Yesterday I went out running with Dustin and I took on final look at K2. That was the plan to see K2 one more time before Saturday's She Rocks The Trail 50k. On the way down to No Hands Bridge we were running around 8:30/9:00 minute miles. Of course it is down hill and felt really good to just go with it. It was also great to be running with a friend again as most of my previous runs have been solo or with Traildog.
At the base of K2 Dustin and tried something new, something he learned from a fellow ultra runner. Before we started climbing we both started sucking on a hard piece of candy, jolly ranchers was the choice that day. The theory behind this is to help distract our minds as we climb up the ever so steep K2. And you know what it worked. It was a welcome distraction and I even asked him if he could make sure to have some at the aid station next Saturday.
On K2 I remained calm and focused and took it all in studying the climb one last time. We didn't climb all the way up but instead explored the Pig Farm trail that would connect us with the Western States Trail and eventually back to No Hands.
Pig Farm trail was really steep going down, but it was pretty cool to run it. Made me feel like I was in the middle of no where with all the green foliage. We connected back with the W.S. trail and continued the descent to No Hands. I took it rather easy on the descent just enjoying the return trip as my main focus was actually K2 and to keep it nice and relaxed on the return.
I know that this descent will allow me to make up some time come race day, but it can also cause me to blow up my quads. It will be a fine balance come race day how fast I take this, but I would really like to make up some time here as I know the final 4 miles will be a test of my mental power and readiness.
The last 4 miles as I ran them I tried picturing myself on race day and how this section would look like. There could be many different situations, I could be feeling really strong, or really low, or just trying to get by. I would like to feel really strong, but I know that no matter what is going on I can finish strong as I have run this section a lot and each time I have felt differently. I even ran this section on a major bonk so I know what that feels like and guess what, I finished it running strong. So it can and it will be done.
I know where the final mile marker is and I know that I will just need to remain focused, taking one section of trail at a time and not getting ahead of myself. I will be breaking it up into small manageable/attainable goals. I will be challenging myself, pushing the limits at times to see where my fitness and mental game are.
Running is not just about my physical capabilities it is also about the mental game. How strong am I mentally? That is the true question. I have been practicing on my runs keeping the negative thinking out of my head, to remain positive and calm. To run the way I am capable of running. To believe in myself and to believe in my own greatness. To keep pushing and moving forward. I know that in July when I run the Tahoe 50 I will be testing myself physically and mentally there so now is the time to practice. Seeing myself doing it before actually doing it. I also have to remember to enjoy the moment, because it should be fun. To go with the lows as I know there will be another high! It is going to be a Great day on the trails next Saturday and I can't wait to test myself.