Pre-Race Ramblings

As the Vegan Power 50k approaches in less than 24-hours, I can't help but be filled with emotions. I've been wanting to run this race since I first heard about it last Spring. Originally I was going to run it as my first ultra marathon, but as Fall approached last year, June seemed sooo far away, so I set my sights on the TARC Fells Winter Ultra 32-miler instead. I ran my first marathon (road) in October, then 32-miles on the treacherous, rock and root covered Skyline trail at the Middlesex Fells in December. It took me 7:10:32  to finish that day, which seems really slow for a 50k, however considering the female winner's time was 6:22:29 and I placed 5th female, I did pretty well. Something sparked inside of me that day. My goal had never been to be a fast, competitive runner, but there I was, less than 20 minutes away from placing at my first ultra marathon. I knew from that moment that I was capable of doing more than just finishing a race. I could get stronger and faster, and maybe even win a race someday if I just put some more time and effort into running. Not knowing where to start, I hired a coach and set my sights on Vegan Power 50k as my goal race, 6 months later. I've had some other races between now and then, two marathons, a couple half marathons and some smaller races, but in each instance I've left my competitiveness at home, and used it as a training run. These past 6 months, I've run 45-65 miles a week (peaking at 68 miles) on the snow and ice covered roads, tracks, mountains, technical trails, and treadmills. I've been introduced to speed work, hill repeats and "easy recharge" runs. On top of running, I've added in strength training and weight lifting, maintained a full-time job nannying, and have tried to keep a social life and healthy relationship with my husband. It's been hard at times, but every time I've had a breakthrough with running, whether it is a new PR or successfully completing a really hard workout, it makes all the blood, sweat and tears worth it (and there were plenty of all three). I've worked through an injury scare and having the flu. My personal life has been a bit of a roller coaster and training for this race has kept me sane. I've learned a lot about myself the past 6 months, about the person I am and the person I want to be. I've grown as an athlete, as a friend and as a wife. Tomorrow means a lot more to me than just running 31 miles. It's the day I've been waiting for since 6 months ago. It's all I've been thinking and dreaming about. After tomorrow, nothing leading up to this race will matter. Tomorrow for those 5-6 hours, I will be leaving everything I have out on the course. I am nervous, a little worried, but most of all so excited that the day is finally here. Tomorrow is not a training run, it's race day and it's game on!