Mile 59: Dawn of a new day.
I signed up for this race because it has an 11 am start and I could get a good night’s sleep beforehand. So why am I wide awake now at 3? Oh, right. Eight months of twice-my-usual-volume training, eight days of stressing over logistics, and eight hours of driving across state lines, all comes down to the next 30-something hours. My first hundred-mile race and hopefully my first entry into the big belt buckle club. Or maybe not. Did I train well enough? I’m certainly well above the level needed for any of my previous 50-mile races. I’ve been having some intestinal issues lately. What about those weird knee twinges I had on Monday and Tuesday?
A lot of things to worry about, packed very efficiently.
Oy, why can’t I sleep!? What if I can’t get a good night’s sleep the night before? There are so many decisions that could be wrong. Is changing shoes at mile 82 the right strategy or should I have planned on changing them at mile 67 instead? Did I remember to put the Body Glide in that drop bag? What about the time cut-offs at the different aid stations? Is my projected timeline realistic? What happens if I have to drop out at some point? Be honest, it’s a very real possibility. Will I have the fortitude and forgiveness to try this again or will I have to live with my DNF for the rest of my days? I’ve done all the pieces, but never put them all together. Will I have the heart to go through all this training again? Eight hours until go time. Plenty of time to think about it.
Brian and I at the start. Nope, no nerves here.
Fast-forward seven and a half of those hours and we’re sitting in rapidly-shrinking puddles of shade in the tall grass, marinading in sunscreen, nerves, and over-jovial starting line buzz. It’s hot and only getting hotter and the late-morning start is seeming a little excessive now. Maybe a 9 am would have been sufficient. Minutes to go and all I can think of is the volumes of advice I’ve gleaned from friends, gurus, and books: “If you think you’re going too slow, slow down.” “The best way to run 100 miles is to take it really easy for the first hundred miles.” “Relentless forward progress.” “You can’t bank time in an ultra.” “Win one for the Gipper.” “With your shield or on it!” Continue reading