In a little over a week I’ll be running my first 50 mile race, the Beast of Burden 50 Mile Winter Ultra out of Lockport, NY. The furthest I’ve ever run in one shot before is 42 miles, and that was a couple years ago when I wasn’t in nearly as good shape. I’ve also completed several 8-12 hour endurance events, so I’m excited about the race and the distance. Plus, the terrain is ‘easy.’ The race takes place on the Erie Canal Path heading 12.5 miles East out from Lockport before turning around. Two out-and-back ‘loops’ for me. (Four loops for the 100 mile races who will be out at the same time.)
When I said ‘easy’ above, that’s a joke. This race may be flat, but for those who know Upstate, NY, you know that the Erie Canal Path is a bitter cold wind tunnel during the winter. As of now it looks like the temps will be in the high teens to the low 20’s (F) (with 20mph winds) on race day with a bit of snow falling in the days leading up to it as well as on race day. I’m guessing a couple of inches. Actually, should be a pretty fast race considering that in previous years racers have run through 2 feet of fresh snow.
The big challenge of this race is the cold. Part of the sign-up is acknowledging that you’ve read and understand their 12-page “How to Prevent and Treat Hypothermia” handbook. Seriously. There are heated aid tents at both ends of the race and in the middle, but spending an entire (long) day outdoors in those conditions brings with it its own set of challenges. Sweat can become dangerous. But, you’re racing. Can’t not sweat. So, it becomes a battle of smart layering, hydration, and correct nutrition.
I love that challenge, because my body is not built for the heat. It’s built for cold. Even as a kid I’d spend playing hours outdoors in the winter and be perfectly content. My body falls to pieces running in anything over 70 degrees F. So, I decided to play to my strengths in making this my first 50 mile race. My pacer is lined up for the last 12 mile stretch, final gear is being readied, training went great and I’m now in taper mode – bouncing off the walls and ready to go!
(If you have any desire to come out to the race on Saturday, January 18th, you can find the full info at www.BeastOfBurden100.com. Please note that the race organizers are VERY particular as to where spectators can and cannot be. Please do not get me disqualified because you didn’t read the rules; don’t hesitate to ask me any questions. Race starts at 10am (I know, isn’t that awesome!?). I’m shooting for a 10-12 hour finish. You can do the math on where you’d need to be by when in order to see me. Thanks!)