So, if I 100 miles isn't my best distance, why do I plan to run 3 of them over the next 10 months? Well, what about ultra running makes sense? I can remember finishing my first 50 miler and thinking, "That sucked! Never again!" but waited no time before throwing my name in the hat for a second and a third, and within 6 months for a 100. There is something about these distances that makes absolutely no sense but is very hard to resist. Obviously, I haven't figured out how to gracefully finish a 100 miler yet. And as much as I claim to dislike the distance, I want to figure it out. I want to race and finish one, without the last 30 miles turning into a death march. I've started 4 100 milers and finished 3. Bighorn was my first, and I tried to drop out starting at about mile 50. I was not successful in dropping, although I wish I had been, and it turned into a 50 mile run, followed by a 50 mile hike. I then ran MMT, where I had a good race except for the last 30 miles. Wasatch was next, where I dropped at the half way point. Then another MMT, where I had a great race except for the last 30 miles. Those last 30 miles are the most important, though. They are what make for a great 100 mile race.
|MMT 2009. Before the wheels fell off.
Photo by Aaron Scwhartzbard.
My strategy to date has been to go out fairly hard and then just hang on. So, I've gone out strong in hopes of running while I still can, with the belief that I'm going to be crawling the last 30 miles no matter what pace I start out at. I don't believe my body can perform after 70 miles, regardless of the pace at the beginning. I have yet to try out an alternate approach. So, it sounds like there are 2 things I need to work on, one being trying out a different strategy, and the other believing that I can persevere through those last 30.
Coming up over the next 10 months, I'm signed up for Pine to Palm, HURT, and Western States. Pine to Palm starts this Saturday in Williams, OR and finishes in Ashland. A new event, the course climbs over 20,000 feet, and descends the same, with 3 "epic" climbs. I would love for P2P to not turn into a death march. I like to run. I don't like to slog through the last 30 miles, shuffling in for a finish. Here's hoping I can figure out how to have that kind of day that will get me to Ashland running.