Well, it's finally here...the race I've been busting my butt training for since New Year's Day. Though I started this journey nearly five months ago, it feels like just yesterday that I anxiously registered for my very first ultramarathon, the Dirty German 50k.
It seems appropriate to recap some of my favorite moments of this training season as I mentally prepare myself for the 31 miles ahead. Here's a look back on the past 5 months of ultra training:
January: 130 miles
I ran my first long trail run (12 miles). Read the recap here. I was thrilled to be back on the trails after a few years on the road, but had to adjust to the slower pace. I had not yet figured out the proper form for hiking steep inclines or running down hills, but I still had a great time.
I also fell in love hard with Vermont (again) and began researching ultras in the Green Mountain State.
February: 168 miles
I toughed it out through an 18 miler, explored Valley Forge National Park, stepped foot on the Appalachian Trail for the very first time, made my own energy gels, and had an existential running crisis. A month of ups and downs, both physically and emotionally.
March: 201.5 miles
March was by far my most challenging and strongest month of training. I ran three 20+ mile long runs and logged the most miles I've ever run in a month, to date. I visited Vermont again and resolved to run the Vermont 50 miler in the fall. I raced to the top of a skyscraper, and also found my reasons for trail running. And I broke my finger playing volleyball.
April: 185.7 miles
April was a month of firsts, and presented some challenges of its own. I refocused my fall goals and picked a new 50 mile race ( the Stone Mill 50.) I loved my first trail race (the Tyler Trail 10k), ran by the beach, and pushed through 20 miles on a treadmill for the first time. Finally, I finished my first trail marathon (the Delaware Trail Marathon), and realized I was finally ready for the 50k.
May: 96 miles (as of 5/24)
This month has been all about recovery and tapering. It took me a full two weeks to recover from the trail marathon. Tapering was a bit frustrating but my legs appreciated the break. I also hiked on the Appalachian Trail again which reinvigorated my love for the trail. Inspired by nature and a trail running podcast, I wrote down my thoughts about trail running culture.
And now it's race day eve. I am significantly less nervous than the day before any road race, which I can only attribute to the laid back . I have a couple of goals for the race, but I really only care about the first one.
Goal #1: Finish
Goal #2: Finish under 6 hours
That's it. If I don't finish under 6 hours, I won't be upset. I ran a 5:22 at the trail marathon, during which I definitely held myself back. I kept a comfortable pace, took a 5-10 minute bathroom break at the halfway point, and took my sweet time at the aid stations. I think 6 hours for the 50k is realistic because it is only 5 miles longer than the marathon, and I plan on taking this race a bit more seriously. However, I will definitely not push the pace too hard as I've never run this far in my life.
Here goes nothing. If all goes well, by this time tomorrow I'll be an ultrarunner!