Recovery from last weekend's 21 trail miles has been slow and this is the first week of taper madness, so I have had a lot of time to think.
That is the distance I will attempt to cover at the Ice Age 50K Trail Run. I haven't written too much about it here, probably because every time I do think about it I ask myself that same question - what am I doing running this?
Is it because I felt I needed a challenge? That doesn't make sense. I have only run four slow marathons - three finished and one DNF'd - so it's not like I feel I have conquered the marathon distance and now need a bigger challenge, not by any stretch of the imagination.
Is it because I wanted to spend more time out in nature, but in a controlled, course-is-marked kind of way? (I am not in my comfort zone just, you know, going out in nature.)
Or is it peer pressure? Everyone's doing ultras these days. Hmm, maybe. I have a lot of friends, and a husband, who run ultras.
Mostly, though, I think the answer is that it just seems fun. 31 miles fun? I know, it seems crazy to me, too. But, really, ultras just seem more laid-back, more in line with the lifestyle I am interested in leading. I am obviously not a fast runner, and I even enjoy the (more than) occasional walk break. There is just something that seems to feel right about ultras and, specifically, trail ultras, versus shorter road races.
So, like someone dating someone new for the first time, wondering if this is the one, I look forward to this first ultra attempt with a mixture of dread, anticipation, anxiety, and excitement, all rolled into one. Will this be something for me? Or, will I do it and then thank my lucky stars I never have to try that again? I guess I'll know in a few weeks.
The weird thing is that I already think this might be the start of a beautiful thing. You see, I have already told Hubby that I want to take a break from racing after my marathon in the fall before I start training for this very 50K again next year. I know I will be slow this year, and I am already curious to see if I can improve my time in 2014. How's that for optimism?
And, even if it all falls apart, and I am thanking my lucky stars and all that, the plus side has got to be that marathons will seem easier in comparison, right?