Saturday, February 16, 2013
So I may have signed up for a 100 mile race.
Correction, I definitely submitted my name for entry into the 2013 Ancient Oaks Endurance Run. That’s right, 100 miles. 100 miles over roots/sand/dirt and other lovely things. 100 miles of beautiful green oak trees, turtles, armadillos, and giant banana spiders.
Ancient Oaks – December 2013.
To prepare for this endeavor I had a 60 minute phone consultation with an ultra running coach to go over my history and whether or not she thinks it’s even realistic. The result of that phone conversation led me to say, yes, it’s realistic. Not only is it realistic but I’m going for it, 100%. I am going to run 100 miles this December and it’s going to be at the Ancient Oaks 100 in Titusville, Florida.
There’s so much I want to write about this, but there are two things that struck me in terms of seeming to be of the utmost importance. The first is a reflection and the second is an action.
On the phone, the coach asked me why I wanted to run 100 miles. I had a billion reasons in my head but at the moment I couldn’t seem to formulate one. There was nothing concrete, just a knowing of this is what I want to do. But her question spurred me to really think about it over the last week.
The Umstead 100’s (another 100 miler) website has a guide for first time 100 milers (http://www.umstead100.org/First%20100.doc). The guide states the following;
First, you should examine deep inside of yourself to decide if you have the determination and perseverance necessary to train for and then run a 100 mile race. This is not an undertaking for the faint hearted or those who are not willing to endure pain, suffering and many lonely miles of training. There is no dishonor in simply being a marathoner; less than one percent of all Americans have attained that achievement. Second, do you have the time to commit to the effort? Take the time you devoted to training for a marathon and easily double it. Think of your family, will they support you in this time and energy consuming undertaking? On the plus side, ultra running tends to be a big family undertaking. Many families combine ultra events with family vacations. Third, take on the challenge only for the personal satisfaction you will realize by success, for 99% of ultra runners that is all there is at the attainment of the goal. If you are still with me, you are ready to begin a journey that will culminate in your achieving what will be one of the most satisfying moments you will experience in life. It is an honor that no one can give you. It is an achievement that must be attained the old fashion way; you alone must earn it.
Again, that question of why. After mulling it over for the past 4 days I’ve come to this realization. I am a person of extremes. I like dichotomies. I like being the one who “beat the odds” the one who “shouldn’t have made it”. I’ve gotten into so much trouble in my life doing things that really should have permanently messed up my life, and yet, here I am, with a successful career and a healthy body at 23. It makes no sense. I like that. I like not making sense, in a good way. So I suppose it was only natural when I started running that I’d tend toward the extreme. From 3 weeks after my first run, I had my sights set on a marathon. Before I ever crossed the line of my first marathon I had my sites set on a 50 miler, and before I ever even signed up for my first ultra, I knew that the 100 was where I belonged. It’s strange, almost like being homesick for a place you’ve never lived, but that’s what it’s like. I can’t wait to be “home” when I finish 100 miles in December. That is where I belong. Don’t think this makes any sense? That’s the point :-)
So in conclusion, I want to run 100 miles because it doesn’t make any logical sense, and as such, makes perfect sense for me. I can’t wait to reach that realm of the unknown, where your physical strength is gone and by all accounts you shouldn’t be able to go on, and yet you do, because… well… you just do. And you finish, when you shouldn’t, but you do. This is me. This is who I’ve always been, and who I’ll always be, and I like that. No, I love that about myself.
So now that I answered the question of “why” the next most important question is “how”? How does one go from running a marathon (or 37 miles in my case) to 100? Herein lies a lot of questions I have no answer to. My 60 minute phone conversation this past week answered a few of them, the most basic ones but if I were to guess, I’d say I have a very long 10 months in front of me of answering the “how” part. She (the coach) did give me one very good tip however that I’ve already started applying and that will stay with me throughout my training the next 10 months.
I asked her when I should start training for this thing, how long a typical 100 mile training plan is. Without hesitation she said “tomorrow morning, start tomorrow morning”. I kind of laughed and she responded with “I don’t mean you need to go out and run 100 miles tomorrow, but you need to make that mental switch now. You need start wrapping your head around 100 miles at this point in time, you need to push the envelope in every area of your life. Push yourself longer, and harder than you previously would. You need to get used to being tired, and uncomfortable. You need to develop the grit that will get you through when your body can’t, and that starts now.”
So, THAT starts now. I have a half marathon tomorrow. Normally that would mean I would take today off. I didn’t…. even though I know I can’t run if I want to perform well tomorrow, I DID do a spin class. And then I threw in 15 minutes of corework after for the hell of it.
It starts now.....
And on that note, I changed the background of my phone to this (somewhat of a paraphrase of what she said to me on the phone as well as a little addition of my own, a message to myself)