An Athlete's Diary
I read something the other day that made my race. It hasn’t even started yet but I’ve got my mindset heading in.
Once we cross the line at Gooseberry on September 11, 2015 I will be entering into a long tunnel. This tunnel is 103+ miles long and the only way out of it is through the other side at Caribou Highlands in Lutsen, MN.
I don’t plan on any bad things chasing me but they will be if I need them to. Last year the theme of my finish was support. It will be no different this year although the support will be.
With my finish in ’14 I feel like I am now in some special club of ultra runners. I don’t make the club special. The runners who made up the club before me and the ones who will join the club after me are the ones that do that. This club is full of a champion’s mindset.
Let me share briefly what all goes into training for finishing a 100 mile footrace. First of all, what will do you in? Will it be the chaffing? Maybe you’ll get behind on calories or the temperature dropping near freezing will get you. Will it be poor planning? We can anticipate all we want and once we step in the tunnel it could all turn out differently than our mind prepared.
What about the mind? I’m often asked what it’s like to experience 100 miles on foot. My response is the same as it would be about running a marathon. It’s the same except that the frequency and depth of walls grow exponentially. In a marathon most runners cross one or two walls. When running 100 miles it’s difficult to count and frankly, why would I waste what little energy I have counting them.
How about the sleep deprivation? Well, it’s real and anyone who’s gone any length of time without it can attest to that. The headlamp has a dizzying effect on everything. The trail moves and the trees sometimes spin. Animals appear that don’t even exist. At least I don’t think they do.
Then, why do you run 100 miles? Don’t you know that you’re crazy? Well, yes I do know that. Don’t you know that you’re crazy too? It’s always something. My response was because I was practicing pain and the ability to overcome it. When we voluntarily put ourselves in positions where we want to quit, and don’t, we automatically gain confidence in our ability to persevere and carry on. I would say that reasoning has shifted to sharing time with the incredible community of people that make up any ultra running event.
What’s next? On Friday, September 11, 2015 I’ll enter into a tunnel where the only way out is 103 miles through to the other end.
What do I look forward to most? The unexpected excites me more than anything else. What barriers will present themselves? I don’t know. Superior ’15 will be an experience all its own and I look forward to sharing it with many amazing people!
What inspires you?
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