As of tomorrow it will be exactly a week until I embark on my first ultramarathon – the Squamish 50K.
I know I haven’t been updating this blog very much; the training basically consumes all of my spare time and when I do think of an idea for a post, the thought of having to sit down and type it out after running for 4+ hours is just exhausting.
So, yes: I am making excuses for not posting as much. But I am not making excuses for my preparation or training.
Overall, I feel good. The last few weeks I’ve been averaging, per week, around 50K of running in total, which is a little lower than what I was hoping to be averaging at this point, but that said, I have been mostly running ascents and descents. So there’s been very little flat running in the last three weeks.
Today, the awesome support buddy/trainer extraordinaire Nick took me to Mount Doug and strapped a 20-lb weight vest to me as a last minute effort to get me ready for next weekend. I’m not going to lie, it sucked. But honestly, I think the weight vest is a great training tool and I am looking into getting one for future races.
I’ll do one last longish run tomorrow with the weight vest and then that will be pretty much it. I’ll do a small 5K run in the middle of this week to keep my legs moving, but the rest of the week will consist of relaxing, hydrating, sleeping, and preparing. And maybe I’ll write a few more posts too.
I’ll get into the details of my prep in a post this week (I’ll talk about what will be in my drop bag, how I plan to manage the course, etc), but I’m too tired to do it right now.
Instead, I’ll share what does worry me: the heat and injury. Ultimately, those two factors are the only thing that could see me end up with a DNF (Did Not Finish). I had a bit of a scary night on Monday when after a five-hour run my body felt like it was on fire. It took me almost two days to feel like myself again, so I am really hoping temperatures stay in the 20’s. At the moment, the forecast looks promising.
Obviously, a catastrophic injury would be devastating too, but I think I have been training pretty smart, so barring no freak accidents or severe dehydration I think I’m going to be ok. I think I have a touch of plantar fasciitis in my left foot, but it’s not unbearable; it only really hurts when I step on sharp roots and rocks.
Mentally I’m in a good spot. I’m hoping to be in a great spot by Friday and awesome place on Friday. I’ve had some doubts the past week, the typical: did I train enough? Why the hell am I doing this? What about bears and cougars? But after my kick-ass session with Nick today I’m back to feeling really good and confident. In reality, I am mentally breaking up the race into five 10K’s with the aid stations being the checkpoints. My plan is to think of nothing but getting to the next aid station. I am planning on being on the course for around 10 hours. The cut off time is 11.5 hours, so if all goes well I should be crossing the finish line sometime around 4pm “ish”.
I won’t be Instagramming or doing any live updates during the race – maybe I’ll do a quick Insta post before it starts, but my focus will be on getting to the end in one piece.
Nick asked me a really good question today, it was something along the lines of: “What positive mantras have you been practicing or thinking about?” I’m not going to lie – it caught me off guard a little. I’m not really one for positive visualization. I like to be relaxed and present when racing. That said, I do use music to get me amped.
I had written a draft piece for this blog titled “Why I run” but I deleted it. It was cliche and I felt like I was really trying to romanticize this whole endeavor. In reality, I just want to embrace the journey and struggle the race dictates and hopefully learn something about myself.
One of the reasons I signed up for this race was to get into better shape, but also I wanted to find out more about myself. I really do believe that we find out more about ourselves the more we push ourselves physically and mentally. One thing that excited me about doing an ultra was having the opportunity to dismantle myself. I’m hoping this race does that and maybe I’ll have a few moments of reflection or clarity. Or maybe I’ll just be present and enjoy the entire adventure.
Regardless, I don’t plan on quitting or stopping until I cross the finish line.