A week from now, I'll be running the Santa Barbara Endurance Race 100 miler.
Ok, there, that's off my chest.
I haven't been thinking about it nearly enough. I have been... but I haven't been. There has just been so much other stuff floating around and through and over my noggin... but frankly, me not thinking about it makes me nervous.
Being nervous, in turn, makes me think about it... so, problem solved? Perhaps. Maybe not.
It's a bit of an unknown - some would say a large unknown. It's the first year this race will be run, following two years of the race being advertised (as the DTRE) and then canceled/postponed for what were logistical reasons, I believe.
On the up-side, the runners this year have been getting regular, detailed updates from the Race Director regarding what we can and can't expect on the trail. In terms of communication, the RD is doing a great job so far.
As for the course itself, there have been a few changes made, most recently at the request of the Los Padres National Forest Ranger due to the above average rainfall we've had this year. We've been e-mailed the final route, and while the elevation charts and aid station maps have yet to be posted, in the meantime I can get busy learning the route.
Challenges I foresee with this race:
I'll be crewing myself. This both thrills me and worries me. Thrills me because for me, the ultimate challenge of a 100 miler is the mental aspect, and being without a crew will force me to be even more self-sufficient and draw on my own reserves to get through. It will be a great test for me, considering the emotional lows I felt in the last two 100 milers I participated in.
For the same reason, it worries me - but ultimately I would rather go for it than shrink from it. Let's see what happens. I'm determined to see this one through.
I will miss my family out there, though - that much I know. Let it be all the more motivation to get to the finish.
Nutrition. As much as I like to think a handful of ultras makes me a pro, I am still figuring this one out. In both my 100 milers I have begun weaving and getting wacky after 50-60 miles - due to the physical symptoms this would seem to be due to an electrolyte imbalance.
I have a fuel plan in place, but the important thing will be sticking to it.
Water. In an infamous prior race from this Race Director, the aid stations ran out of water. Due to the RD's demonstrated diligence after this event, however, I'm optimistic that he took this as a very tough lesson learned, and it will not happen on this course.
That said... I will be packing bottles of water in my drop bags. It's just too important to chance.
I'm hoping it all goes smoothly on the day!
Oh, one more thing... I'll be sleeping in a covered wagon at the camp site the night before the race. It's literally a covered wagon. How cool is that?