Against my better judgement, I have decided to go ahead with the Quicksilver 50 mile race on May 10th. I was contemplating dropping it down to the 50k distance because of the difficulty I had at the Ruth Anderson race a little while ago. I mean, if I couldn't do the 50m there where it is flat then how could I have any chance of doing it in the hills with over 8,000 ft of elevation gain?
Well here is my reasoning. First off Ruth Anderson was unusually difficult conditions to run in. The winds were 25-35 mph with gusts into the 50 mph range. And the gusts weren't every once in a while... More like one after another. Anyway, with those winds it was a lot harder to run through. I wasn't running too fast of a pace, wanting to make sure I didn't use too much energy, but the wind more than compensated and made sure I used all my energy. Plus, my calves were getting pretty sore by about mile 17 because I was leaning into the wind and pushing through it.
Second, the course was a loop course, bringing you back to the start every 4.5 miles. I've found in the past that I don't do loop courses too well. At Pacifica earlier this year I ended up dropping at the 30k finish, which was the fourth time passing through the start/finish area, and if I would have ran the whole 50k it would have been 6 times through there. This makes it harder for me because as I get more tired I know I have that many more opportunities to just stop. Whereas the other races where they were out and backs, or maybe one loop back through the start/finish, I was able to run much more easily. Reasoning: when you are doing out and backs the territory is all new and therefore easier to run through as you are experiencing everything for the first time, and you know you must get from point A to point B. There are no questions or chances to doubt yourself. You just hunker down and do it.
Finally, the fact that the run is in the hills will make things easier, I think. Tougher, yes, but forced walks will not tire me out so much and will not drain my morale. Little breaks do wonders for me while running. Not little walk breaks on a flat course, because then you think to yourself that you should be running. But forced breaks in hills are necessary and par for the course. And in this manner I can break it up into two parts. The first 50k is one long out and back loop with a little over 5,000 ft elevation gain. I've actually ran worse elevation gains than that, so if I make sure and eat and drink properly than getting to this point is no problem. The last 19 miles or so is over 3,000 ft elevation gain and will be the point where all I need do is go out to the turn around point 'cause then the only place to go from there is back.
Sum it up, windy conditions won't hamper my energy and strength and sap anything out of me that I had (although it should be pretty hot that day, so things might be just as bad in a different way). A non-loop course forces me to go from point A to B, if for nothing else to make sure I get back to my car and to where there is food and water. Finally, the hills will effectively break up my running and force me to walk, thus giving me the necessary breaks for not only morale but for my energy and muscles as well.
In theory, that is. Theory didn't go too well as the wind came and blew any notions I had away. Hopefully this time it will be better. And I am okay with receiving a DNF. In fact I am going with the full knowledge that this may very well happen by electing to try the 50m. I'll try my darndest to make sure that doesn't happen, but I will also be prepared if it does.
After all, there is one thing this course will help me with (as compared with Ruth Anderson), and that is that it will help my stubborn side take over and let it do the big walking and talking. Then I can sit back and enjoy the ride.
In theory, that is.