24-Hour Ultra - In Or Out? I Can't Decide...

Some of you may recall that back in July I signed up for my first ultra. A 24-hour race on just under a 1 mile loop trail. People said I was crazy. I scoffed.

I'm not scoffing any longer. The race is next weekend and I am FREAKING OUT. So much so, that I called my sole sister Cindy (the only person who signed up to do this race with me, btw) today and told her I couldn't do it. I was out. Back in July when it was light until 10 pm and there was no biting wind at night, it seemed like a good idea. Now, it just seems stupid. I gave her my list of reasons for bailing: 

  • I haven't done over a 10-mile long run since Savannah
  • I haven't organized a pit crew for the race
  • I've never run at night. (Is a 24-hour run really the time to be experiementing with headlamps?)
  • I have no idea what to bring regarding food, clothing, shoes, etc. (Food is provided at the race but I suspect vegetarian items will be limited)
  • I am SO out of my element. There are some HARD CORE people signed up for this thing. Apparently, this is a much coveted race for the big ultra runners because it's flat and it's a mile-loop - easy for refueling. A lot of people running this are aiming for nationals or some such thing. I am intimidated beyond words to be near them, let alone running with them. 

Cindy, lovely sole sister that she is, graciously let me off the hook. However, she gently pointed out a few things for me to consider. Namely, that we're not there to compete with the other runners. We're there for ourselves, just to see what we can do. She also reminded me that even though we're both still recovering from Savannah, we're in pretty good shape right now. There will likely never be a great time to run an ultra and this one is flat and--important to me--just over an hour from my house. I like knowing that if I want to bag it and come home, I can. 

There was one thing above all else that stood out for me though. "How many people," asked Cindy, "can say that they ever even attempted something like this?" 

Like a bee to honey. I like running marathons in part because I know I'm part of the 1% of the population that does it. An ultra appeals to my ego in ways I can't even begin to describe. 

But therein lies the risk. It appeals to my ego if I do well. If I go out there and run 15 miles and fall apart, I'm going to be embarrassed and hate myself for it. Which is probably another reason to attempt the ultra. Get over yourself, Dena

The big obstacle for me to overcome is I just feel so mentally unprepared for the race. I thought I'd come back from Savannah and have a month to get my mind around it but I've been busy and have avoided thinking about it and now it's just here, upon me. I'm feeling way out of control in that I've done no planning. But still... I'm thinking about it.

Weather conditions may be the deciding factor. Cold is okay, but freezing or wind or rain will probably mean I'm a no show.

I'm conflicted. Let's put it to a reader vote. What do you think? In or out?