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Under Pressure

This Saturday, I'm running my sixth Bull Run Run 50 Miler.
(Wow. That's 300 miles worth, in addition to all the training miles I've run on this trail.)

I don't usually stress about ultras. After all, this is what I do for fun on the weekends, and I'm simply not fast enough to worry about anything but running my own personal best. Sometimes (gasp) I decide to just run easy and enjoy the day!

Bull Run Run is different. Regardless of my training, I always feel anxious about this race. More than once I've actually considered staying in bed when the alarm sounded.

My first two years, I ran as part of a team. I took my responsibility as a team member seriously. A team is disqualified if all of its members don't finish. Though I've never been on a team that had a real chance to win, the possibility did exist. That possibility kept me focused on finishing and running my best.

Team "Victorious Secrets"
My first BRR in 2005. I ran 50 miles wearing a thong over my shorts.
It was slick mud, too. The temp dropped so much runners donned bread bags to keep warm.
Post race legs in 2006, the Mud Year
Having fun on trail with friends in 2008

This year, I'm on a female team with some very strong runners, one of whom is a past winner of this race. I'm definitely the weakest link.

This team has a real shot at winning, and I'm feeling the pressure. 

Running along Bull Run (that's Southern for stream), 2009

Time to come clean: My running mojo has gone missing lately. I feel sluggish, and there are any number of things I'd rather do than go out for my long run. This isn't encouraging for my big race in June, the Laurel Highlands 70 Miler.

I'm hoping that being part of a team and spending the day in the woods with friends will bring it back in force. I'll keep my eyes open out there on the trail.

I keep reminding myself I felt unprepared two years ago when I set my big PR. My training this year has been similar. I am experienced. I know what it takes to get these 50 miles done.

Race Week Preparation: I'm getting lots of good sleep and I've given up my evening glass of wine.

My plan: Run steady, get in and out of aid stations quickly, stay mentally strong and focus on my role as a team member when things get tough out there.

My mantra: Relentless. Forward. Progress. 

If you have any inspiring running quotes, mantras, music suggestions or other motivational tricks, please share!

Running through the bluebells in 2010, my big PR year

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