somehow make it over the finish line and officially call myself an ultramarathoner---even if it means I never want to run again (like that would ever happen).
So it's bedtime tonight at 7:30 to be ready for an 8-9 hour race with those other people who escaped from the local mental institutions. "Running is a mental sport...and we're all insane!" At least I already know I'm crazy.

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