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The Running Bostonian: It's go time

Posted by Joe Allen-Black  May 6, 2011 03:33 PM

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Part of a series about a running enthusiast who participated in last year's Boston Marathon.

OK. I think it’s go time. I picked out my favorite shorts. I snagged a decent shirt. I snagged a long sleeve just for good measure. Under Armour 3-inch inseam underwear or 1-inch? Probably should make it the 3-inch. Tons of potential chafing over 30 miles of trail. Smartwool toe socks? Check. No blood blisters for me this time. Vibram FiveFingers? Naw. I already decided to go with the New Balance Minimus Trails. Superior protection.

All right. Now. Fuel. How many Clif Bars? Two should do it, right? Better make it four to be safe. They’ll have food at the aid stations though. Still, it can’t hurt to play it safe. OK. Energy gels. How many Jet Blackberry GUs do I pack? Eh, a dozen should do the trick. They’ll have GUs at the aid stations, too. Oh well. Again, better safe than sorry. What about the extra weight? At what point does the effort exerted carrying extra calories cancel out the energy gained from said calories? Dang it. I have no idea. Oh well, it’s all packed now. I can decide in the hotel room later on.

Cool. All that’s in the drop bag. The outfit I can pick on race day morning and wear to the start line. Whatever I deem excess fuel I can leave there for my (hopefully) triumphant return.

Is my hydration pack all set? Basically. I should probably grab that compact med kit. Just in case. Cuts or blisters halfway up Bear Mountain would be a real buzz kill. Water? I’ll fill the bladder of my bag in the hotel. Hydration pack is all set. No it’s not. What about Blistex for my lips and Dermatone for my face? Hmm, probably excessive, right? I can always throw them in my travel bag to be safe, though.

The travel bag! I need the usual toiletries and extra clothes as I would for any trip—how could I forget! OK: Extra shirt? Check. Underwear? Got it. Comfy post-race pants? You betchya. Hoodie? Yep.

SUNGLASSES! The forecast keeps bouncing between downpours and major tanning weather. I had better bring some shades. Which pair? Aw heck. I’ll grab them all and decide in the hotel.

Anything else? Nope. It’s go time, baby.

At 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 I will be starting my first ultramarathon. (And a trail ultra at that.) When I cross the finish line some time (I hope) before the 10-hour cutoff, I can finally call myself an ultramarathoner. After 30 miles, who says I can’t do 50? What about 100 miles? Heck, I could go and do the Leadville 100, a 100 miles of the toughest terrain in America, all well above 10,000 feet. I could even go to Mexico — wait, wait, wait.

I can’t get ahead of myself. Let’s just finish The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K at Bear Mountain, NY, before I run off to hang with the Tarahumara.

Man, it’s finally here. A quick drive to Manhattan to grab my bib and The North Face freebies, zip up to Bear Mountain, and I’m there! All of the training and anticipation and it’s finally here! OK, so maybe I didn’t train as much as I have in the past, but I’ve got a pretty good baseline now, right? Right? Shoot, what if I didn’t prepare enough!? What if I can’t finish!?

No. Calm down. I’ll be fine. I’ll finish. I won’t win. I’ll finish though. Just remember not to get lulled into running someone else’s race. Run my own race. Got it. Remember what Born to Run’s Caballo Blanco says: Easy, light, smooth, fast. Focus on making it easy and then try to be light. Once that’s figured out make it smooth. Handle those three things and I’ll be fast. I will be fast.

Let me write that out on my forearm—just a little motivation for the race.


Awesome. Looks good. I think I’m ready. Yep. I am. I just need to get some sleep and then it’s off to New York in the morning.

It’s go time, baby!

It’s go time.

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