You didn’t think I was done posting before my big race did you? I still have a few things to say! One of the reasons I love having a blog is I like to document what I spend a lot of thought on and plan for, so that someday I can look back and remember what I did. Maybe (yes maybe) some day in a few years, I will look back on these posts like I look back on the ones right before my first marathon.
Along with planning my crew and pacers, there are a few other things I have been obsessing over planning out over the last few weeks. A lot goes into running 50 miles… at least it does for me!
My goal during training was to try everything at least once. I ran a bunch of trail races as training runs for this purpose, and also prepared a lot of my own fuel during solo long runs. I was pretty lucky in that most everything sat well with my stomach and I responded well to. I know that as you get further into a race, fuel just starts sounding awful, so I wanted to make sure to have tried everything and have a lot of options for when this does happen.
My go to favorite fuel is: Shot Bloks, Z bars, gold fish crackers, boiled potatoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and soda!
When those start sounding awful, I bought a bunch of candy (above) to try to peak my interest that my crew will have with them. In addition to chewy candy, I also bought Jolly Ranchers because sometimes the thought of chewing is the worst thing in the world. I figure I can at least have something in my mouth if I get to that point.
My plan is to do exactly what I did in training. I eat Shot Bloks starting early, around mile 2, and just keep eating them as I go. I supplement those with real food at aid stations. I take a salt cap around every hour and drink water all the time.
If I don’t eat any of that candy at least I know it will be at the finish waiting for me!
This is a tricky course to pace. Go out too fast and you will blow up, which sounds pretty awful with a 50 miler – blowing up in a marathon is bad enough. But then how fast is too fast when you start on the flatter, faster half of a long race? I think the better question is can you go too slow? Probably not.
I really have no idea what to expect when it comes to finish times. I have a couple general goals, but really want to run by feel and run as strong of a race as I can for my first 50. The first half is on pavement and relatively flat, and the second half is on some hillier trails with the major climb happening over the last 3 miles.
My goal is to run the first half around where I ran my pavement long runs (especially those ones that were on day 2), but to not let my freshly tapered legs get the best of me. I will control my pace, run where it feels easy and constantly check in on my effort. I think my body will give me some good signals on what to do and I think I will be able to read it and listen.
My focus will be on getting to the next aid station vs. thinking about how many miles are left. This will break up the race into smaller, more manageable segments in my mind. For some reason I have thought of this race as 10 5-mile runs and that sounds doable in my brain.
I know that the lows will come, but I also know that they go. When they do come, I will just keep moving forward and not dwell on them. I won’t push too hard in the highs, but just try to stay consistent.
Above all, I will enjoy every second of this day, run with a smile, be thankful for what my body can do and celebrate this training cycle I am so proud of.