Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I write not to sandbag or lodge preemptory excuses, but to simply lay down the facts and bumptiously assert my aspirations for this weekend’s Rocky Raccoon 100 mile endurance run.

Let’s start with training.

I began 2012 in earnest with respectable showings at the 2012 Bandera 50K and Rocky Raccoon 50 mile runs.  Cowtown was a bit rough, but I nonetheless made it through with my sensibilities intact.

I continued the long runs as the summer heat made its forceful leap into the forefront of the forecast.  But sometime mid-summer, my Achilles decided to rebel, as has been exhaustingly documented.

Prolotherapy or the Placebo Effect finally got me back on my feet in October, and I felt good knocking down 26 miles at Ultracentric the following month.

I welcomed 2013 with eight and half hours of wet, sticky sludge with my worst Bandera 50K time yet.  But given the less-than-optimal conditions (in my opinion, at least), I was okay with merely finishing.

So here we are, on the precipice of attempting to run 100 miles for the fourth time in four years. 

My first shot took place in February 2009, when inexperience encouraged me to gut out blisters and chafing issues rather deal with them head on upon their first appearance.  I made it about 77 miles.

Eight months later, I toed the line at the 2009 Heartland 100 in abysmal cold, windy, wet conditions.  Somehow, I managed to finish, albeit in 28 hours and 53 minutes.  I was so wrecked after the race that I had to send my pacer to the finisher’s ceremony to pick up my belt buckle.

In November 2010, I half-heartedly joined Jason for the Mother Road 100, but pulled out early at 41 miles when it became apparent that I just didn’t have the mental fortitude to go the distance.

I took 2011 easy.  I only ran two races – the Cowtown 50K (as a pacer) and the Cactus Rose 50 milerun (where I DNF’d at 30 miles).  I also snuck in a century ride from Austin to Shiner.

2012 was my year to get back to it, but the Achilles injury knocked out ¼ of the year.

The question is: how do I feel going into Saturday’s 100 mile attempt in Huntsville?

Drumroll please…

I feel…

Surprisingly optimistic.

“The hell,” you say.

Indeed.  And I’ll tell you why.

I’ve got nothing to prove.  I’ve run 38 marathons and ultramarathons.  I’ve been to the 100 mile rodeo.  I’ve been bucked to the ground, and I’ve made it the full eight seconds.  Just be smart, tend to hot spots before they become debilitating, and keep moving forward.

All that considered, I’m pretty sure Anton said it best: Running 100 miles is fucking hard.  Period.

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