Yikes! I’ve been so busy training for the next race that I have neglected my blog! While slogging through my last 3 long training runs in the crappiest of conditions, I had lots of opportunities to slow down and think about this whole crazy idea of running a 50K.
First, I cannot believe that I have less than 5 weeks left of training! When I mapped out a 16-week training plan months ago, it seemed like forever before this day would come. And, now here I am panicking like any good runner might do. This weekend is my longest training run (and last LONG training run) before I scale back and then taper. Lesson learned: training will go by fast! Have a great plan and know that you can be flexible with it and still have a great training experience.
Second, I still cannot believe I signed up for this distance! *nervous grin*! Probably two years ago I was inspired by some other mother runners signed up for ultra distances (they have since gone on to complete several trail ultras) and they encouraged me to do the same. It took many more training miles before I decided to sign up for a 50K. I knew I wanted it to be road/non-trail race and finding one close to me is difficult. The Pistol Ultra was highly recommended by many people in a TAUR group and the Women for Tri group I belong to AND it is within driving distance, so those were major factors in my decision to try this paved “urban trail” ultra. The race is a 10-mile loop course on a paved path through a park, much like the Parklands here where I live, so I figured I had an optimal place to train at home as well.
Third, I cannot believe how fortunate I have been to have a family and friends that wholly support me. They may not always understand what I am doing, but they show me unconditional love by saying “go run”, “how far are you going today?”, etc. And, it is a huge source of joy for me to see my children excited about this new adventure. When I told them I had signed up for an ultramarathon, their eyes were wide with excitement. The first question was, “How far is that?” and then the statement of “Wow, even dad has never done that before!’. I consider that a compliment for multiple reasons, realizing my husband has completed many more marathons and tris than I have and so they understand the magnitude of the endeavor I am about to take on with this race.
For my friends and people who don’t understand the life of a runner, they often ask why am I running this distance. I thought a lot about that on my last run and it really comes down to the ideas relayed to me through an inspirational podcast (Sparta Chicks – check it out if you haven’t already!) I listened to recently. It is about dealing with my own inner critic. I made the decision, without knowing it, to “play big” with this one. Training for a triathlon was more about facing fears, but training for an ultra marathon is about going big for me. I need to do this for myself – it is the culmination of many fears and insecurities and putting myself down for years coming to a head. You see, my professional life took a hard left turn a few years ago. I had what I thought was my dream job, an executive level position in higher ed-something I had worked hard for quite awhile but I had to let it go for really two huge reasons. Resigning from that position really put me back for a bit and I remember for the first time feeling like, “wow, I really can’t have it all.” I felt as though I had let people down, that I wasn’t as smart or as capable as I thought and it put me in a huge “imposter” red zone. So, I took a step back from my professional life and incorporated running and fitness into my daily life. This has all led me to sign up for this race. It is time for me to shake that inner critic and take myself for what I am worth. It is time to shake the self-doubt put on me by others or by myself. I don’t need to be more confident or believe in myself (I have plenty of that, hence the reason for toeing this line in the first place). What I do need is to stop “playing small” and start “playing bigger” in many areas of my life, and I am going to start in Alcoa, Tennessee. Thank you to all of my friends, especially the women in my life, who have supported me thus far. 30 more days…