This Saturday I’m racing in the North Face 50 mile championships. It will be my first race of this distance, so I’m certainly anxious to see how it turns out. When I signed up over the summer, I had no idea that it would turn into such a ridiculously competitive race on both the men’s and the women’s side. Part of me wants to bring a sharpie and get as many autographs as possible.
My goal is simple: finish. As a first-timer at this distance that’s all I can ask for. The first 5-10 miles will be critical. I’m going to have to find my own pace and not go out too fast with all the speedsters. Every race I’ve run this year, I’ve competed (and finished most of the time) in the top 10, so this will be a bit different.
My State of Mind
Overall, I feel optimistic while apprehensive of the overall task of running 50 miles on such a hilly course. My training went very well and I got away without injuries. It went so well, in fact, that I haven’t had any time to blog (sorry!). Mrs. Golden Trails will be my crew chief for the day, which will be a tremendous boost. I run most races alone, so having her out there and take care of my every need will be wonderful. I also have an awesome pacer in Mark Tanaka. His experience will be invaluable as I run into mileage territory unbeknownst to me. Finally, one or two friends may come out to hang with Mrs. Golden Trails and cheer me on at a few aid stations. With that kind of support system, I can focus solely on putting one foot in front of the other. (Somebody tell me this is not a team sport). I am very fortunate to have such support out there.
Putting It All Into Perspective
This is unquestionably the biggest race for me this season if not ever. However, as I told Mrs. Golden Trails last night, even if I break my foot during mile one and have to drop out, it has been a wonderful year. For one, I have been injury free. Secondly, I am in the best shape of my life as I’m approaching 30. And finally, I’ve had my best running year ever (PRs in the 50k, marathon, half-marathon distances; 3 races won; most miles ever; likely winner of Coastal Trail Runs’ Trail Blazer Award in the marathon distance).
So with less than two days to go, I just want to head out, run and enjoy a nice bottle of Alaskan Summer at the finish.