A week and a half out, all thoughts turn to VT. This will be my second attempt at the 100 mile distance, perhaps my first finish. Perhaps not. But I do have good reason to think that my chances this year are a bit better than last.
Last year I got pulled out at Mile 70, and with good reason. I tried to run too fast and blew up. More specifically, my stomach blew up. I was too focused on finishing (perhaps even finishing in under 24 hours!). This year I am focused on the journey. It's going to be a long day on the dirt roads and trails and I plan to make the most of it. At the very least, last year's experience taught me that speed is useless (at least for me) and the slower I go the better my chance to finish. I really have taken that lesson to heart (and stomach and leg).
This year Susan and I will walk ten minutes out of every hour right from the start. We will walk each and every incline regardless of steepness. As they say, we will start slow then taper off. They give you 30 hours to finish this beast, and if it takes all 30, well then so be it.
Susan's parents are going to crew for her; her dad and husband will alternate as her pacers. I am going crew-less this year (though Susan's parents will of course cheer for both of us). As of now, I don't have a pacer. I think this is the way to go for me. I hate to think of people out there waiting. It makes me subconsciously (and sometimes very deliberately) try to go too fast. I will use drop bags and lumber from aid station to aid station in my own good time. I can see where a pacer could be welcome company during the nighttime hours, but solitude has its rewards as well. Too bad I can't bring Eddie.
Brian and the kids will be at the finish line to pick me up. We are staying at a lake house across the border in NH during the week following the race. I can only imagine how wonderful it will be to see all the little faces that Sunday morning.
My hamstring is well on the mend. It no longer hurts when I run and I have started a few slight strengthening exercises so it doesn't knit back together in a funky way. I am even stretching the darn thing. Who has time for this!?
Next week will be all about tapering and drop bags. What to put in, what to leave out? This stuff makes me nuts. I don't have a good system and I leave it all to the last minute. Perhaps this year I will reform. Perhaps not.
I just can't wait to get started!
On the news front, I see that the Pittsfield Death Race made the NYT. (Check out the accompanying video!) These are some of the same people who put on the Pittsfield Peaks Race, among others. The story focuses on Joe, a guy I ran with at Pittsfield. I think I called him an endurance freak. Sounds like I wasn't far off the mark!