So as some of you may know — I’m running the Antelope Island Classic 50K tomorrow morning — well, okay, all day. Let’s be honest here, it’ll probably take me the full 10 hours like last year. But, that’s beside the point.
This is my third ultra in the past year. In fact this race was my first ultra marathon — unless you count the Utah Valley Marathon in 2014 where I got lost. But, again — I digress. And, after running my first 50 miler a couple weekends okay, I feel fairly versed in the ultrarunning universe (which should read — total rookie).
But, I know what to expect and what not to expect. Especially with this race. For one, it’ll be no walk in the park — though I’ll be mostly walking … in … a state park. And, these beasts are nothing like marathons. I mean what marathon gives you salted potatoes, potato chips, M&M’s and everything not found a whole food diet at every aid station? (this is why I love ultras … taps into my inner fat kid).
I was initially going to run the half marathon, but after my 50 miler and getting the itch for distance I decided to up my registration to the 50K. Having ran this course last year gave me the confidence to know that I could do it again. Being 25-30lbs. lighter also helps. But, just knowing the course and knowing where I can push or hold back helps a lot.
So here I am on the brink of running ultra #3 — and I can’t be any more excited about it.
Like my marathons, I don’t have a time goal for my ultras. Well, I guess I do — my time goal is to finish and not be swept off the course. I came close last year on this course. But, that didn’t defer me from doing this again — because as I mentioned before, knowing the course and being lighter than last year helps.
But, I do goals for my race tomorrow and when I cross the finish line tomorrow afternoon I want to be able to look back and not only be satisfied with another ultra finish, but knowing that I met these goals as well …
Don’t Poop My Pants
You’re probably laughing at this being on my list, but really, honestly, no joking — this is my goal for any run. Not just race, but run. The worst thing I can think happening to myself out on a run is pooping my pants. Especially, if I couldn’t tell I had, but everyone else around me could. And, I’d like to think that I am not the only runner who has this worry and goal.
When I ran my 50 miler a couple weeks ago this was a BIG worry for me. Forget about the miles of death I experienced late in my race, I was more worried about my bathroom situation, because the only port-a-potties were 50 miles apart. Yep — at the starting and finish line.
And, of course I had to use it about four miles into my race. Luckily for me it was still dark so I walked far out into the desert pretending to admire the scenery before doing my morning squats before burying it like a cat in a litterbox. Luckily, all went well and that was the only time I had to “take care of business” because it was a big deal for me.
Yet, that’s really the only time I’ve gone outside of port-a-potty during the middle of a run. And, with me running more trails I know it won’t be the last. But, it still worries the heck out of me. The whole idea of using it roadside with the full moon out worries me. But, there’s no modesty in ultrarunning and I have to remember that.
So, yeah, don’t poop my pants.
Don’t Flirt with Cut-off Times
Last year when I ran this race with Tim we came UBER close to 2 of the 3 cutoff times. We were slowed down a bit by an injury which made us a bit slower. To make sure we got the last cutoff we had to book it the 2-3 miles between the two aid-stations. It wasn’t fun at mile 23-25 after having ran all day.
So, my goal is to not even flirt with them this year. I am not TOO worried about getting as close as last year, but I want to stay mindful of them — especially as I am “running” the hills between miles 11-14. That will be my slowest miles for sure.
But, the plan is once I get to the mile 14 aid station I’ll pick up the pace as I descend down the mountain and towards the ranch. That stretch we walked and killed our time. That should put me in a good position to cut off a hour or so from last year’s time.
But, just being used to the course and being lighter than last year will help. I just don’t want the time to have such a daunting presence as it was last year. I want to enjoy the scenery and time out on the trails.
Don’t Get Friendly with Earl
The picture above is from a few years back at this race. And, if you’re wondering what that buffalo (nicknamed affectionately Earl) is doing — he is pinning a man (who got too close to Earl) against the fence. And, surprisingly, the man came away unscathed (except from probably his underwear).
Anyways — I’m kinda surprised I still picked to make this my first ultra after seeing this. Especially considering I have problems when I see lawn furniture that might look like deer. I have a slight fear of hooved animals — especially when it comes to deer, moose, elk and anything that pretends to be cuddly and lovable when it’s obvious it has alternative motives.
I haven’t had many encounters with buffalo — outside of Yellowstone from the safety of my car, but I’ve kinda clumped them into that same category. .I just don’t want to run into one unexpectedly — anywhere — whether it’s on this run or in life.
Last year I only had one run in with a buffalo that made me feel uncomfortable. It was in the last two miles of the race and this dang buffalo defiantly stood on the trail I had to pass. I stood there not knowing what to do and the buffalo stood there like a jerk knowing I didn’t know what to do.
Then a runner behind us starting flailing their hands and making a lot of noise — at first to my horror — but, then I saw the buffalo simply move on. He didn’t want any part of this runners mojo and he moved on. The runner explained to Tim and I that they’re like cattle and as long as you aren’t threatening them and make noise they’ll move on.
Now, does that make me a buffalo whisperer all of the sudden? Hell no. Am I still worried about buffalo? Hell yes. If I encounter a cranky buffalo during my race I’ll try that runner’s approach, but I am not sure how much confidence I have in it?
If it doesn’t budge I am not sure exactly what to do next? Do I ask it nicely to move? Do I put on some Celine Dion to get it to move on (I know that would work for me)?
The simple answer is probably finding a roundabout route. But, I’m also praying it never comes to that. I want to enjoy the buffalo — from a distance. And, that’s about it.
Make a new friend out on the trails — but, preferably not with Earl
I hate to put this goal in the same boat as my goal of not pooping my pants, but this is another one of my ‘every run’ goals. I’m just a people person (if you couldn’t tell). I love meeting new people while out on my running adventures. This is one reason why I love pacing and sweeping — you never know who’re going to meet.
I know a few people running the 50K, but they’re pretty much faster than me — which is fine. I don’t hate them for that (I just hate them for getting to the buffalo chili before me). And, since I am doing this race solo — unlike last year, I’m sure what adventure is ahead of me?
I’m coming prepared to jam out by myself with my killer trail running soundtrack, but I’d much prefer not to use that for most of the race. I want to make some new friends, especially with back of the packers (my people). And, hopefully, when I make new friends tomorrow they’re also buffalo whisperers so I don’t have to do that myself.
Whatever the case is, I’d really love to make a new friend or two out thur on the trails. Trails are so much more fun when you’re out there with people you like.
Especially when they’re not afraid of hooved animals.
Have ULTRA amounts of FUN!
No matter the race, distance or pace — my goal is to ALWAYS have the most amount of fun possible. I wouldn’t be running otherwise. Running has been a huge blessing in my life that has brought a lot of joy into — so whether I am out on the roads or trails — I’m going to have fun.
And, tomorrow is no different. I’m going to have a blast out there! I’m going to make new friends, see old friends, conquer hills and put my legs on cruise control enjoying the scenery. Is there anything else I can ask for to make it even more perfect? Not much.
I’m ready for this adventure and challenge ahead of me. I know it won’t be easy, but that’s why I love it. I love the challenge ahead of me and I can’t wait to see what lessons lay ahead. But, you better believe me — I’ll be striving for all of that while aiming to have the most amount of fun possible.
That’s the only way I know how to run.
So there it is, my goals for tomorrow’s race. As I stated above, I am excited for this race. I feel prepared. I feel ready. I feel eager. I just want to get out there and run.
People think I am crazy for doing this … and I won’t correct them, because there is degree of madness involved in ultrarunning. But, there is absolutely nothing better than just BEING in the moment and running something that is beyond comprehension to an older self.
5-6-7 years ago this would be unimaginable.
But, here I am.
And, I’m ready to run!
Come back on Sunday for my race pictures and then next Tuesday or Wednesday I’ll have a detailed race report.