As this race is now 9 (yep, single digits now!) days away, I've been a roller coaster of emotions regarding how I'm feeling about it. Mostly stressed (lots of nightmares in general as well as race specific ones) but feeling better now that I've been reassurred of the presence of awesome friends who are going to make this a hopefully much more sucessful journey.
My friend Mike Palmer, who took me on my first Mt Tam run, my first enjoyable run through the berkeley hills (going beyond Strawberry Canyon), and who put on the Psychedelic Climacteric 50k in August, has promised to run with me for the whole race! He wants me to laminate a cut-off time sheet for the aid stations so that he makes sure I don't get timed out :). This was sort of in exchange for me agreeing to NOT take the early start, so I'm back to having just 13 hours to complete the course! Gulp... Mike is a seriously amazing runner, having just completed his 10th (yes, 10th) Angeles Crest a few weeks ago. He's also done countless other ultras (including lots of other 100s) and so is the perfect buddy for my first 50. I've always really enjoyed running with him, and have really learned so much from him since we met back in March, I think? This will also be good practice, as he's told me that I will get to pace him at Western States next year!!! (how cool is that? I'm already looking forward to it....the lottery better let him in :) ).
In addition, my great running friend Sarah (who I did a back to back run with a few month ago and who just completed the Trans-rockies run) is going to pace me officially the last 13 miles. She's awesome at pushing me, and I'm sure it'll be appreciated to be with someone who has fresh legs when I'm likely going to be feeling less than fresh.
A last addition is that I'm going to have a crew of sorts after all as my boyfriend (the mystery flower man now has a title :) ) is going to come to the race and has agreed to crew (though I don't know that he is actually clear on what I'll want him to do, nor for that matter am I necessarily, but having him there will be so nice!).
Plus, with all the familiar faces of everyone else I know running there, it should be more like a big social event than a crazy frightening scary run, right?
I've been doing lots of pace calculations to figure out what kind of times I should be shooting for, as well as soliciting extra advice from the ultra list, which I'll be compiling on here soon. Overall though, knowing I'm going to have such awesome support makes such a world of difference. Not having my family there was a little dissapointing at first, but knowing now that I'll have my 'running family' with me reassures me that this will be an amazing experience.