Alllllrighty peeps! The time is here. I am packing my bags & heading out the door for Howl at the Moon, an 8 hour ultra. Major nerves have me tied in bunches right now. As much as I run/race, yes, I get nerves before almost every race. Some more than others. I think I have a little more to be nervous about this year, as I am, for the most part, doing this race on my own. Last year, and with most races, I had a friend with me. We traveled together, roomed together, etc. etc. We actually didn't run together, not except for maybe the first few miles. After that we each got on our own pace and always seemed to miss each other throughout the day. Not until we were done did we get to really sit, talk & be with each other again. I will miss that companionship. That friend is such a special, near & dear, friend to me! She is off having a vacation with her husband....sheesh, some people's priorities.....(haha, you know I'm kidding)
I feel myself starting to ramble. Focus Carmen. FOCUS! The sooner I get this done, the sooner I get on the road.
So if you don't know what this race is all about, let me get you up to speed. It's an 8 hour timed ultra. Normally an ultra is a set distance, 50, 100, etc. miles. Instead of a set distance you have a set time, 8 hours in this case, to run as far as you can and/or want to. Some people come and have a certain distance they want to finish and once they hit that they are done. Others, like me, want to see how far I can go. Yes, I will stop & take breaks. Some planned some not. Yes, I am sure I will walk at some point.
The course is held at a state park, it includes a 3.19 loop. Complete as many loops as you can/want. At the end of each loop is a set of tables with counters. Every time you pass by you holler out your number to your assigned counter and they keep track as to how far you have gone. Last year as I passed by my counter she looked at me nodded and said "I see you number 48" and I saw her mark down my lap. I smiled back & waved, then looked down at my number. I was not number 48, I was 82. I looked at the lady next to me. She was not number 48 either. I had to cut back and ask my counter if she meant me, she said yes. I told her my correct number and she then realized that she made a mistake. She had given credit to the wrong number. Good thing, I was paying attention! They say counters have the final say in scoring. If I had waited to correct her it might not have counted. Not that running 3 miles less on paper would make or break me, but it would eternally bother me that I was incorrectly scored on my first ultra run ever.
Out on this loop is an aid stop. They have Gatorade, water, a bucket full of ice water filled with sponges, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, licorice, etc. etc. All yours for the taking when/if you need it. You can rely on this aid or use your own stuff along the way. I do a little of both. I am camping right along the start/finish line of the loop so each time I come around I can swing over the my tent & other supplies & fuel up as needed.
Ok, enough about the race itself. Let's get to the point of the race, for me at least. Last year I ran this race last year and completed 34 miles. I was very unsure of what I could/could not do. Last year I was also injured. My training was on the better side, have lots of long runs completed. Even then though, my longest run prior to Howl was 19 miles. Then 1month before the race I became injured. Almost to the point of not being able to run at all. I had never been injured before so I had no clue what was going on. I sought advice from a p/t friend, but didn't have time for an actual diagnosis and plan of recovery. I was, in fact, advised to not run this race at all. Seriously I laughed when he told me that. Me? Not run? You might as well tell me to roll over and DIE! So I ran injured. It wasn't that bad. Of course, if you pop enough ibuprofen nothing is that bad. All in all I was very pleased with my 34 miles. I knew....just KNEW I had it in me. I don't know how to explain it, but I can just run. Maybe not super fast, but run, I can.
So this year, as I said in previous post, my running is not going as planned. If you want to call it planned. I have ran 1 half marathon and 1 full marathon. I had been meaning to write a post on my stats, my running numbers for the year so far. Haven't gotten to that yet. In a huge nutshell, I have "only" logged a little over 350 miles. You are having 1 of 2 reactions. THAT IS IT?!?!?!?!?! as, in total disbelief that I even call myself a runner! Or THAT IS IT?!?!?!?!? as, in total amazement because you think I am the best rock star runner ever! I classify myself under the first reaction. I know.....it's a total embarrassment. However, I go back to a previous statement.....I KNOW I have it in me.
In many ways it doesn't excuse my lack of training. Having natural talent and a God given ability, only goes so far. I certainly have a lot of room for more discipline to take me to another level. But remember, I am a mom to my six pack. I'm not shooting for Olympic status, yet. I'm just shooting for Carmen status who is also trying to balance high school - preschool life, and a husband who is out of the country and I've literally had to do it all myself the last 10 days. (Jim & Angel come home tomorrow....I miss them so much! I have survived!!!!)
Alright, shut me up already (don't worry I spared you my rambling about what I'm going to wear.....very important!) & let me get on the road. My goal for tomorrow is 40 miles. I CAN DO IT! While I may not have run as many miles this year I am injury free. Something I was not last year. I also know more of what to expect and that knowledge is very valuable & helpful. So I will update as soon as I can as to how I did. Other wise.....READY OR NOT....HERE I COME!!!!!!