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Just Signed Up For My First Ever Ultramarathon: WTF Am I Thinking?

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Mail-in registrations for this year's JFK 50-Mile Race in Boonesboro, Maryland opened up on May 1st. Given my recent struggles with my lower legs, I'd kind of given up on the idea of running the race this year. A funny (?) thing happened this past week: I've had a couple pain-free weeks of training, and a good friend of mine put a Facebook status up about possibly registering for the race. The combination of those things resulted in me giving him a call, making what is essentially the equivalent of a suicide pact, and dropping my registration in the mail on Wednesday evening. Just like that I've been pulled back in.

Over the course of the next thirty weeks I will be trying like hell to get back into shape, lose the extra ten pounds that I'm carrying around on my frame, and figure out how in the world I'm actually going to cover fifty miles in under twelve hours. Having a friend along for a lot of the run will help, but I have no idea how far along we'll stay together: he'll be coming off an Ironman three months prior to the race so will likely be in far better shape; I'm a stronger runner than he is. Our plan as of now is to run the race together as long as we can and just finish. Whether we'll manage either of those things won't be known until mid-November.

I've spent a lot of time the past few days with a barrage of 'what in the sam hell did I just do?' thoughts running through my head (watching the race course flyover isn't helping my fears, either; DC doesn't have hills). I'm not sure if I can finish the race, based both on inexperience and my recent lull in training. But I know that I'm going to work my ass off and give it my best shot. That means reading up on the topic, making sure I run trails from time to time, eating well, and doing other bodyweight exercises in order to strengthen my core. It'll also mean a reduction in drinking, an increase in sleep, and far more attention paid to things like 'hydrating' and 'electrolytes'.

Mostly, it means I'm standing at the bottom of a ridiculously intimidating hill trying to figure out how tiny me will ever make it all the way up there. The bad news is I'm venturing into territory that I'm not in any way familiar with. The good news is it's something plenty of people have done, and they've done so just like anything else: one step at a time.