The 24-hour ultra challenge is this Saturday and I'm pleased to report I am feeling MUCH calmer about it. I finally got it in my head that I'm just going to go out there and see what happens. If I make it the full 24 hours, awesome. If I make it for 12 hours, okay. If I run screaming from the 1-mile loop after 30 minutes...well... who among us will really be surprised?
I have to say I have been overwhelmed with support from my running community. Friends are sending me e-mails, good wishes, and I have a whole host of people showing up at different times during the day to run a few laps with me and offer encouragement. Given that this race is over an hour outside of Greensboro, that's a quite a time commitment for someone to do on a Saturday. I've been so touched this week by the generosity of my friends. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it - the best thing running has brought me is friends. Wonderful, supportive, fun, loving, caring people. I'm so lucky.
People keep asking me what the plan is and I wish they'd stop because they're freaking me out. :) There is no plan. The plan is to show up. After that, who knows? I've been told (warned) by several ultra runners that I don't DARE do over a 10-minute pace and a 12-minute pace would be ideal. The problem is, not having trained for it, I literally don't know that I can run that slow. I'm going to do my best, pacing myself off some of the other more experienced runners, making sure I don't catch or pass them.
I've also been told to eat normal meals. Eat lunch, eat dinner, then just walk for an hour or two to digest. Again, I've been warned that at some point I just won't want to eat, but I need to take in at least 300 calories an hour. That sounds simple. A little gatorade, and a couple oreos and we're good to go. But those in the know say there will come a point where I'll turn hostile about eating food. And that I'll turn hostile in general. Apparently good manner and being nice go out the window after about 10 hours. (Maybe people should be praying for Blair instead of me...)
The event starts at 8 am on Saturday. Right now, I'm planning on having Blair show up around 7-8 pm. That will be at the 12-hour mark and I'll evaluate how I'm feeling. If I think I want to try making it through the night, I'll send him home at some point with instructions to sleep with the phone by his pillow in case I call at 3 am, begging him to come get me.
As it stands, I haven't even started to prepare. I've got to hit the grocery store for food and water, load music on my iPod, pack many changes and layers of clothing, print out directions, and who knows what else.
But the good news is, I'm happy, and I'm excited.
Let's see what I have to say on Sunday. ;)