It was shortly after running The Portland Marathon in 2006 that led me to the idea that someday I would run 50 miles.
When I first started training for my first marathon in 2005, each higher mileage that I ran was just that much more exciting to me. I would come home and say "ask me how many miles I just ran." and I would say this to everyone. After running Portland in 2005, it was such an exciting and positive experience and that is the way all my runs have been for me.
So it was only natural that I would navigate to the idea of wanting to run 50 miles. When I ran my first 31 miles, I was actually "in training" for my first 50. My not so great idea was that I was going to go from 26.2 to 50. I think I got a little overly excited because I read the book Ultramarathon man by Dean Karnazes twice, he was my hero. I thought I'm going to go for it. Well okay, so I did the 31 miles on my own, just from my house. I did an out and back 9 miles and than an out and back 22. Very exciting, yes I did it. Way cool, but I got hurt due to training errors likely and had to drop out of the Autumn Leaves 50 miler.
The idea to run the 50 miles then went to the back of my head for quite awhile as I decided it probably would be best that I run some more 31 miles. I next ran the muddy Hagg Lake run in February of 2008, ran it in 7 hours and said I would never run again. Hagg Lake is hard. I then ran 31 miles at Wildwood in 2008, that felt better, but that race was just as hard as it rained 1 inch while I was out that, mean people moved the flags and everyone got lost and I was introduced to Lower Macleay Trail steep 2.5 mile start, Firelane 5 and Oil Line Rd. (Know them?, I'll take you) I skipped Hagg Lake in 2009, but ran the Wildwood run for the 2nd time in 2009, but was very prepared this time as I trained up there every weekend and with a map, wasn't going to get lost this time. I returned to the Hagg Lake run in Feb of 2010 and now I just ran the Hagg Dust 31 miler and this was my 6th ultra and I just feel very ready.
I chose Autumn Leaves for my first 50 miles because of the course. It may be boring to some, but I personally need the flatter and predictable course for any first time higher mileage. Going around and saying hello to my car 8 times will not be a problem for me.
Where I may have felt fear in the unknown 50 mile run in the past, I now have accepted that it is now time to move on. I have trained for all my runs with an open mind and have trained hard. I get emotionally attached to each run that I choose to do and always have the belief that I will succeed. Running 50 miles is just another door being opened for me. I'm moving on and it feels great.