So I have this ultra-marathon on Saturday. Yes, folks, I am apparently going to try running a 50k, also known as 31 freaking miles. And I may have done some stalking to size up my competition in this weekend’s race.
Now, before we go any further, let me be clear: I am not “racing” this thing. I am setting out to finish it and have a recorded time, in order to complete my third marathon (or ultra, since I’m apparently an over-achiever) within 90 days. That will qualify me for Marathon Maniacs membership, something I’ve been wanting quite badly for a couple years now.
However, I don’t really like the idea of coming in last. I know I won’t be last overall, but I can’t exactly compare myself with the elderly runners. Yes, there are three people in their 70s who are registered for the 50k. If you complain that you can’t run because of this ailment or that ache, think about it for a minute — a 77-year-old is registered for a 31-mile run.
Anyway, this is a small race, which is not uncommon for ultras. There are eight women, myself included, in my age group. Let’s see who they are:
1. Ran Western States 100 last year (you have to qualify to even enter that race). She also ran Western States the year before. And she’s run Saturday’s race four previous times.
2. Very experienced trail runner. It looks like I’m faster on roads, and this course is flat and half paved. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, though.
3. Triathlete whose half-marathon record is the same as mine. I might be faster on the road, but she’s got the many-hours-of-doing-a-triathlon endurance.
4. Possibly another first-ultra-runner. My marathon and half-marathon times are faster, but again, that doesn’t mean much.
5. Um, hello, speedy ultra runner who finished second at a 100-miler last year! We won’t go into her other fast times.
6. Oh look, another two-time Western States finisher!
7. Speedy 10-miler (7-minute pace) who ran a 50k last summer and is clearly faster than me at all distances.
8. Me. First 50k. Raced a marathon one month ago. Battling (and apparently conquering, but not sure yet) IT band issues that make a random knee hurt sometimes, usually once a run gets into double digits. In other words, the pain hits well before mile 31 arrives.
Saturday should be interesting! If I live to tell about it, I’ll be back with a race report. Also, there’s a chance I’ll up the ante a little bit, but I’m going to be mean by not disclosing that part right now. I don’t believe in jinxes, but my main focus on Saturday is to finish this run. The other part is only a possibility.