I'm heading into "Ultra Season," starting this weekend with the first of three planned ultras in the next three months, including a 50K, a 50-miler and a 100K. *gulp* Okay, I guess my goals are pretty ultra-sized, after all.
This Saturday is the Jed Smith Ultra Classic and I'm running the 50K. I ran this exact race last year, and since I came across the Finish Line looking like this:
I totally wish I had blogged about the race, though, because honestly, my memory of that day is that it sucked. It was soooooooo much harder than I had anticipated. You know how you go into your first 50K thinking, "Oh, it's just five more miles than a marathon, how hard can it be?" and then it's a bajillion times harder than a marathon? Yes.
I remember being underfueled and utterly miserable on the final loop (the course is SUPER spectator-friendly: six times around a nearly 5-mile loop, plus a little out-and-back at the start to get to the proper distance). Yet, my finishing pace was a currently-unimaginable 10:05. How the F did I run that fast only a year ago? I have no idea.
Under my current training regime of "Run Slow to Run Slower," it's safe to say that this year is not going to be a PR effort, and I am surprisingly okay with that. Here are my (mostly realistic) goals for Saturday:
- Don't drown. This always makes the list, particularly for races that are within, say, 20 miles of a body of water. The Jed Smith crosses over the American River a whopping 12 times, so...yeah. Don't drown.
- Fuel and hydrate properly! I don't think I need to clarify this, but I will. I suck at drinking enough during races, so this year I'm employing my trusty GymBoss to remind me to eat and drink consistently.
- Finish strong. I think this is the goal I am most interested in meeting. Last year's final loop felt like such a death march, so I'd really like to not feel that way this year. Of course, that will depend on meeting both of the above goals.
- Finish under 6 hours, or - if I'm having an amazing day - under 5:30. Last year's time was 5:15, which isn't going to happen again in this lifetime, but I really think I can eke out a sub-six. And if I've met all of the goals above, a five-and-a-half finish shouldn't be too far out of reach. We'll see.
I feel certain that he'll come up behind me and leave me in his dust at SOME point, but I don't think he will actually lap me. I hope.