No need to tell you that I feel a bit gun-shy about Burning River this coming weekend. I used to feel invicible. I used to think that (barring an injury) I could just push on no matter what. I knew that the temptation to quit is always strong, I've felt its siren song many times before, but I thought I could always overcome it. I guess that's one reason we run ultras. We want to find out what it takes to break our will. Mohican bitch-slapped me. I didn't see it coming. My ears are still ringing.
One of the biggest challenge at BR will be the heat. As hot as Mohican was, the course was almost entirely in the shade whereas BR has a lot more road and tow path where we will be running in the sun. The forecasts are for pretty warm weather, but then again, we're running in Ohio on July 30th. It's not like it's unexpected. I'm going to go with a 25 minutes run/5 minutes walk schedule, same as Susitna. My thoughts are that heat is even more debilitating than cold, so I need to recovery time. I will take the time to take care of myself, eat, take my salt and drink. The key will be to keep a good walking pace. When it's all said and done, in the second half of the race, a solid walking pace is not much slower than running, where the term "running" only loosely describe what I'm doing.
For the first time, I plan on not using my Crosslites, at least for the first 20 miles. The first 10 miles are on road, so I want to save my legs a bit and the Crosslites are a bit lacking on the cushioning side. I will wear my Mizuno Wave Ascend 5 trail shoes and plan A is to run the whole race in them. I've never run very long in the Mizunos so I'm not sure how my feet will react. They have a bit of a road shoe feel to them, similar to my old Wave Riders 11. I'll have a pair of Crosslites in both my 19 mile and my 50 mile drop bags. I'll put my old Wave Riders in my 75 mile drop bag just in case but I probably won't use them. I'm still hesitating about the hydration system. Probably start with two hand-held so I get a good start on the calorie intake, switch to the Nathan vest at 50 mile. Something like that.
Still, I'm excited about this race. Nothing else would have satisfied my need for redemption. God forbid I had to wait until September or later to try again. When I was in my teen, I had a car accident and I wrecked my car. I was fine physically but mentally shaken. The next day, my mother told me to take her car and drive for a while. The longer you wait, she said, the worse it's going to be. That's how I feel now. I need to give it another try now. Not just to the distance, but rather the distance, the humidity AND the heat. BR is just what the doctor ordered. My only reservation is the amount of road/tow path, around 25% or basically a full marathon. Personally, I prefer trails, where you don't have that long strip of asphalt/gravel ahead of you. I guess it could mean a fast time, but I don't really care about time for time sake. What does a 24h hundred miler means out of context? It's all about the course, right? It's a little bit like life, you don't want to see too far ahead. You need to be able to imagine some surprises are waiting around the corner or else things can get a little boring.
Like they say, it's all about the journey.