I guess I need to start with the name, which has always challenged me. I can never seem to remember which letters are supposed to be capitalized and which not. It’s just an odd look. The second thing is that the name is flat out false advertising. You see the format is a a giant loop. There are a couple mountains on the course so maybe it’s not completely false.

This race has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I haven’t prioritized it for a couple reasons. Primarily because 50 milers aren’t a focus distance for me. It’s not like I won’t run 50Ms as I’ve done five races at this distance on three different courses. I’m just going to plan for hundreds first and there are a lot in September/October that have taken precedent.

The other issue is the race doesn’t allow headphones due to the amount of vehicular traffic on the course. While I can run without music, I much prefer to jam out to my playlist while I race. This isn’t a dealbreaker (obviously as I signed up for the race), but it’s been enough to push other races ahead of it. Anymore I run the first 50 miles of my hundreds without tunes so I’m used to running without music. I know music and running can be a hot button issue for some runners. And I know it seems a little silly to not do a race just because you can’t listen to your AC/DC or Taylor Swift (not judging). But I’m always going to lean into what I want to do and what motivates me. Ultras are too hard and the training too long not to do what you want to do. Otherwise, you’ll end up flaming out of the community within a couple years.

I’m not 100% sure what to expect from a performance standpoint. I’ll have a whopping 22 days of recovery from Buckeye. I’ve done a couple other races with only three weeks between and while it’s enough time for me to recover, it’s not really enough time to recover if you know what I mean. So my expectations are tempered. I just want to finish, which I feel confident I can do (knock on wood). The cutoff is 12 hours or 14:24 pace. This should be doable as my last fifty was 10.5 hours on trails. I’ve been reading a couple race reports from prior years and it sounds like this is a fast course despite the 5,000-7,000 feet of elevation gain. So it’s a good thing I’m not expecting much from a performance standpoint otherwise I would be gunning for a sub-9 hour time and then mildly disappointed when I once again fail to reach my A goal. You know, like the other 55 ultras that I’ve started to date.

So my A goal will be to go out, enjoy the scenery, and have some fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back next week with the most boring race report ever written. If you’ve been following my journey though, you’ll know that’s not the most likely outcome.