Saturday, March 26, 2011

One week away . . . Umstead100

"I've almost got it made!  Just got to claw my way to the top of this damn 'Cemetery Hill' one last time!  Damn, it's getting steeper every lap.  I'll bet all the other runners have been getting handfuls of dirt from the bottom and carrying them to the top.  Almost there . . . just keep my head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Just keep moving.  Is there any part of my body not hurting?  I don't think so!  There . . . take THAT Cemetery Hill!  Not far now!  Finally . . . there is the turn!  Just one last time through this rocky section.  Now just the short climb up the stairs to the finish!   There it is!  I DID IT!  I FINISHED the Umstead 100!  YESSSSSSS!!!"

That is pretty much what I keep trying to picture in my head.  Trying to see success . . . Picturing myself doing this!  Trying to develop a positive frame of mind.

In a way, I guess I've already succeeded.  I mean, I'm going to start this race . . . with full intentions of finishing.  I've survived my training.  I'm healthy.  There is a lot to be said for just getting this far.  But just starting won't be enough for me on this one.  I've got to break new ground!

Realistically the odds are stacked pretty high against me completing the full 100 miles.  I know that.  But I've got four secret weapons . . . my pacers!  Eric Pate, Scott Wingfield, James Stephenson and Cam Kelly!  I've told these guys, my job is to finish four laps getting to the 50 mile point.  From there on, it's up to you all to get me to the finish!  That's putting a lot on them I know . . . but they can take it!  If it's at all possible, these guys will make it happen for me!

I'm pretty sure that by myself I would mentally fold 'like a cheap pup tent.'  I would start thinking negative thoughts, dwell on my pain and my need for sleep.  And slowly I would decide to quit.  But these guys will do their 'dead-level best' to keep me in the game.  They are my 'ace in the hole!'  My chance for success.

But whatever happens . . . happens.

I've never gone further then 50 miles.  Once, I was just trying for 50 but the other time my goal was to run 100.  And I failed miserably!  So . . . at Umstead my minimum goal is one lap past 50.  62.5 miles.  I promise I'll be happy with any distance from 62.5 on.  Really!

My training has gone fairly well.  Way more than my first 100 mile attempt.  I'm not trying to run a time other then just beating the 'ghost of the 30 hour cut-off.'  I should have done more training probably.  Since January 1st I've run three 30-35 milers and two weekends with back to back marathons and at least a marathon every weekend except three (and one of those I ran the 20 mile miler at Uwharrie).  Experienced ultra runners tell me that the training I've done should be adequate.  I sure hope they're right!

Bottom line: I want to earn an Umstead 100 buckle.  Bad!

I'm sure there will be more goals after this.  And new challenges to try.  But I do want to be able to say 'I finished a 100 miler.'  And the Umstead 100 is my chance!

Don't count me out!


  1. Frank, as well as your pacers, you have lots of friends out on the course who will be willing you to the finish. Put your stubborn head on, and start plodding - think of it as 15 Golden Corral buffets with a short jog between each stop. See you out there buddy, and I look forward to seeing you collect your buckle.

  2. look forward to seeing you out there next weekend. You have done well with the training. Now it's time to execute the plan. Not sure if you've ever gone back this far in the archives but here is an essay i wrote for tips on 100's for mortals.

  3. Joey - That is a great post you did in 2007! I'm working on my mind . . . but my body should be okay!! Thanks!!

  4. With 3 hundreds now under my belt - I agree with every word you said about the "Mental Preparation" and the "Race Strategy". Great post Joey - thanks!

  5. You CAN do this, Frank! I'm so excited for you and cannot wait to see how things go! Since you have all the pacers you need, I will be a "phone pacer", LOL!

  6. As I will be out there with you, I will help push you all I can. I wish I could help give your body a rest and pull you in a little red wagon, but I know that is not how you want to beat Umstead. I will give you all the encouragment that I can. You are going to succeed. You have a great crew/pacers. They are going to take care of you. You just conentrate on continuig to move forward and they will do the rest. I am confidenct that you will succeed and that the buckle will be yours forever. See you Friday night.

  7. You will kill it Frank. I'll be thinking of you as I run my tiny 10k :P Can't wait to hear about it.

  8. You will do great Frank! Looking forward to reading your epic race report.

  9. You've got this! You are incredibly tough and have the right attitude. My husband and I will be at the second aid station from 2-6 so let me know how I can help. Can't wait to see you and find out how things go.

  10. Good luck in Umstead.. I was just up there for the trail marathon recently.. the pain will go away but the memory lasts forever. :)
    Gotta Run,

  11. Frank, Slow and steady will get it done. It sounds like your training was great so watch your hydration and nutrition. I completed 3 hundreds last year and had to push through doubt every time, but none of these moments were tougher than Javelina. If you want to read about it here is the link.
    When you think you can't, you can. When you don't want to, you will. Sounds like you have lots of friends helping you which is awesome. Ask them to give me a hoot too, I will certainly need it. Look forward to meeting you out there. Peace EricG


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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.