Monday, October 9, 2017

26 Days

26 days.  That is how long I have until I toe the line at my next 100 mile race, Pinhoti.  26 days to figure out what clothes and shoes I am going to wear, what I will eat, what other essentials I will pack...  

26 days seems like a lifetime when it is something you have been looking forward to for 8 months now.  If I were a spreadsheet person, I could tell you how many miles I have run in preparation, but I'm not, so let's just say it is a fair amount.  Miles that included an unfathomable number of parking towers and speed intervals.  Miles that included buckets of sweat (remind me not to train for an early winter race again while living in south Louisiana - what was I thinking?).  Miles that included quality time with some of my absolute favorite human beings because running a 40 mile training run together is the best way to discover someone's true character.  And,  I am happy to say that my suspicions were confirmed -  I have the most incredible friends.

These knuckleheads are pacing me.  Don't leave your phone with them or you will get back to this.

And this one is crewing for me.  I am in good hands, and there will definitely be beer.
So here I am entering my peak week of training, facing 75 miles or so of running in record heat for this time of year.  Seriously, all I can do is laugh about it.  I will wrap up this week with a 50 mile run on top of the levee on Saturday with a group of like-minded fools who actually get together and do this stuff for fun, then I get to taper.  I say that like it is a blessing, but I actually dislike the taper because that is when all of the self doubt and phantom pains set in, and miraculously disappear when you get to the race site.

What a tremendous blessing it has been, this training season.  Saturday will be my 5th ultra distance training run (any distance over a marathon - 26.2 miles), and in a strange way, while I am tired and ready to race, I am not in a rush for the training to end.  I decided early on in this training to embrace the journey, and I have.  I have actually enjoyed it, leg cramps and dry heaves included.

So 26 days from now I get to run a point to point 100 mile run on the trails in Talladega National Forest.  We will start at 7 am, and I will finish when I have covered 100 miles, whenever that is.  I am truly happy about getting to experience the 100 mile journey again.  I have completed the distance 4 times in the past, and every time I have learned more about myself and how I deal with adversity.  I can't wait to see what this race teaches me.  My 100 mile experiences have helped to form me in my personal and professional life more than anything else.  I remember telling a friend once when he was training for his first 100 miler, when asked about the distance, "It will scrape you to your core.  You'd better like what you find there."  I am curious to see what I will find there this time.

Happy Running, Y'all!