I finally started thinking seriously about the Jemez Mountain 50k on Sunday. Now that I'm done worrying about that daunting 5k and the Hawk 50 and Marathon has come and gone, my mind is freed up and I'm surprised by how casually I've been approaching Jemez.
To be clear, I had little to do with the execution of the Hawk. Perhaps too little, but the Pi Day River Rotation Half Marathon really sapped my desire to be heavily involved in race planning for a time, and it was being handled extremely well by Gary Henry, Karen Collier and Coleen Voeks. I DID manage to drag my butt out of bed at 4:45 Saturday morning to manage an aid station* and volunteer for 14 hours though.
*I left Nick all by himself at the aid station for several hours so I could run with Coleen. I felt pretty bad when I came back. Apparently the tent was blowing all over the place, the dogs were being a pain, and runners were coming through, all at the same time. So I definintely owe him, but I like to think I earned something back by removing a tick from his...unmentionable area.
Yesterday, aside from the major question, "Can I actually finish this race?", I occupied myself with details and logistics. Things that required consideration included: we're flying, we're camping, and the race is in the mountains.
Flying to an ultra can be difficult, I assume... It will require careful planning so that we have everything we need AND it's not too much to take on a plane. Our normal strategy is to just hurl everything we might possibly need (and more) into Nick's truck and go.
I've never camped the night before an ultra so this should be an interesting experience. As a matter of fact, I think it's been 20 years since I've been camping. Luckily I have experienced outdoorsman, Nick Lang, to educate me. I suppose some might view this as a bad idea. A lot of people don't like to camp the night before an ultra, but I know I'm not in the running to win an award or break my PR, so I'm not going to worry much about it. I'm thinking of this race as a long hike with some running sprinkled in. As a matter of fact I fully expect this to be my personal record for WORST time. That's 8:40-something right now. Let's see if I can get above 9! Shouldn't be too hard. My bigger worry is not finishing at all.
Finally, the race is in the Jemez MOUNTAINS. I'll need to be sure I have the right gear. My plan is to run with my hydration pack with a rain jacket strapped into the bungee cords in case of rain or cold. I will also NOT forget to bring my gaiters (which I usually do), because the race guide specifically suggested them. Oh you don't want rocks IN your shoes?? Stop forgetting your gaiters!
In terms of my actual performance at the race...if you haven't caught on by now, I live in KANSAS. While northeastern Kansas might not be as flat as you think, we definitely do not have any several mile long climbs. I have been doing some hill training lately, but my mileage has been pretty low the past few weeks so I'm worried about being undertrained. I did manage a 63 mile week a month ago. But that was a month ago. Nobody really tapers 5 weeks for a 50k, Laurie...
As far as I can tell the most difficult part of the race is ascending Caballo Mountain. According to the mileage/elevation chart, it is a 2 mile climb with 1800ft of elevation gain. I'm wheezing just thinking about it. Actually, the most difficult part might be going back down for me. I'm notoriously whimpy about hiking steep, rocky descents. Notice the word "hiking". I have a feeling there won't be a lot of running down this "hill". Anyway, that's just the worst climb from what I can tell. There are 3 big climbs total and they are all in the first half of the race. So my quads should be good and trashed for the second half!
The End is Near
In conclusion, I am extremely excited and a bit nervous, but I'm sure it will be a fabulous weekend. I mean, I'll be with my sweetie in the mountains! What could be better?!
P.S. Can you tell I really haven't done much planning yet? So far you just know that I'm taking socks and shoes. Well, we're taking a tent too. So there.