"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!
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!
Godiva President's Column for March
1 month ago