So with 2 days to go I've made up my mind that I will run the Ridgeway this weekend. I mean what have I really got to lose. I think I would lose out on a whole lot more if I didn't run in terms of the experience. You can learn so much about yourself from a single run and I think Saturdays race will be no exception. It's all very well going into a race fully focused and ready to hit the trails in super confident mood but it's perhaps when you are a little more unsure about things that you really start to learn what it's all about.
It's quite unlike me to be so indecisive about things so we will just have to see how it all plays out. Not sure how I will try to run it yet other than do the usual go with how you feel on the day strategy and see what happens. I think the build up to ultras are a strange affair and so different to other races especially the 'marathon'. I guess what I'm saying is that there is no build up, not in the heightened sense of putting so much on the line for just one race. With ultras you just kinda rock up, do your thing, and move on to the next one longing to get that same mad rush and intensity that you felt from the last. I think (actually I know) that I'm only just starting to figure out what they are all about; how they make you feel during a race and between races, and why you always come back for more. And I'm not sure that I get it yet. Perhaps I will find more answers this weekend however I doubt it as it's more likely that I will end up with more questions as to why. I think this passage from a recent UTMB newsletter sums it up quite nicely for me...
"Why did you embark on this hellish adventure? We have no idea why we are taking on the mountain in this way….dozens of kilometres and hours, endless passes to cross, hundreds of metres of positive height gain, hundreds of thousands of strides. This is what awaits you, and you wonder maybe, in any case we hope you ask, "Why?". The answer is, doubtless, in the question. You are there precisely to understand why you work like that and not otherwise, why you have pain in your muscles, why the gels do not work, why the guys in front go up faster than you, why the refreshment posts so seem far away, why! The Ultra a poses many more questions than it resolves, and this is, paradoxically, its great strength. Each question generates another, in exactly the same way as one step follows another one. We acquire not only the humility of one who knows nothing, or not a lot, but the force of
curiosity, which draws on information and continues drawing on it. One now has an idea of our passion for studies carried out concerning the ultra runner. They are endless, they allow us to advance, and will help you, maybe, to advance a little farther still".