It’s less than two days until my next running adventure begins—a 12-hour trail run in a national park. In all honesty, I don’t even know how to feel right now about this upcoming venture. Before big races I usually have a mixture of excitement and nervousness. But this one I’m unsure what to think! Friends keep asking me what my mileage goal will be, but since I’ve never run an ultra in my life I’m not racing for a personal best. The race itself is a 6.5 mile figure-8 (sort of) loop, so if we were to do the math (and if I was running at a 4-hour marathon pace) I’d be on target to do 78 miles which we know would be absolutely insane AND unattainable! The top male winner last year didn’t even reach that distance. So no…I am not setting a goal. What will be will be…
Others (most) just think I’m plain crazy. Maybe true! My mom told me the other day, “Honey, just remember you have nothing to prove to anyone!” Believe me, I know all these things, but there is clearly something in my genetic makeup that has always pushed me to my outer limits. And while I’m not a big risk taker—never sky dived or bungee jumped—I do find myself from time to time jumping head-first into an adventure without fully thinking through all the details first.
So case in point, I’m on the verge of pushing my body further than it’s ever been pushed. If nothing else, I’m telling myself that Saturday is just another day at the park—a really long day at that! As long as I can stay upright for 12 hours I will be happy. No problem, right? I’m simply going to be out there to take it all—to experience a day in the ultra-runners’ world, to enjoy God’s gift of nature, to be quiet in my thoughts and to encourage the other runners around me. Piece of cake…I’ve got this!
As I anticipate the day ahead, some of my goals are to a.) stay injury-free, b.) have fun and c.) forge new connections with others who are just as crazy. I’m sure when all is said and done it will be so much more than that!
Here are some shots from a few training mornings at the park as I celebrated the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary this summer.