With all my training behind me and 4 miles to go I wanted to get out a blog post before the race with my thoughts and feelings of how everything went and how I feel before the race. Training started after my brief 10 day recovery from breaking two toes from a “freak” soccer incident! 1145 miles later here I am two days before the JFK 50 miler and my body has finally come around and I feel great. I can honestly say however I have not been this nervous for a race since back in about 2002 when I was a young Junior running for Monmouth University, when I was racing for a team and to keep my spot on the roster. This entire week my nerves have been a bit on tilt just thinking about this race, but nerves are not a bad thing. Being nervous before this race just shows it’s important to me and that I know I put together a great training cycle and now I just have to execute for about 6 + hours. For me this feeling is what I hope keeps me motivated all race and ready to push my hardest when the going gets tough. It’s my body’s way of telling me that we want to do our best now just leave it all out there. In a weird way to say, It’s a great feeling honestly that I have missed over the past few years!
As I said 1145 miles I logged over 15 weeks to get myself to the start of this race. A lot of races, hard training runs and workouts but above all else a lot of fun. I can’t say in my life I managed to put together this many consecutive weeks of mileage, sticking to a plan and races and as my fitness continued to improve I kept getting more and more motivated to keep at it. It helps to have a bunch of teammates to keep me honest and moving in the right direction at all times and to always offer some great advice when I am freaking out about the race. It also helps to have some super smart friends who can offer me some quality advice and exercises to perform when I feel my body breaking down during my taper. And to once again keep me from freaking out! If you’ve ever gotten to know me, I can be quite the “over thinker” “drama king” or mental case when it comes to running! My coach called me the practice champ back in high school because I could dominate workouts in the low stress environment of practice but on race day I’d talk myself out of my race the second it got hard. Having all these friends to reach out to and keep me level headed these past few weeks has gone a long way to helping me get to the starting line feeling confident.
As I begin to tackle my first 50 mile race I am filled with some anxiety of the unknown and of making sure I have thought of everything, excitement to tackle a new distance and run a fantastic race, but most of all filled with confidence that I have trained to the best of my ability and there is nothing left to do but let it rip. For the past two weeks I battled some issues and my taper was a little lighter than I wanted but if it gets me to the line healthy that’s all that matters. All the work has been done. At 630 am on Saturday November 19th, a day I have had pinned on the wall at my desk and spent countless hours explaining to co-workers what the 50 meant in JFK 50(You are running 50 miles!?), I will line up with some amazingly talented men and woman and I will run as confidently as I can and let the pieces all fall into place. My goals are simple:
- Run my race
- Don't go out too hard
- Be as efficient as possible on rocky terrain
- Be Mentally Tough
- And most importantly have fun!
In the end I want to do great, but I am going to enjoy this too. I am going to see my amazing crew who are volunteering their Saturday mornings (Ryan, Rich, & Tristram) at 3 different spots and feel nothing but joy when I run past them. They are going to spend 8-10 hours of their day out there for me and I am so blessed. I am also so very thankful that I was able to make it 15 weeks without a major injury and that I am able to line up for this race and be able to run it. That in itself is a small victory and not something I should overlook. I need to be mentally tough as I grind through the 26 miles I will run on the C&O, just a marathon on the trail, after already running 16 miles no biggie. I need to be cool and under control early as we climb 1300 ft in 4.5 miles from downtown Boonsboro to the Appalachian Trail and be efficient on the rocky terrain as I remember the many runs I did at Patapsco and other parks getting ready. And last of all just run my race, it's 50 miles and I need to run it the way I am capable of, and let it come to me. There is plenty of time to make moves. If I can accomplish all these goals, I will run the best race I capable of on Saturday.
In the end this Saturday is going to hurt and I will probably end up losing my mind somewhere around mile 35 on the C&O trail, but I am going to run my ass off. I am going to enjoy this day and all the hard work I put in to get here but that will not for a second stop my determination to run to my potential. I am here like anyone else to run the best race I am capable of and continue to hurt and push until I get there. As always, thanks to everyone for your support as I continue to chase my dreams and to everyone who has offered me some advice or calmed me down over the past few weeks. And to anyone who continues to read my blog, I love writing about my thoughts and my training and I appreciate anyone who takes the time out of their lives to read it.