So, three weeks ago I did a long run in the cold, right on the training schedule for the Austin Marathon on Feb 20. The fun of frozen bananas notwithstanding, it was a long lonely plod in the cold. During the run, I wondered if I could find a more interesting way to do one or both of the two remaining long runs before Austin, the first of which is due this weekend.
Rooting around on various websites, I found a marathon in Mobile, Alabama this weekend which looked appealing. But I couldn't really justify the 13 hour drive one way, even though I would pass hundreds of my favorite roadside eateries along such a drive through the South. Plus, either my wife or I needed to drive son Matt back to college this weekend as he begins his final semester next Monday (that, in itself is amazing).
And then I found it.
This Sunday is the 16th running of the Illinois Fat Ass 50K in rural McNabb, Illinois. It is about 2 hours southwest of Matt's college in the middle of nowhere. I emailed the organizer, he confirmed the event and the setting, so I'm going to take a shot at it.
As a Fat Ass-style race there is "no fee, no awards and no wimps." The course is on country roads on the Illinois prairie using a rural Junior High School as a base of operations. We'll do a one mile loop to the east followed by (hopefully) three trips on a 5 mile out, 5 mile back winding road to the west. The nice thing is that if I have some issues, I can drop out at 21 miles and still hit my targeted long run for the day, only having done it with some other people. If I'm feeling good, I'll go for the third trip out and back and do 31 miles. If I succeed, it will be my first 50K and my first bona fide ultra (I did 27.5 miles in a 6 hour race a few summers ago but I don't really count that as an ultra). Not to mention, I can leave my bananas in my car and grab one, unfrozen, each time back.
Temperatures are supposed to be in the 20s throughout the race, with full sun. Let's hope for minimal wind. The 20s are just fine to run in, so long as the wind isn't pounding along.
I'll update FB after the race and have a longer discussion here. I'm optimistic and feeling good, yet I understand how long runs can take strange turns at unexpected moments.