50 miles is a long way

I’m ready to get sweaty! The forecast for Saturday says 80° and sunny!

I suppose it’s time for my pre-race ramble. Yup, this time I’m going to [attempt to] run 50 miles! This Saturday! That’s like, what? Four days away? Yikes. I keep going back and forth between feeling excited, nervous, confident, not-so-confident, nervous, then always back to excited. I mean, even if I DNF (this ultrarunning term means “did not finish”) for some reason, I think I’ll feel glad that I got to give it a shot and play in the woods for a few hours.

A few hours. I’ve got 15 of them to finish. (That’s a long time to be running!) The terrain looks kind of technical, meaning there’s some roots and rocks I’ll be hopping over (which I enjoy – except when I trip on them), and it looks like there will be a few pretty tough climbs. But I hear the views of Lake Superior are pretty spectacular from up there. I’m really, really looking forward to the scenery!

The race I’m participating in this time is called the Marquette Trail 50 and takes place in Marquette, Michigan, which is located in the Upper Peninsula of the state and is situated along the Lake Superior shoreline. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the past backpacking the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Trail near there, but that trail is really quite flat overall. In fact, I did a 50-mile training run up there once back in 2016 when I was training for the Frozen Otter.

2016 – after running a self-supported 50-mile training run on the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Trail. And yupper! I’m crying in this pic. Because I’m so happy to be DONE!

But yeah, anyway, it’s pretty flat. The trail I’ll be racing on on Saturday does NOT look flat. I mean, at all.

Elevation profile for the Marquette Trail 50.

At this very moment, as I write this (and this opinion might change by the time I’m done writing), I really think I can do this. My training has not been great this past month, but coming off of a successful and fun 50k race on July 14, I didn’t really want to push my training super hard, anyway. But I did skip my ONE planned long run of 20 miles because the only day I had an opportunity to run it also happened to land on a day that I REALLY needed to just take off and do nothing. And that’s just what I did that day. Nothing. And I don’t regret that. It was fantastic. I only wish I’d had one more week in between these two races so I could’ve gotten in that longer run, but I am where I am. And I’ll be okay. I keep telling myself that one missed run isn’t going to make or break me on race day.

In addition to missing my big run, I even went through a bout where I didn’t want to run. At all. That felt strange to me, but I just took it easy and tried to tell myself that it was something my body was asking for. Or I was just making an excuse to be lazy. I don’t know. But either way, my last 3 runs (10 miles, 4 miles and 4 miles respectively) all felt pretty good, so at least I’m going in feeling like I can still actually run – at least a little bit.

I still don’t know if I’ll wear my race vest or not, but I’m leaning towards wearing it because the new handheld bottles I planned to use came in a little too late and I know I shouldn’t use something new on race day. I mean, it’s just a stupid bottle, but what if at mile 5 it starts to make my hand go numb, or it leaks, or it’s too heavy, or I just hate it? I’ve done a few runs in my hydration vest, and while I prefer running without one, and I could easily get by without it due to there being aid stations every 4-6 miles, I know it’s comfortable. So I’ll probably just wear the darn thing.

There’s so many things like this that I go back and forth with in my head almost constantly. I also still don’t know which sandals to wear. This sounds crazy. But I had a sandal snafu since my last race. The sandals I wore for my 50k were looking a little thin, so I purchased a new pair, just like them only with a bit of a more rugged sole for more traction on mud (and snow come winter time). My first 6-mile run on them felt great. Then I jumped to a 12-mile run and they chewed up my feet in a really fierce way. I guess they needed some break-in time. The resulting rub spots took 2 weeks to heal enough to be able to wear sandals again. On a whim I purchased a different brand of sandal, and I’ve since worn them around casually and ran about a total of 8 miles in them, and I love them. I MIGHT start the race in them. That’s crazy. Didn’t I JUST say I shouldn’t try something new on race day? I mean, especially a SHOE choice!? Dumb. So, so dumb. But I might do it anyway. Yeah. Stay tuned for that!

Foot woes. Need more break-in time on these new sandals, so they sadly won’t be used on Saturday. My old Bedrocks and new Lunas with both probably make an appearance, though.

One more thing – I suppose I should throw out a few goals for myself. As always, #1 is to be an official 50-mile finisher in under the cutoff time of 15 hours. So, #2? I’d like to try to run a mostly steady-pace race, meaning my splits (how long it takes to run each mile) aren’t too different from one another for all 50 miles. I hope that I don’t go out too fast and end up having to walk most of the last 20 miles. And #3 – a long shot – finish in under 12 hours. I actually think this goal is laughable because I *think* the course record for ladies in my age group is just under 11:30. I’m not nearly fast enough to get close to that. But I underestimated myself on my 50k and it felt like my 3 goals came pretty easy, so I thought I’d throw in a truly tough one for fun. I won’t be disappointed if I don’t finish in under 12 hours. But I’ll be shocked if I do. Just finish. That’s really the biggie.

So there’s my pre-race rambling. As always, I don’t feel like I know what the hell I’m doing. I don’t know that I’ve put the miles in I need to run this far, I don’t have my gear nailed down, and to top it off, I went on a sugar-eating rampage last weekend and I am scrambling here last-minute to try to recover from that. Liiike, trying to keep my ankles from swelling while sitting in a damn truck for 11 hours/day (inflammation from all the sugar, me thinks). So, yup. There’s that wane in confidence coming back!

…Screw it. Ya’ know what? I got this.

You can bet whatever happens, I’ll be sharing the experience here when it’s over!

I can’t wait.

Tonight I love sleep. Because it’s all I want to do right now, but I have to wait for a roadside tire service guy to come change a tire on my trailer. Hurry up, tire guy!

A soft bulge in my trailer tire. The tire guy says, “the first thing I’m doing is letting air out of that thing.” Yeah. She was close to blowin’ out.

3 thoughts on “50 miles is a long way

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