I've been so focused on training and planning for the Spartathlon lately that I keep forgetting I have a race coming up this weekend! Sure, a 100-person 50k isn't quite on the same end of the race spectrum as the international spectacle that is the Spartathlon, but I will honestly point out that the 50k (31 mile) distance definitely scares me more than that 153 mile race across Greece. Yes, my weekly long run is always at least 50k in my normal training cycle, but "racing" that distance is a whole different beast...especially when my focus in training has been working on looooong slow n' steady miles and not lung-busting speed. Regardless, all of my worries will go away at 6:30 a.m. this Saturday when the gun goes off for the Dahlgren Heritage Trail 50k. As long as I survive the first 8 miles (which I understand are somewhat rugged), I'll settle in nicely for the rest of the race as I've previously run that part of the trail in training.
I should have some good company along the way as well with my friends Brad Hinton and Andy Gingrich also in the starting field. Brad has grabbed 3rd place in each of the previous two years at this race, so it may end up being a fist-fight between the two of us over my usual 3rd place finishing spot. We'll see how that plays out. Lord knows any race to the finish with Brad is an all-out effort. If you haven't seen the video of his last second win at the North Country 50 miler last year, check this out! Of course, since there's prize money in this race, that probably also means some marathon speedsters will show up to blow us all away. Man, I hate those guys and their lactic thresholds!
Regardless of how the race itself goes, it'll be a fun time all-around with members of my family and Andy's family all coming down to cheer us on. Sure, they might just be there for the race BBQ, but when I pass them late in the race I'll suppress thoughts like "Wait, are they eating ribs?...and why does the water bottle they just handed me have BBQ sauce on it?!", and convince myself they're only there to cheer me on. They say Ultras are 50% mental, and "delusion" makes up a huge part of that 50%!
Time to lace 'em up!