Way Down We Go…

So, it’s finally here. Tomorrow morning at 6:15am I’ll embark on my first ultramarathon. It’s exciting. I’m nervous. But I hope it’ll be an adventure and my plan is to have fun, manage the clock and treat every aid stations as a mini-race. Five 10K races – and focusing on one at a time.

I arrived in Squamish today around 1:30pm. By the time I got into my place, unloaded all my gear and made my way to the finish line it was close to 2:30. Some of the 50-miler racers had already made it in. I got super excited when I saw that Courtney Dauwalter, a huge inspiration of mine, was competing in the 50-miler. It seems like she finished 6th overall and beat last year’s course record by fifteen minutes! Oh and Gary Robbins was there, of course, and I really can’t wait to give him a high-five (maybe a hug?) at the finish line tomorrow!

The weather is actually cooler than I was expecting. It’s breezy and temperatures and hovering around the mid-20’s. It’s smokey, but it seems like most of the smoke is surrounding Squamish rather than consuming it (if that makes sense). So, apparently, air quality is supposed to be good for tomorrow. In reality, it sounds like it could be a really great day for a run! I’ve prepped for the heat (sunscreen, water, salt, light clothes), so I think I should be good.

It’s been a busy few weeks (life stuff – new job, change coming, all positive, but busy!). To be honest I didn’t even really start getting my head into race prep until Thursday night. But I am pretty much set now. I’ll spend the night checking and re-checking my drop bag, getting my running vest ready, and trying to relax. I’ll then prepare my pre-race meal of frozen pizza and a Fat Tug beer. It’s tradition and it seems to work. The plan is to try and get 3-4 hours sleep (I never sleep well before I race, but I have been sleeping well all week) and get up really early (1:30-2pm). I need time to eat, relax and re-check everything before catching the shuttle to the start line just before 5am.

Once the race starts it’s all about time management and having fun. When I say time management, I mean beating the cut off times. The aid stations are roughly at KMs 8, 18, 23 (Quest University half-way point), 32, and 40. So my strategy is to spend as little time as possible at the first two (just make sure I am good on water and supplies), get some real food in me at the halfway point and then hopefully spend as much time as I need at the last two aid stations. I am hoping to surprise myself in terms of time, so let’s hope for the best!

It’s funny, last Saturday my trainer, Nick, asked me what my mantra was going into this race. I didn’t really have an answer. Honestly, I thrive under adversity and struggle, and honestly, life is so good right now that I’m going into this race with a really clear head. I think I got most of the demons out in training – so maybe that’s a good thing?

A few times I started some post on why I’m running and the romanticism and existential thoughts on why I’m doing this. But honestly, it all sounded like crap. I’m doing this for me. I’m doing it for a lot of different reasons – none which really need to be shared. My sister sent me a really nice text tonight (a lot of people did) basically saying that we’ve all been through our own shit and it’s nice to see someone to commit to something so challenging.

I think that sums it up: challenge. To me, life isn’t really worth living unless you’re willing to push yourself, hurt yourself, analyze yourself, and grow. Life’s about putting yourself out there to new experiences and opening yourself to the chance of failure.

I live my life in extremes. I have a hard time with moderation (those who know me will attest to that), so this race really isn’t out of character. In fact, it’s right up my alley – and it’s been a healthier addiction than chugging craft beer on a Friday night (not that I stopped doing that, I just do it less now and don’t feel guilty about it! Win-win!).

Tomorrow I plan to have fun and enjoy the moment and the picturesque place that is Squamish. I’ll do a race break down, but probably not for a while. My plan is to relax and enjoy myself for a few days after this, so check my Instagram or other social media for any sort of update.

I imagine given how tired and beat up I’ll be, I will not feel like writing much for a while. Plus, it’ll be time for several well-earned beers.

So I’m off to make pizza and drink a beer. Catch ya’ll later.

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