Three days. 97 miles. More than 27,000 feet of vertical gain.
We leave in the morning. My bags are packed, but my legs aren’t ready.
At least I don’t think they’re ready.
When I toed the starting line of the Big Bend Ultra 50K back in January, my legs were pretty close to top shape. I’d had three strong months of training and was ready to fly.
Since finishing Big Bend, however, my training has been in a rut.
I’ve had just two double-digit mileage runs since the race on Jan. 20. I hit a 50K PR at Big Bend, but I had nasty calf cramps for the final 14 miles. Calf problems have plagued me ever since.
Three Days of Syllamo is this weekend in Mountain View, Arkansas. Day 1 is a 50K with more than 7,000 feet of climbing. Day 2 is a 50-miler with more than 14,000 feet of vertical gain. Day 3 is a 20K that, I’m told, is actually a few miles longer.
If it was just a lack of mileage, I know I could still get myself to the finish line all three days. The calf problems are what have bothered me mentally, however. They’ve brought runs to an immediate halt during the past two months, and they’ve been a significant enough problem that they have me heading to Syllamo with some doubts.
I’ve never gone into a race with doubts about finishing before, so that really bothers me.
I expect to run smart, and I expect to finish. But I have to be able to count on my calves to get me through. They’ve felt good this week, in part since I haven’t run since Saturday (when they tightened up again).
I suppose each day is going to be a mystery – which really is part of the point of stage races. What will the course throw at you? What will the weather conditions be? How will your body respond each morning when you head back out for more?
I don’t think my legs are ready, but I hope they are.
Time will tell.