Well, this should be interesting.
My race this weekend (Boulder Field 100k) has kinda snuck up on me. And with only a couple days left until the start this Saturday, I am remarkably ambivalent about the whole endeavor. This shouldn’t be the case. This is a new race and a completely new distance for me. It’ll be the second longest race distance that I’ve ever attempted. I should be very excited and more than a little nervous about pinning a bib on for it. But I’m not. Not even really a little bit. This is what frightens me more than anything as it seems I’m starting to take these distances for granted. While I’ve started to build up a decent base level of ultra experience (18 finishes over the past 3+ years), I’m not experienced enough to be this indifferent to a race of 62 miles that will take me 13-15 hours to complete.
[insert ominous foreshadowing music]
There are several things working against my normal pre-race mental hype buildup.
- This is not a goal race. I’ve already had 3 goal races already this year (Umstead, Old Dominion, Eastern States) so I’m done racing for the year. For my goal races, I have a significant amount of time and effort invested in a certain outcome whether that’s time for the first 2 or merely finishing in the case of ES100. I don’t have any performance expectations heading into Boulder Field so there’s less to get all antsy about.
- I haven’t trained for this race. And when I say I haven’t trained, I mean the longest I’ve run since Eastern States is 5 miles and I haven’t done more than 20 miles in a week. The entire 5 weeks has been about recovery. So similar to #1, I don’t have a lot of effort invested in Saturday.
- This wasn’t on my calendar until recently. Even though my wife was signed up for the 50k, I held off from signing up for the race until after ES100 because I wasn’t sure what shape my body was going to be in. I’m a long range planner by nature as demonstrated by my 10k goal which will take about 30 years to achieve so normally I know about a year in advance which races I will be doing. When you’re looking forward to something for that length of time, you tend to have a lot of mental energy tied up in it. Five weeks? Not so much.
So basically, this an expectations free ultra for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever had one of these. Even my shorter tuneup races have had a certain level of expectations built into them whether it’s posting a certain time to “prove” (yes, despite my growing level of experience, I can still be an idiot about
most some things) or trying to set a course PR to demonstrate to myself that I’m getting better at this ultra thing. The last time, if ever, I’ve done a race with this low of expectations is when I’ve done STRIDE 5ks with my son. And that was because that was his race, not my own. Saturday is really all about hanging out on the trails with some friends I’ve never met before while enjoying the outdoors and then chilling at the campsite that night with my wife with all the other runners.
Though there’s also a chance that the race is all about dragging my half-prepared, out-of-shape body around an unknown course. While that’s not something I hope happens, at least it’ll be a more interesting race report to write. Here’s hoping that four days from now I’m posting the most boring race report ever written.