This weekend, I am running the Potawatomi Trail Run in Pekin, IL. There are different options for this race as you can run the crazy distance of 200 miles on the trails, or if you are not that crazy you can run just 150 miles, or 100 miles, or 50 miles… or the fun run: 30 miles.
All these numbers make 30 miles look like nothing compared to 200 miles. I think I still have some sanity left, so I signed up for just the fun run. I found out about this race in December after one of the race directors, Eric Skocaj, finished the Hitchcock 100 mile race in Iowa where I was volunteering at the aid station. As soon as I got home that day, I looked it up, and even though I didn’t find detailed information about the race itself, like maps or elevation charts, I thought about giving it a try.
The race will be in Pekin, Illinois, a state where I haven’t run a marathon yet. If I am able to complete the fun run, this will be my 5th marathon/ultra and also my 5th state. Then, I will only have 45 states to go (HA!). I am excited about running another marathon as well as working toward conquering my dream of running in every single state, and I am hoping this race is as fun as Eric made it sound back in December.
Yesterday, I was looking online for pictures to have a better idea what the trail looks like because I had no clue. According to some descriptions, the trail is a single track in a 10 mile loop near a golf course, which means that I will have to run the same loop 3 times to complete 30 miles. What’s crazy about this is that some people are going to run the same loop 20 times to complete 200 miles! Another cool piece of information I found was that there will be a few sections on the trail where runners will have to adventure crossing some shallow creeks, which translates into: we are going to get wet, some blister may show up at the party, bring more socks just in case!
I will have to drive for 6 hours or so on Saturday morning to be at the start line at 8pm when the 30 miler participants will take off. The most entertaining concept is that even though some of us are going to run so little, we are going to run at night. My headlamp will be my best friend because it will be almost impossible to navigate the trails at night when it’s pitch-black. After the race is over, I am still debating if I am going to set up a tent and sleep in the park where the race takes place or if I am going to drive back home. I guess I will decide on that as soon as I am done, depending on my level of tiredness.
Nevertheless, I am looking forward to running this race because I have been training very hard for it for the last few months. It will also be my first ultra this year, and I am very confident that this race is going to be a blast!