Well... it's finally here. I'll be attempting my first Ultra Marathon on Sunday morning.
I'll be honest with you... I'm actually, finally REALLY excited. This has the possibility to be one of the most challenging, life influencing, awesome things I'll ever do in my life. But, it also has the possibility to be one of the worst, hardest, painful things I'll ever do in my life. And... in all likelihood it will be a mash-up of the two.
All week I've been out of sorts. I've been moody, hungry like you wouldn't believe, tired and as much as I've tried to push the stress of the race out of my head... it's rearing it's ugly head in every possible facet of my life. I almost ripped my friend Jeff's head off last night on the phone when he suggested (for the 15th time, no less) that "maybe I shouldn't be focusing on losing weight, maybe I should be focusing on toning up" (yes, this said from a guy who's never had to even contemplate weight loss). Obviously I'm focusing on toning up! Every damn day! But, I can't just do that! I have to actually diet and do some cardio to get the fat OFF of the muscles! I gritted my teeth and sat in silence for about 2 full minutes instead of going into a full- on expletive filled rant.
It was after that conversation, that I walked into Target looking for 3 things for this weekend:
1. Leggings. (I noticed Target had some cold weather compression leggings for 25 bucks a few weeks ago and I anticipate falls this weekend on the trail, so I didn't want to risk tearing another pair of UnderArmour Leggings).
2. Dried Cherries. (I've trained using Dried Cherries during long runs before and I like them a lot, so I wanted to pick up some to carry along with my shotblox).
3. New Vampire Weekend CD- (for the drive to Memphis on Friday. My Kings of Leon addiction is seriously at the intervention stage).
Did I walk out of Target with any of those things?
No medium sized leggings. Out of dried cherries and no Vampire Weekend cds (although the store on the other side of town has 3 copies left). UGH.
I was pissed. I fought rush hour traffic to drive to a Target to come away empty-handed. As I drove home in a rage I started thinking about why I was so edgy. Hormonal? Probably. But I think I'm stressed... it's all the tell-tale signs of Stressed Amy: Snacky, Bitchy, and Lazy. It's not pretty folks. Not pretty at all.
I decided to try and ease my stress by thinking logically through the situation. Sure... I'm scared about the race on Sunday. I've never ran more than 26.2 miles before. I've never ran more than 13.1 miles on trails before. I have a tendency to fall. A lot. I don't feel like I'm properly trained. I have all these fears and doubts in my head. Can I do it? Will I make it? Should I just switch to the 25k and focus on a 50k some other time? Will I be able to make the cut-offs? Will I sprain an ankle or chip a tooth? But, honestly... shouldn't I have all these concerns about any race? And no matter how well trained I was, wouldn't I be scared that I wasn't properly trained enough for my first 50k? It's only natural to be a little afraid of the unknown.
So, I'm making a conscious effort to drop the negativity. If this were easy... frankly, I wouldn't be doing it. I keep thinking back to this summer... running back-to-back marathons in one weekend. That second marathon, The Madison Marathon, was the hardest race I've ever ran. But, it was also the most life changing. It was grueling: the altitude, the hills, the solitude, the fact that I had just ran another marathon 24 hours earlier (although, surprisingly that didnt seem to affect me all that much). I learned so much about myself during that race and finishing that race was the proudest I've ever been of myself. Sure... it was just another marathon. But the circumstances surrounding the race made it so much more.
This race has the potential to rival that experience and that is something to get excited about. With great challenges, comes great rewards, right?
Or ya know... it could just totally suck ass. Either way... I paid my $30 bucks and I'm going to give it a go.