Let me start by giving you an update on my husband’s training path. His Ironman in September did not go as planned as his knee (which had been bothering him off and on for awhile) basically stopped him from running the second he hit the concrete (which is much harder than asphalt, a reason you’ll see people running on the road instead of a sidewalk) greenway at mile 8 or so. He took a couple months off and then eased back into running by keeping to the trails. His small blip on the greenway with me at my 110K triggered the pain again, so he’s really been focusing on trails and trail races. So…OF COURSE…he’s wanted to make his next big goal a 100-Miler and give up triathlons all together.
BUT HERE IS THE PROBLEM: His wife is stubborn and won’t let him.
Because I want to do one first, OF COURSE.
I always assumed I’d get my buckle (the token 100-mile completion prize) first because if there’s ONE THING I had on Donnie, it was that I’ve run further than he ever has. SEVERAL TIMES. His longest distance to date is a 50K whereas I’ve done 42, 44, 52, and 68 mile events. OF COURSE I assumed I’d be the first one to run 100 miles! As he’s been planning more and more trail races and talking to friends who do 100-Milers, he’s been hinting more and more at this stupid 100-Miler in Alabama in November and this has REALLY put the pressure on me because I WANT TO BE FIRST, DAMMIT. The only problem is, the one I want to do (the same one I did the 100K at) would be AFTER his so he’d have to wait until 2017 which he was NOT happy about. HIS FRIENDS ARE TRAINING THIS YEAR! He doesn’t want to do it NEXT year!
Now you’re ready for what happened on Saturday when we started day drinking with other ultra runners.
It started with a celebration of Grand Slammers past and present (we did the local Grand Slam – 3 50Ks and 1 marathon – last year) at a local brewery which sponsored the event this year. The topic moved to 100-milers as it does in this type of gathering and Donnie and I brought up the current dilemma – he wants to do a race that is later than the one I want to do. One of our friends brought up a race in Tennessee called A Race For The Ages. We have a local friend who did it and I remember reading his race report and thinking I could maybe do 100 miles there but it sounded like a 1-time event so it wasn’t on my radar for doing it again. But it turns out – due to popular demand – they’re doing it again. Here’s how it works: You get 1 hour to run how ever miles you can run FOR EVERY YEAR YOU ARE OLD. I would get 41 hours to run 100+ miles which would actually even allow me to break it up a bit and sleep in the middle somewhere. I’m 99% I could do 100 miles in less than 30 hours (that’s how long the Pistol gives you, which is another reason I was considering it) so I could get sleep in the middle and still do 101 because I still want to say I’ve done MORE than Donnie.
So we’re all talking about that while drinking and I’m hearing more and more about what makes this race awesome. I already knew it was my favorite type of format for an ultra: Small loops. I like the social aspect of that type of race (the 1-mile loops where I do a 12-hour run every year make the event like a big local party) and the fact that you’re never more than 1/2 a mile from anything you could need. INCLUDING AN INDOOR TOILET. Nighttime running is not in the woods where the monsters live. There’s a very forgiving cutoff. But most importantly: REAL ultra runners like this one too because it’s directed by a man who goes by the name Lazarus Lake and RDs the notorious Barkley Marathons. Also, because of the format, it attracts a lot of famous ultra runners of yesteryear, allowing them another chance at getting a 100-mile belt buckle without having to worry about cutoffs. OH! And speaking of the buckle (it’s the standard 100-mile price) it’s way cooler than the one from the Pistol Ultra and that was always something I was a little unenthusiastic about regarding the Pistol. I know it’s silly, but if I’m going to earn a 100-mile buckle…I don’t want it a huge thing with a gun on it.
2 beers later and I’m leaving the bar with Donnie totally excited about the fact that he might actually get to do his race after all because I’ve found a race that comes FIRST. So we get home, I’m totally buzzing on the last high gravity beer and what do I do? I SIGNED UP FOR THE DAMN RACE. I was tentatively considering doing 100 miles at the Pistol Ultra in 2017. TENTATIVELY. And now I’m signed up to do one in SEVEN MONTHS. Luckily, my friend who was talking up the race the most also signed up a few minutes after I did. He’s done several 100-milers including Western States, so he’s a much higher caliber of racer than I am, BUT STILL. At least I’ll have one familiar face there.
And 30 seconds later? Donnie signed up for his 100-Miler. Which will be in NINE MONTHS. We went from no 100-Milers on the docket to TWO in a TWO MONTH SPAN.
We better get our house sold fast or we’re screwed. All of our spare energy in the next 7-9 months needs to be focused towards our 100-milers, AND NEVER DAY DRINKING WITH ULTRA RUNNERS AGAIN.
(I AM SO EXCITED. EEK. 100 MILES. EEEEEEKKKK!)