This last Sunday, I tackled my first 50km run. In training. Some people, and often many running training programs do not subscribe to running the full distance of an event before the actual event. The Running Room will develop training programs to take people to 20 miles or so in order to complete a marathon. If you ask me, those last 6.2 miles, or about 10km or so, can be about the toughest ten kilometers to get through. It is there where you begin to lose focus, develop in your mind and actualize self doubts, and let your body do what it wants to, rather than overpower your instincts with you mind, and stay disciplined through the pain.
So last Sunday at 5:00 am, I wolfed down some oatmeal and out the door to meet Sean at 5:30 down the road. We determined a figure 8 loop that took us through the Shed, up to the Alex Fraser Bridge, back down to Highway 10, into the shed, and over again. 2 loops. 4 gels, 5 bottles of water, 1 clif bar, 1 pack of Clif bloks, and a roll of toilet paper that I managed to dispose of in the first 4 kms. Par for the course, really.
What struck me on this run was that I was fine over the course of 4 hours, but with 4 kms left to go and 4:45 into the run, my steps became labored. My concentration waned. My energy diminished, and I had trouble believing that I could finish out the run.
This is all very important to the race coming up on St. Patrick's day. I know what 50 kms in my legs feels like. I know it will be really hard. I know that I have enough food to propel me through this run. I know all of this because although I have not done the course, I have been in the dark place of self doubt. I have felt what it is like to want to stop, but need to continue to push on. I have developed the confidence in myself to know how hard I need to push myself. When the event is for real, and the timer is running, something in me clicks. I have endless strength and determination, unlike on a training run.
The Chuckanut 50 is next week. I will be by Sean's side and we will be running it together. It will be a great bonding experience for the both of us, and I am going to be proud to finish with him. It will be tough, but it will only make me tougher. I know what to expect my body will do next week on the run. I just have to prepare it to behave the way I want it to. Showing up prepared, stoked, nourished, and ready to go is my goal now.