Fear, Paralyzing Fear!

I need to stay off of the interwebs. Bottom line, end of story. For some inane reason I have decided it’s a good idea to search for race reports for the two ultras I’m signed up for. I’m attempting a 50 miler in May in prep for my big race, The Georgia Jewel 100 in September. The 50 miler should be less intimidating, but the elevation profile (which includes the Dragon’s Spine, a portion of the notorious Duncan Ridge Trail), makes me nauseated to think about it. Reading race reports of people that have won other ultras, and have struggled through this event feeling completely defeated, makes me feel very unworthy to toe the line.

I am intimidated by the following (in no particular order): nighttime trail running (namely due to fear of being mauled and/or eaten by bears, mountain lions, etc), missing the cutoff due to my snail’s pace, getting lost (especially at night) and falling off a peak of Dragon’s Spine to my certain death, and basically just being completely embarrassed by my utter and total lack of business being out there competing in such an endeavor. Don’t get me wrong, there are way harder events out there, but I’m not signed up for them, and I have only ever done one other 50 miler.  The elevation gain in the 50 I did do was, well, close to 0 with very non-technical terrain. I’ve done a few trail 50k races which were more technical, but nothing close to this. I’ve hiked a portion of this course and it was slow going, to put it mildly.

That having been said, I’m excited by the prospect of such a challenge. I’m looking forward to doing something different on absolutely breathtaking trails that I have come to love. My favorite thing to tell myself when I start to feel unsure is, “if other people can do it, why can’t I?” I am jumping into this race relatively last minute given the magnitude of the distance and terrain, so I’m going to do my best and shoot for a safe and happy finish. And pray for no run-ins with hungry, carnivorous wildlife…

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