I have done two of them before - but......that was 15 years ago AND they were on asphalt - this is on a trail - trails have rocks and roots - R2 or "R Squared".
Those are two major differences. But I can't dwell on the past or the fact that things are markedly different now than then. The fact is that some things are better and some things are worse (example - I'm in better overall fitness now than I was 15 years ago but I haven't trained as much for the ultra part of this run as I did 15 years ago).
I do KNOW that my body can handle the distance - maybe that's an illusion but I don't think so. It's merely a matter of how long it's going to take me to cover those 50 miles and the inconvenience I'll be causing those who support the race. It's liable to take me 17 hours to do this. I do not like the idea that other people will have to "hang around" to wait for me. But, they will probably never find anyone as grateful to them if they do and if I complete this run. They and all the other folks that have been supporting me and cheering me on are my real heroes and idols. I have never felt so supported and encouraged and accepted by anyone in my life as I have with this group of phenomenal people. I can't find enough words even to describe what they mean to me.
Thus, I have to put my worries aside and just concentrate on the task at hand - actually it's two tasks - one is to stay UPRIGHT which any of you who know me and my running sagas know is a challenge in itself because I can (and have) tripped over a bump in the asphalt. And of course the second goal is to complete the entire 50 miles.
But I want to make this about the journey and not about the end result. And this is a lesson we all need to apply in life - if we depend on the end result to determine our joy then we might be sorely disappointed or unhappy. Let's say that I don't finish the full 50 miles but do 40. If everything was dependent on "finishing 50 miles" then it would be a total loss. However, if the joy and happiness I experience is dependent, not on the ultimate outcome, but on the journey so far and the journey I'll step into tomorrow then two changes happen - 1) I can make it successful just by changing my mental attitude and 2) it will definitely be a success because I will be running (which I love), it's a beautiful course (I'm so glad I went out and ran on it last weekend) and most of all the people there are wonderful and full of love and friendship. So how can it possibly be anything but a success? It can't. If my training for the New York City Marathon last year had all been dependent on the final outcome of finishing the marathon, I would have "wasted" an entire year because the marathon didn't happen. But it was anything but a waste because it was my journey back into running and training and applying discipline while building my body with the greatest personal trainer in the world and applying discipline that I wasn't sure I still had. Most importantly, though, it got me out of the office finally - and I continue to struggle daily with not falling back into that "come early, stay late" mentality that plagued me for over 4 years.
And last but not least - tomorrow is a special day for at least three terrific folks - 1 will be doing her 350th marathon, another her 300th and a third person will be doing his 52nd marathon in a year (this man is so deserving of that because he's such a gentleman). These accomplishments, in and of themselves, are worthy of my being there just to celebrate with them. So no matter what happens in my story, my world, there will be great things happening in this group on Saturday.
Learn to look at everything from different perspectives and discover the best way to approach them and your life will be so much happier.
I'll see you on the other side of 50!