Knowledge v. Keeping An Open Mind

Usually when I try to do any type of seriously daunting task, I prefer to not do any research on it. For instance, when I first took the LSAT, I did absolutely no studying and did great, the same goes for when I went to boot camp. I did research what it takes to succeed in the military, but that mostly applied to post boot camp stage. I do this because I’m what some might call…. A tweeker. That is to say, if I research something, I end up loosing confidence in myself and psych myself out before even starting whatever it was that I wanted to do. I even applied this to my race strategy for my upcoming events; to just keep an open mind.

Then, it came to me that I’m may have to change up my route and training schedule if serious inclines are a part of any of the events I have lined up. So, I investigated my race courses. The two events lined up for NJ: the April Fools Half Marathon and the NJ Marathon both appear to be on pavement and relatively flat. It’s what I have been training for because its what I expected. Outside of the most northern parts of Jersey, my state is by and large flat. Then, I looked into the Virgil Crest , NY 50mile Ultra Marathon.

“Oh dear” were the first two words to come to mind while I was reading race reviews. This event will be drastically different from the first two events. First of all, the run will be almost exclusively a trail run (no pavement). “Ok, cool.. No big deal.”, were my initial thoughts. Then, on I read. The long story short of it is that I’m going to have to run 14,000 ft. up an incline and 14,000 ft. down. What made things worst was that according to the race website, participants that dnf (running lingo for did not finish), stopped at some point during the accent. This is going to seriously effect EVERYTHING.

The biggest hurtle I have to overcome is the negative thoughts that keep seeping in. After all, running isn’t so much physical as it is mental. I then read about what my expected finish time to be after establishing a pr (personal record). So far, my pr for 13.1 miles is 2:10. Not too shabby, but I have enough time from now until race day to take those 10 minutes off my time. If I can drop it down to sub 2 hours, I can safely estimate that for 26.2 miles, it will take me approximately 4 hours to complete. To calculate an approximate finish time for 50 miles, you multiply your pr for 26.2 miles and add two hours to that product (4×2=8+2=10 hours).

I took another look at the finishing times for the top 5 racers. The lone female of the top 5 finishers completed it in a bit over 10 hours and is my age (if you must know… I’m 24). There aren’t a whole lot of women who typically do these type of events (let alone women in their early 20s that do ultra marathons). What I’m hoping for is that she signs up again for this event so I can use her to set the pace (and then to perhaps try to pass her in the last 5 miles… Hehehe).

So, if i thought I had to kick into high gear before…. I just found out I need to kick my training in a gear higher than high gear. I’m not sure what that gear is, but I’m going to soon figure it out as race day for the Virgil Crest Ultra approaches.


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