One week from tomorrow is THE race. I've checked both weather.com and Accuweather and they are pretty in sync with their forecasts. Looks like we have a chance of rain (40-50%) and roughly 45 degrees as the high. I can live with that, especially because the week looks relatively dry, which will be HUGE for the trail portion of the race. It is also nice that the trail segment is first and won't have all day to get soggy and muddy before we run on it. I will take it!
I guess I'm tapering. After tomorrow's run, weekly mileage will be at 28 miles (two weeks in a row of getting my spot near the top taken on Garmin Connect weekly mileage… UGH!). Next week, I'll do 2 or three very short easy runs to keep the legs loose and just stay generally active without overtiring my legs. There is a fine line between overdoing it and turning into a slug where I've had so much rest, things don't want to get moving on race day. That's not good. So I try to find the happy medium. Meanwhile, Sondra is resting and trying to keep her shin splints (developed late in training) in check. She's been really smart this week and I imagine will be next week too. I do keep telling her that training is done and there is no benefit to be had by pushing on that leg. At this point, all either of us can do is screw it up!
I am expecting a good race. I am not nervous, although usually race expos can change that. I don't think my goal is overly aggressive and think that strategy will have more to do with reaching it than anything else. Fifty miles is a long way to go and to reach the goal that I know I am physically capable of, I need to plan how to execute each portion of the race. Of course I will plan on wiggle room since I don't know at which point in the race I will encounter some rough patches (inevitable in a 50 miler. Not an "if", but a "when"). The last time I ran JFK is was around mile 34. I remember Jack telling me that the 30s are the toughest miles. You aren't quite close to being done, but you're now running much further than any of your training runs. You're body rebels a bit and you just have to plow through it. Having that insider knowledge was huge when I hit that point because the unknown can be scary and make me think I can't. That was when I discovered the beauty of electrolyte tablets in an ultra marathon. I got to the point where food was unappealing, Gatorade tasted bad and it was hard to eat so much. The E-tabs were great to get all I was losing replaced and ease up some of the odd leg cramping I was having.
Maria is my crew. John is staying home since Emma has to take the HSPT for high school. I wanted her to be in her own bed and have a good breakfast before she goes. I love my in-laws and all, but they are indeed, grandparents. If the girl requests straight sugar for breakfast, then straight sugar it is! And my girl would. So I'd like her to have brain food and something conducive to focus and concentration and not give her that inevitable crash midway through. She's top of my prayer list until noon while I run. I think that is when the test ends.
John will get to track the race through the really cool "Live Tracker" capability that Garmin has. I registered him by email and as soon as I start my Garmin when Live Tracker is initiated, he will get an email invitation to "View Kate Rewwer's live activity". I practiced it a couple of times and he was able to track some runs of mine. He said it updates about every minute so he will really get to see exactly how I'm doing and where I am on the course. It'll give him an average pace, which of course will vary dramatically from trail to road. The other nice thing is that he won't drive Maria crazy with texts questioning how it's going. The only issue will be if my battery dies before the race is over. Tracking will stop and he will have to wait it out. The last time I ran JFK, I got to mile 41 and the battery died. I don't know how long my battery life is, but if it is only 8 hours, it will die before I finish. My goal is a sub 10 hour race. Greg and Sarah have also been added and I won't add anyone unless they WANT to track it. I don't want to assume that people want to sit at their computers and watch a slow blue dot crawl all day long. Me? I kind of like that sort of thing. With a 50 miler, you can actually do a lot and then come back and be sure that the blue dot hasn't gotten very far and know you have not missed much :) So mom, let me know if you want to track me! Oh yes, and I won't be adding people I don't know, creepy, weird people, murderers, kidnappers, etc…
I've done the calculating, of course, and my average pace needs to be below 11:57 overall. Now that sounds way doable, right? Well of course you have to add in the trail portion, the aid station stops for fuel and shoe changes, bathroom stops (which are a few during 50 miles where you are eating and drinking a lot) and average all that in. I also have to consider those "rough patches" where I only may be able to walk for a bit until my legs come around. So run pace isn't that generous for the distance with all that factored in. Nevertheless, I'm feeling ready for it.
Finally, if you are the praying type, please offer up a prayer or two for my brother, Joe (the one doing Burning River next summer). He has been incapacitated this week due to a compressed disc. He was found on exam to have an old fracture in his back (WHOA!) and is currently flat on his back on Flexerall and Vicodin. From what I understand, he should really be back to normal soon. I don't know what it will do to his current base building for BR. He's been doing really well and been very consistent with his running and has been keeping me updated. He has some army buddies who have agreed to crew and pace for him, making this very real for him. His plan is to get some longer walks in when he is back on his feet and I know he has PLENTY of time still to be ready, even with this setback. BUT… prayers always make things better. That's a fact.
See you after the race!