In two weeks, I'll be running in my first 62 mile race. And no, I am not a dyslexic marathoner. This will be my first 100 kilometer race. The Miwok 100K is a very popular trail race in the Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco. Most people will think this is insane, especially people who have trouble driving 62 miles. When you add in the fact that the race has 12,000 feet of total elevation gain, some people may just stop talking to me altogether! I usually have to explain to people that I'm not running the whole time. Running up all those monstrous hills are reserved for the elite runners. "Back of the pack" runners like me will be walking most of the uphill portions (unless I'm still feeling frisky near the end). My primary goal will be to finish the race within the 16.5 hours I am given.
I have completed 5 50 mile races, 8 50K races, and 2 marathons, so I'm no stranger to the running gig. And for the past 10 weeks, I've put in some relatively solid training miles. I am more prepared for this race than I have been for any other race. So why am I having moments of complete terror? It must be the taper madness I hear so much about. Normally I am so terribly under trained that I can go out there without any expectations and have fun! Now that I am prepared, anything less than a finish would feel like a complete failure! I know this moment of negativity and fear will pass. Anyone have a magic pill that cures taper madness?
If I could create a pill to cure taper madness, it would have to contain special drugs to remind me of all my blessings. The drugs will have to also give me a photographic memory of all the things and people that inspire, support, and believe in me. It will remind me that no matter what happens at this race, I am still an amazingly blessed human being. My beautiful daughters could care less about how well their daddy does. And even though my wife is not a runner, she supports and believes in me. If she thinks I'm crazy, she sure doesn't show it!
And lets not forget about my running friends, both old and new. Not all of my running friends are amazing ultra runners, but almost all of them have amazing ultra hearts (sorry to get all mushy on you). So many of you inspire me simply with your love of running. It shows in your blogs and your comments. Mother Theresa once said, "We cannot all do great things, but we can all do small things, with great heart." Likewise, we cannot all run at super speeds or super distances, but we can all run at our own speeds and distances with gratitude, respectful humility and grace.
I'd like to thank all of you that have inspired me and have supported me over the years. In two weeks, I'll be at the edge of another epic adventure; one whose outcome is still very much unknown. I know that regardless of how well or poorly I do, all of you that matter, will still support and believe in me. For that, I am truly blessed.
And a big congratulations to all you Boston Marathoners for your epic races! Your speed and toughness is very inspiring! And good luck to all of you with your upcoming races! I know a lot of us are currently residing in Taper Town!
Here is a breakdown of my training mileage in the last 11 weeks:
Week 1 34.5 miles
Week 2 30.1 miles
Week 3 25.3 miles
Week 4 36.1 miles
Week 5 28.2 miles
Week 6 39.1 miles (Way Too Cool 50K)
Week 7 34.4 miles (20.25 mile trail run)
Week 8 50.2 miles (24 mile road run)
Week 9 38.0 miles (21mile trail run)
Week 10 45.0 miles (35 mile trail run)
Week 11 28.2 miles
I know many runners who run a lot more than I do, but with 2 young children, this was about all I could muster. I took off two days of work to get in my last two long trail runs that took practically all day. Leaving my kids all day for training runs makes me feel pretty guilty. Taking off work to run all day made me feel only a little less guilty. Once Grace (my 1 year old) gets a little older and less dependent, it'll be easier for me to go on these little training runs.
Grace turned one only 3 weeks ago. Here is a picture of her on her first birthday. She is about to chase me down and tackle me, while growling like a tiger or giggling like only an excited, cheerful baby can.