Well, it's official...I've fallen off the deep end. I'm a few cards short of a deck. I jumped off the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. I mailed in my registration for the Lean Horse 50K this week and got my confirmation email today. Right now I'm sure of two things: 1) I'm sick in the head and 2) I have no idea what I'm doing (training wise, that is). There's not much I can do about number 1 besides find comfort in the fact that there are people out there even crazier than me. There are at least 100 people signed up for the Lean Horse 50 mile and 100 mile races, so compared to them I'm relatively sane. As for number 2, I took a 16 week long 50K training plan I found online and crammed it into 6 weeks. Probably not ideal, but I justify it by the fact that I'm already in marathon shape and my goal for the 50K is just to finish.
So far, I'm one of only 19 runners registered for the 50K and the only one from South Dakota, which struck me as odd. There are people coming to this race all the way from the east coast to Hawaii, but I'm the only one within driving distance. I have met a few ultrarunners over the past few years at marathons, which they use as a leisurely training run. They are a close-knit (and relatively small) group; it seems that every ultrarunner knows every other ultrarunner. They seem to travel in packs, moving from ultra to ultra and earning belt buckle after belt buckle (the typical prize for completing a 100-miler, I'll get a Black Hills gold keychain if I finish the 50K). I suppose you would bond pretty quickly with someone you ran with for 17-30 hours straight.
This brings up a point of concern for me. I think it's likely that after running this 50K my running future will veer off onto one of two possible paths. Either I'll finish and be content that I gave an ultra a shot or I will be instantly hooked and immediately start planning on my first 50 miler. I'm not really sure which outcome I'm hoping for, but I'm inclined to believe it will be the second. For me, running has become what heroin is to a druggie; I'm always looking for a bigger hit and better high. Running my first (or second, or third, or fourth....) marathon certainly didn't satisfy my addiction, so why should I believe that running my first 50K will have a different result?
What in the sam hell have I gotten myself into?