Like a lot of runners, I spent Saturday checking and refreshing the Western States 100 online feed. I only knew one person doing it this year, and I didn’t really know who many of the top competitors were, but it was a lot of fun to track. For many years getting to this race was my goal. I never made it, and now I think I probably missed my window.
Let me explain…..if you don’t know, this is the equivalent to the Boston Marathon in the ultra running world. Everyone wants to do this race, but it’s hard to get into. Qualifying is actually not very difficult. Any 100 mile finish in the time limit gets you in, or there are 50 mile and 100K qualifying times that are not very difficult, provided you aren’t on an over the top hilly course. I qualified several times…and trust me, I was not the strongest ultra runner. The hard part is getting in the lottery. Once you qualify, you are in the lottery for only a couple hundred slots. Over the years, the odds have gotten worse and worse, and the race gets more and more popular. Last I read it was about 1 in 10. When I first qualified, it was something like 1 in 4. Plus, it is getting to be more and more of an insider, elite event. There are fewer and fewer slots for those who just want to finish, and more and more slots for those who are looking for top competition.
I never put in for the lottery. This race is very expensive to do, and I always felt it would be too selfish of me. Maybe a little part of me was worried about the training too. Obviously I missed my chance at decent lottery odds. I also missed my chance to have the time and flexibility to go for such an undertaking.
Plenty of people with kids run 100s. And really, if your only goal is to finish, and not death march for the last 40 miles, the training isn’t horrendous. It’s not a heck of a lot more than what I do right now. But, it would be more. It would be driving to some hilly areas and grinding out some miles there. It would be pretty much all solo running really early. I suppose if I really, really wanted to I could pull it off, but I’m not so sure anymore.
There are a lot of factors that make me think it’s ok to let this goal go. I wanted to run a 50, then run a 100. I did that. How many people get to say to huge things on their bucket list are done? Many mornings Mark and I start our run by saying “I’m so glad we don’t have 30 miles to run!” Yes, those really long runs are tough! Also, of course I question if taking on any challenge bigger than a marathon would cut into my time with Jasper too much.
A little part of me still wonders if I have it in me to do give it a go someday. I know I am a much tougher runner now than I was then. I have so much more confidence and I am so much better at taking things as they come. 22 mile runs followed by a very active non-stop Jasper day is excellent training. I cannot count the mornings I’ve headed out to run after really minimal sleep, but I force myself to suck it up and go.
So who knows. Never say never, but unlikely. I’ve got to do some fantastic runs, and am still doing them (as I get ready for marathon # 26!). Also, there are so many places I want to visit and run still; places that would also be fun for Mike and Jasper, as opposed to a big trip that is only for me. For now, I’ll just enjoying reading about others who are achieving their Western States goal.
On the home front….a good final marathon prep run the past weekend, despite really hot temps, and all of Texas collectively holds its breath wondering if this summer will be as hard as last summer (104 today!). Jasp is loving his swimming lessons and starts a new therapy this week, which I am pretty excited to see if if helps him with some things he has a hard time with. I’m two for two on my strength training foolishness, and 2 for 2 on yoga this past week. And only 1/2 a cupcake. So let’s see how this week goes….