Tomorrow is the big day – my first 50 miler! I have never run this far, so I’m mentally getting ready for anything. I’m ready for the hurt, the elation, the beauty of my surroundings, I’m ready for feeling terrible, and I’m also ready for feeling awesome.
In my planning for the possibility of my stars aligning and having the race of a lifetime, I arranged for a friend of mine to meet me at mile 35. My game plan for this is to be patient and consistent the first 35 miles, then when I get to the aid station, my mantra will be ‘come alive at 35!’ From there if I feel like I have it in me, is when I’ll start pushing and counting road kill. (For all you non-runners, ‘roadkill’ is a person you pass. I count them for fun. 🙂 )
I have never had a pacer of my own, but I was a pacer once for a good friend of mine this summer. Through all my pacer homework (listening to pacer specific podcasts on Trail Runner Nation and UltraRunner) I learned that it’s really necessary to state clearly and early on what you expect and need of your pacer.
I covered this needs list with my pacer last week, and I couldn’t help but notice how awesome that felt.
Here’s the list:
1 – Don’t ask me how I’m feeling. Ever. By mile 35 and beyond I’ll feel like shit. I should feel like shit. That means I’m doing it right.
2 – Run behind me. This is for two reasons. First, I don’t like running behind anyone. I don’t concentrate as well, and I’m constantly wanting to pass you. I need to set the pace, focus, and be in front. Secondly, they can watch what I’m doing, which leads to my third item on this list.
3 – Watch me to make sure I’m drinking at least every 15 minutes, and eating every 30 minutes. When my mental switch flips and I’m on the hunt, I tend to forget everything else, including my nutrition plan.
4 – You can talk, but I reserve the right to tell you to stop at any time with no hurt feelings. Deep into a run emotions can really turn on a dime with me. One minute I can be enjoying listening to a story about your dog/kid/vacation/whatever, and the next minute I have an internal shift and I need to buckle down my focus, and I need you to stop talking. Right. This. Second.
Now isn’t this refreshing? Saying exactly what you want and need, and know with absolute certainty that it will be done? That’s the beauty of us running crazies. We’re willing, and actually excited to do this sort of thing for each other. We know that we may see some emotional displays, and some really dark moments out there, but once we’re across that finish line it’s all hugs, celebratory beer, and remembering a lot more of the good parts than the bad parts.
I’m so happy knowing that all day tomorrow I will be in my sweet spot. My happy place. Surrounded by nature and my soul tribe. And it all ends with a beer, hugs, friendships and food. Life is good. Very good.