Here is a photo of me doing something I SWORE I would never do again: run 100 miles. Well, more like run 50, and walk/ cry for 50. Well, I’ve been thinking about doing it again for quite awhile, and I think it is time to come out of the closet. Rocky Raccoon 2009 is on. Now, there are a lot of reasons for me to run RR, and a lot of reasons for me to not run it! First off, the reason I even thought about it is I have unfinished business. I can do better. I did Vermont on a whim, and not really trained. I wasn’t totally untrained, having done Miwok 100K 8 weeks earlier, but I’d had a month of doing nothing before I decided to do Vermont. I didn’t have months to wrap my head around the distance. I did do some good psychology before, reading lots of positive race reports, and mentally really focusing, and convincing myself I would finish. Guess it didn’t do much good, because at 68 miles I broke down into tears and begged Stephanie to let me quit. Why? Well, my feet were torn up, my knees were achy, my back and shoulders hurt, I was sick of being out there, I was having terrible chafing, BUT, I was really fine. I wasn’t throwing up, I wasn’t dizzy, I just had a lot of little discomforts I had not accounted for, and they added up to one massive discomfort. So, why would I want to do this again? I am usually pretty good at fighting my own mental demons. In Vermont, I let them get to me , and had it not been for a very good friend pacing me, I would have let the demons win. I feel like this time around I know what I will encounter and can plan for it a little bit. Not saying it will be easy, it’s 100 freakin‘ miles, but I know I CAN get over the really, really rough patch. Also, I don’t know how much longer I can do this crap. Life gets in the way, my somewhat chronic backache gets in the way, and well, I don’t want to look back and regret I didn’t give it a go.
There are benefits to doing RR too. It is an “easy” 100. I don’t need variables like mountains, difficult to follow trails, or remoteness at this point in the game. I know a lot of folks at this one. It is a HUGE uplift to see someone you know and get encouragement. Plus, I love meeting other ultrarunners, and I don’t really like being alone on the trail for huge stretches. This race is full of chances to see other runners. I also have a couple friends I know are doing it that are similar paces to me. Mark and Ryan are in, and we could easily at least start out together. I also won’t book a huge out of town trip and have to take time off work, it will just be a very painful Monday morning after the race.
Now the cons: it’s 100 miles. Can you say ouch? It’s 5 loops in Huntsville, Texas. Try as I might to convince myself it is a beautiful, serene setting, it just ain’t no Rocky Mountains, or Sierras. It’s winter. Now last year, I think the low was like 59. I can do that. Can I do 25 degrees all night at a snail’s pace? My hands get cold at 65 degrees, and when I did the 50 miler there in 27 degrees, my nose ran the whole time, and the skin under my nose got completely raw from wiping it for 9 hours straight. Gee, this is sounding more and more fun by the minute!
BUT, there is something about taking on a challenge just out of your comfort zone, and seeing it through. Nothing beats the feeling of completing something you didn’t always think you could. I am working on an assault plan. I figure I have about another month before I need to have some long runs mapped out. And that is another plus, RR lacks extreme terrain, so I can mix in town lake, and road runs into my training. I remember a lot of long, lonely weekends on the greenbelt for Bandera last year, and it will be nice to plan some runs I can get some friends involved with.
Whew, I guess I am done with my confession. In other news, my Spokane marathon is out, as I have a work related class to attend in San Diego, and my hospital cannot pay for 2 conferences (the joys of working on a skeleton budget). So, San Diego in October it is. I am currently recovering from wearing stylish- wedge heeled shoes to work. I don’t know what in the heck I was thinking that I could wear shoes like that. My run was painful this am to say the least. Kinda pitiful, I want to run 100 miles, but cannot survive 10 hours in high heeled shoes…