ultra runner, 50 mile race, Mississippi 50, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running
50 Miler Training,  Running,  Trail Running,  Ultra Training

Final Thoughts Before the Mississippi 50

Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day I’m supposed to run my first 50-miler. Tomorrow night I should be the proud owner of a shiny belt buckle.

Instead, I don’t know what will happen. My groin/hip is still fussing at me when I walk, and I haven’t run in two weeks. I have 12 hours on a soft, flat, easy surface, so my plan is to walk/run/crawl for as long as I can. I’m stubborn as hell and want to think positively, but I’m also realistic and bracing myself for a DNF. I’m pretty sure that no one else expects me to finish. And that’s ok, there will be other races.

ultra runner, 50 mile race, Mississippi 50, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running
The Roller Skate is ready for an adventure

I had a dream the other night that I actually finished MS50. I woke up proud, but terrified. Somewhere in my dream it hit me—I’m trying to run 50 miles. 5.0. At once. Double a marathon. 20 miles more than my longest run. The fuck am I thinking? Why exactly do I want to do this again?

Since that night, I’ve been obsessively making mental checklists. Clean car? Check. Cut toenails? Check. Shave legs? Check. Borrow headlamp? Check. Run uninjured? Er…

ultra runner, 50 mile race, Mississippi 50, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running
Obligatory ultra hydration selfie

I have moved from casual, “I’ll run the 20k loop and stop and drink beer if I’m hurting,” to “holy shit what do I need to do to prepare?” mode. I’m scrambling (totally unnecessarily, mind you) to gather clothes, drop bag contents, snacks, music, and car buddies. Now I just need to find my cool, and my common sense.

ultra runner, 50 mile race, Mississippi 50, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society, trail running
Trail running – Lululemon-style

This all may be for naught if I can’t finish, but better to come prepared, right? And I’m still super excited! Nothing beats a day on the trails with friends and the fun-loving ultra community. Here’s to a great weekend, regardless of the outcome!

Any advice for a first 50? Or running a race when you’re not 100%?


  • Emily

    Hats off to you. 50 FREAKING MILES. To even think of it! And what you’ve accomplished already? DANG! My only advice to you would be, since your hip/groin isn’t in top shape, to tread very lightly and put your health over the desire to complete your goal now. Those artificial hips aren’t all they’re talked up to be. Put off needing one of those for as long as you possibly can, ideally forever. Hope you’ve have a doctor with lots of more-than-regular check ups on your support team too. You’re in extreme athlete territory now, so follow the other smart extreme athlete’s med team practices as a good example.

    • Tanya

      Thanks Emily! And that’s a great point – my belt buckle won’t be nearly as exciting if I sacrificed my health to get it. And I don’t do needles well, so an artificial hip would suck! But make me Bionic Woman 😉

      I’m lucky to run with some great doctors, so I’ve been taking their advice. Tomorrow I’ll go out there and enjoy the day, regardless of the miles logged 🙂

  • Rachel @ Running Backwards in High Heels

    Girl!! I am so proud of you for even ATTEMPTING this. I have full faith that stubbornness will prevail and you will get your shiny new belt buckle. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear all about it.. just know, that no matter what happens out there, we are all still SO PROUD and what you are attempting is an amazing feat! Enjoy the friends, the camaraderie, and the BEER. 🙂 You got this! Tell that pesky hip to STFU!

    • Tanya

      Aww, thanks Rachel! I wish you were coming along with the RR crew – we’ll miss you for sure! I may need to find a way to go to the Tuscaloosa Half just so I can hang out with you 🙂

      And YES! I’ll be the girl in the woods screaming STFU at the top of my lungs to my hip. It’ll happen. I’ll take a picture for proof.

    • Tanya

      You’re right Courtney – I figure if I don’t get my hopes up too high, then I won’t be too disappointed if I need to drop. Realism FTW!

      Hopefully I won’t need to, but I know who to turn to for hip advice come Monday 😉

  • Al DiMicco

    The other night, I’m watching the news and they show this private plane flying and a frickin’ goose or something comes crashing through the cockpit window. The pilot calmly landed the plane. The reporter asked him how he stayed so calm. The pilot say he remembered 30 years ago when his instructor told him if something goes wrong, “just fly the damn plane”. You’re obviously set on doing this run, so put everything aside, take a deep breath, and “run the damn race”. If you’re bound and determined to do it, then don’t waste energy worrying about it. Do the best you can do, DON’T WORRY ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE, and when it’s all over, all it was is a run…that’s all! I’ll be thinking of you.

    • Tanya

      Al, thank you so much for this analogy. I kept thinking about it over and over when I was walking those final six miles – I was like, “if the pilot could fly a plane without a window, I could suck it up and finish this race!” I’m sad I couldn’t finish the full 50, but like you said, it’s just a run and I still had a BLAST!

  • Tim

    Wow…50 miles? Recovering from injury? You are a tough lady! I wish you all the very best for a gruelling race/crawl. Whatever happens, I hope you enjoy the experience, whether you DNF or become the proud owner of a new belt buckle. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  • Emily "Sparkles" McCoy

    I think the first Emily said it perfectly. It really comes down to risks versus rewards — don’t psych yourself out if you ARE physically up to it, but definitely be conscious about causing long-term injury if you aren’t. My fingers are crossed that it’s all rewards, Tanya, but remember — you have the rest of your life to run, and it’s very likely that your peak years are still in front of you!

    • Tanya

      You’re so right Emily! My goal was to finish (whatever the distance) without being hurt permanently, so I made sure to stop before that happened. It was tough because I wanted to keep going, but there will always be another race!

  • Jesse - Questionably Texan

    I’m a little behind the times, but i hope it went well for you this past weekend! I guess I could always go look at the race results, but that’s seems slightly stalker-ish since we’ve never met, so I’ll just wait for the next post on your blog (and then I’ll be four days behind on my blog feed again).

    • Tanya

      Hahahaha, stalker is my middle name! I have so many online friends that I *do* look up their finish times and either cheer or sympathize with them. Plus, I’m sure we’ll meet IRL one day, especially if you can plan an extra hour or two in BHM to run!

      Recap is up 🙂

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