At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, I and 259 other runners will head off into the darkness of the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest for the Holiday Lake 50K ++. The winner will cross the finish line some 4 hours later. The rest of us will trickle in over the next few hours after that, intent on covering the distance within the allotted 7 1/2 hour time limit. In a road race, 7 1/2 hours would actually be a generous amount of time within which to run 34 miles (a 50K is actually 31 miles but the “++” in this race denotes the fact that a few extra miles have been tacked on). This is not a road race, however – 98% of it will be on trails or dirt roads. That makes for an entirely different experience.
Now, two nights before the race, is when the second-guessing kicks in. I should have trained more. I should have run more on trails. I should have driven down to Appomattox and run the course so I wouldn’t be hitting it sight unseen.
Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. Three very bad words. My only consolation is that I was feeling the exact same way a couple of days prior to running my first marathon last fall. With that behind me, I’m confident in my ability to run a marathon. Now all I have to do is add 8 miles to that and do it on trails instead of roads.
I’ll let you know how it goes….