Bandera 100k, Pre-Race
A certain nervous excitement sets in when you're about to take on a race longer than you ever have before. It doesn't matter what distance it is, or how prepared you are or aren't. I had the same feeling before my first marathon, my first 50-miler, and even my first 5k, which seems laughable now. In the weeks leading up to the Bandera 100k, and especially now, the day before, here it is again.
My worst habit when confronting this is to eat too much, and I may have done it again. I convince myself I NEED to eat until I'm full, because I need the extra energy. All I wind up with in the end are extra trips to the bathroom and extra minutes on my finish time.
The Bandera 100k happens to be held on the last Saturday of Winter Break, which meant I had two weeks off beforehand, which helped prevent stress from piling up. Miraculously, I even managed to drop that last kg before race day, despite the holiday season. And with more hours in the day, I did a better job of consistently stretching and doing strength exercises, enough that it felt like I'd turned a corner just before I started to taper down.
A good friend let me borrow his van for the weekend, which was necessary to get there in the first place, but also provided another huge benefit: lodging. Originally, I'd planned to camp out in the park, which meant dealing with near-freezing temperatures and perhaps a sore back at the start line. The cold is still there, but not as bad from inside a van, and there's enough room in the back for a twin mattress! Good sleep will be my secret weapon.
It turns out the aid stations are even better stocked than I'd anticipated. In particular, I'd psyched about the gels, granola bars, and lubricant at each one. I'm still going to leave drop bags at half the aid stations, but might not use them at all.
I spent some time this week watching videos people had made while running the course in years past. Two things stood out: 1.) The course is noticeably rocky, and 2.) People sure do walk a lot (maybe that mostly applies to people who bring a selfie stick along). One of them showed a group of runners going out for pizza and beer the night before the race. Are you kidding me??
Later on, I met a guy from Colorado, sleeping in his car, parked near mine, who had a goal of finishing in ten hours, like me. I just might see him a few times tomorrow...