Thursday, March 23, 2017

Seven reasons why I will finish my first 100 miler

Well, technically it should be eight reasons with the first one being that I really enjoy running. Since it is to be expected that this pure in the moment joy will be greatly diminished  during the course of a 100 mile footrace, I want to focus on the seven additional reasons that will keep me going when all I really want to do is stop. All but two of my races to date went somewhat smootly. Both of my rougher experiences came at the 50 mile distance. One was due to a combination of mostly heat related factors such as chafing, stomach distress and overall fatigue and tightness. The other time I was just hosting a pity party for myself for no particular reason other than the fact that I didn't feel like running another 1 1/2 loops of the four loop 50 mile course just to prove that I can finish it. Although I did finish all of my races to date, I didn't always deal with adversity too well mentally. One might argue that picking an eight loop 100 mile course (the Lumberjack Endurance run in Port Gamble, Washington on April 8th) was not a smart idea with my dislike for looped courses, but then again ultrarunning is about overcoming adversity right?
So here are the seven reasons why I will finish the race and dare I say have fun doing it:
1. I will remind myself to be in the moment at the first sight of self pity and loathing. "Steady breath, shoulders relaxed, get out out of your head, notice your surroundings, smooth out your stride".
2. Speaking about smooth strides. The closest I ever came to having a mantra is: "Easy, light, smooth, fast" ... I adopted that one from Caballo Blanco of Born to Run fame.
The whole paragraph goes something like this:
“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”
3. I have been a fan of the sport of ultrarunning for a number of years now. The 100 mile race distance is made out to be this mythical beast of self discovery. I am finally ready to find that out for myself. A quote that very closely corresponds to this idea comes from William James who to the best of my knowledge was not an ultrarunner, but rather a 19th century American philosopher.
"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction."
Wouldn't that be something?
4. More self talk. It will go something like this: "If I quit now it's back to the drawing board. It will take a lot of time and dedication to get back to being this close to finishing a 100 miler in the future. I did everything right to get myself to the startline healthy and fit enough to have a realistic chance at finishing the race and supposedly if you're not feeling like heck at one point or another during a 100 mile race, you're not doing it right."
5. I will also remind myself that I owe it to my family to take advantage of this opportunity. They supported me along the way and put up with this crazy hobby of mine. Plus, they granted me the time to come down here and run myself a race. I should honour their generosity by doing my absolute best.
6. I owe it to anyone who is injured and would love to be in my shoes if they could. I have a few running friends who have been sidelined by long injuries. I should honour them too by doing my absolute best.
7. I want that danged 100 mile finisher's belt buckle. Societal pressure is real. I'll likely never mount it on a belt, but that's not the point ... or is it?
Keep an eye out for my next post on this blog "x reasons why I did / didn't finish my first 100 mile foot race".
Actually. I'll finish. I'm strong. I got this. See what I'm doing here?
Here's the actual post: Lumberjack 100 miler race report

Happy Trails,