It’s 5 days till my first 50km, and though all my friends assure me I’m ready (better me than them I suppose:p), and that I will enjoy it, I might be er just a little bit of a basket case right now.
As with most of my running misadventures – not quite sure how I got myself into this one – seemed like a good idea at the time? I recall running the 23km trail race at Squamish 50 – and being envious of the misery and suffering of the 50km and 50 mile runners. So I decided I wanted to return to run Squamish and run the 50km course in August this year.
However, given the difficulty of the Squamish 23km course, and warnings of numerous seasoned trail runners that I should not do Squamish 50 as my first 50km, I decided I had better pick a different ultra to test the waters in.
Someone suggested Orcas Island 50km as a good first ultra – (but alas, that was before they changed the course and made it considerably harder). Oh well, too late now. And for the record, while I am pretty sure the elevation gain of Orcas and Squamish are similar, the Squamish trails are supposedly more technical.
I think it’s because I don’t like stepping out of my comfort zone. Give me a 10km, 1/2 marathon or marathon, and chances are very good I’m going to get through it. But with a 50km, I’m entering uncharted territory. I am not crazy about unknowns – they scare me.I don’t know how my body will react, how I will handle it. I’m not crazy about unknowns. What if I don’t finish, what if I get lost? (a real possibility given my er sense of direction) What if nature calls? I don’t usually give this much thought in road marathons.
But if you don’t ever step out of your comfort zone, if you risk nothing, you gain nothing. I am going to hazard a guess, and that is, there will be no sweeter sight than seeing the finish line – and that will make all the suffering worth it. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
I was walking home with a friend after a post run coffee this weekend and he told me: good luck, and try to have fun. It struck me later, this is supposed to be fun (well as much fun as 8 hours climbing in the mountain can be) but that’s the point.
Definitely not getting paid to do this, and there is so little at stake, except pride and a sense of accomplishment. If I’m not having fun there is little reason to do this. I am very good at working myself into knots – and for Orcas I have managed to twist myself into little knot – the sense of “oh my what have I done” knot. His words were just what I needed to hear.
And I am looking forward to getting away this weekend with a group of friends having never been to Orcas before, and sharing this adventure together. And yes, I am sure once I get going, I will actually have “fun” (going to try to remember that as I’m climbing Mount Constitution).