First off, the 100K distance is a formidable, but doable challenge. For those who don’t know, it is 62 miles. Seems like a lot, but you won’t be going in to the night and getting sleep deprived like a 100 miler. The training is tough, but doable as well. My longest training run for this was probably 35 miles, and I just logged lots of 20 mile runs and 4 runs that dipped into 30 miles…not much more than a marathon’s 22-24 milers week after week.
Next the course. Simply put, it is gorgeous. The scenery is ever changing and there are views. San Fran, the ocean, little clusters of cottages. The course looks like it was landscaped in grasses and wildflowers. It will never be 90 degrees with 90% humidity in the Bay area. The trail is smooth the whole way, so you can enjoy the views without watching for obsacles to trip over. After the landscaping part, you climb into a eucalypus and redwood forest. Little wildflowers cover the moss and look like a fairytale land. On the way back down, there are parts like a little rainforest. In between, you get the grass ridges. So, yeah, I was never bored.
Also, this is a true “ultrarunner’s” race. Folks travel from all over for this one, so you meat a lot of interesting people. I ran for most of the first 38 miles, took a little break and walk a couple miles, run up to 50, and than ran/ walked until I had just 7 miles to go. I was pooped, and decided to hike it on in those last 7. Another runner named Ed came up behind me and we started talking and he convinced me to run with him those last few miles. It was funny that in just those few miles, we managed to talk about so much. He was from Alaska, and we recounted our various running adventures, and then just talked life in general. We finished, just barely qualifying for Western States, and ended with a huge sweaty, smelly hug (remember, we’d been running 13+ hours at this point), and then poof, Ed was gone into the post race festivites and I never saw him to say good bye. That’s how ultras are and one reason why I enjoy them so much. Somehow the physical and mental fatigue just leads to deep, engulfing conversations. It’s a very bonding experience, and I’ve come to realize there are so many interesting, warm and fun people who do these things.
Anyhow, I am not there this year, obviously. I hope to be back someday.
Just a quick thought….while I don’t generally go for the budda/ philosphy stuff in yoga class, I do like one of the reoccurrent themes of freeing yourself from want and longing. I am not really sentimental, and like laughing at situations more than thinking about them, but I am really trying to work on being happy where I am , with who I am, and not wanting for more. It’s tricky and challenging to stop and reassess when I start thinking that I wish I could do such and such, or so and so is so lucky and why can I not be like them… Just a little something to think about. Yearning for more doesn’t feel that good, but enjoying a moment does.