Years ago, when I was running a lot more then I am now (and not mountain biking at all...) I wanted to do an ultra. The "normal" path is do the marathon, then a 50k before jumping into the longer distances. My plan was to skip the 50k and go straight into the 50m race, even back then. After all, a 50k isn't that much further then a marathon and I was running a marathon a month during the spring and fall. The 50k didn't phase me and I was looking for something that would really challenge me.

Fast forward to now. Not running nearly as much or as focused, but that 50m race I always wanted to do is on my schedule. (Yikes!) I was still planning on jumping straight into the 50m race and not doing a formal 50k before the race. I would be running more then the 50k distance through the course of training for Sheep Mountain, but I really anticipated that the first ultra with a bib number would be that race. Turns out, I wasn't quite right about that one. Sometimes, the local racing schedule plays right into the need for distance and time on feet. So Sheep Mountain won't actually be my first formal ultra. That's coming this Saturday.

The Rattler Trail Race, put on by Mad Moose Events. It's in Palmer Park and uses the same course as the Bobcat race I did last September. I loved that course - fun trail running, but not easy in any way. Lots of rocks, lots of short little climbs and nearly all on single track. The time was perfect for me to run the 50k and I signed up months ago without even questioning that it would make Sheep Mountain my second "official" ultra. And now that weekend is here and I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into. I've done enough long runs and rides already to make the distance easy-ish, but am I ready for a 50k, even at a training pace? I'll find out Saturday. Add in the ever changing weather forecast - some saying rain and wind, some saying cold and cloudy - and it will be even more of an adventure. Lots of things to do to get ready, from having a bag of spare clothes at the finish of the first loop to figuring out if I'm going to wear my pack the whole race or just the second loop. A lot of those decisions will be dependent on the weather I wake up to, but I need to have everything ready. It might be my first Ultra, but I'm not new to the running rodeo, just a little out of practice!


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