Ready or not... Stumpjump 50k here I come!
As of right now, I feel pretty good. I've been fairly relaxed all week, I've been tapering and eating light and healthy (carb loading doesn't work for me... I get fat and bloated too easily and I can't run well fat and bloated). I've been mostly chill. I've been reading race reports and trying to familiarize myself with the course.
I've been spending time psyching myself up to be prepared for the inevitable pain and fatigue.
The plans are in place, hotel room secured. All that's left to do is get down there, pick up my race packet, eat dinner and get a good nights rest. Hopefully my chill nature will continue through the rest of the day and night and I won't end up freaking out and consuming an entire bag of Hershey Kisses tonight (like I did before the Swampstomper. I was feeling MAJOR anxiety and stress before that race). It helps that I won't have a bag of Hershey Kisses available to me.
I have somewhat of a race plan prepared. My plan is to stay ahead of the bonk. And the only way to do that... is to stay up on my nutrition and hydration. This means eating and drinking early and often. I can't fall behind on energy. This race will smash my face into a jelly if I get behind.
The next part of my plan is to break the race into parts. By each Aid Station. I plan on either having them memorized, or written on my arm, so that I can keep my head focused on each little task, rather than the entire race. There are 7 aid stations. And at the aid station at mile 19, I'll have a drop bag that I can pick up. I plan on treating this like the half-way point of the race. Because the last part of this race, particularly miles 25-28 seem to be the hardest. This is also the cut-off aid station. If you're not at this aid station in 6 hours, you could be pulled from the race. And nobody wants to run a 19 mile Stumpjump.
And lastly, my plan is to run my race. I'm not going to get mentally bullied by other trail runners. Too often, I follow their suit. If they're running up a hill early in the race... then... I should be running up it, too, right? Not always. I need to pace myself in the beginning, there are going to be plenty of opportunities later in the race to run up hills if I want. Save some gas for then.
It's hard to have goals for a Trail Ultramarathon. Particularly if you've never ran the race before. Sure, I can read race reports and course descriptions till I'm blue in the face... but I won't actually know how hard it is, till I get there and start running. I tried to compare finish times between the Stumpjump and the 50k I ran in January, the Swampstomper. But that's impossible, as well. The race conditions for Swampstomper were horrible and the Swampstomper doesn't attract nearly the field that the Stumpjump does.
But... obviously, my first goal is to finish. My second goal is to have fun.
Anything after that is gravy.
But... like any good southern girl.. I do love my gravy, so let's delve into the gravy a bit, shall we?
Gravy goal 1: To finish under 9 hours. It appears that after 9 hours, you don't get an official time. Most runners seem to have a 9+ or a 9ish. I want a real finish time. Even a 8:59:59 would be awesome.
Gravy goal 2: To not fall. (yeah right).
Gravy goal 3: To finish and immediately want to find another Ultra to sign up for.
Gravy goal 4: To get a 50k PR. (have to beat 8:29).
No matter what happens.. failure, success, or gravy you'll get to hear all about it next week!