Well it’s race week! After 4 years I finally made it here and Friday I’ll be toeing the line at my first 100 miler. I’m 100% healthy and haven’t even had a little niggle or anything all summer which is a great feeling. I believe that’s 100% due to my more balanced approach to training. I definitely don’t feel over cooked.
Before I get into my goals I have to say thank you to my amazing wife, Maggie. None of this would be possible without her support and encouragement of me chasing these goals. We both work hard to train while not sacrificing any family time. It’s not always easy to pull off but we make it happen. I also have to say a HUGE thanks to my awesome mother-in-law, Lucy. She’s always more than willing to hang out with Fi so Maggie and I can spend some quality time together on the trails.
When it comes to my goals for the race I’m taking what I’ll call the “Jim Walmsley” approach. When he did his pre-Western States interview he put it out there that he was going to go after the course record and the win even though it was his first 100. He then went on to say that he had a tiered approach his goals for the race. Go for the course record, go for the win, finish in under 24 hours, and then just finish his first hundred. I respect that a lot.
I am taking a similar approach… however… I am by no means aiming for taking down the course record or going for the win. I just have a number of goals for the race and plan to aim for my #1 goal and when/if that goes sideways I’ll start focusing on the second goal. I believe this approach will always give me something to shoot for no matter how good or bad my race in going. so here we go.
- Be Competitive – One of the reasons Run Rabbit Run appealed to me was the deep and competitive field. It’s no secret… I love to race. Even though I may not be racing up front with some of the fast, way more experienced dudes, I like the nerves, vibe, and hype on the starting line of a competitive race. That’s why I’ve raced the North Face 50 mile championships twice in the elite field. I was in no way in that race to actually compete for the win but it was a blast toeing the line and sharing some miles with the dudes who were. I don’t know what being competitive means for me right now though. Top 10? top 20? Top 30? I am guessing I’ll figure that out in the first 50 miles of the race. I want to race the people around me but by taking a conservative approach. I plan on always doing my own thing. Never chasing. Never digging into the red. Just do what I can do and hopefully that will put me a place to be competitive. If it doesn’t it’s not going to make or break my day. It’s my first 100 and I don’t want set my expectations too high but I am the kind of person that would rather shoot for the stars and come up short as opposed to not taking the shot.
- Finish in under 24 hours – I think this is a goal for a lot of people. If the race starts to get away from me and “being competitive” isn’t a reality I am going to focus on crossing that finish line in under 24 hours. It will give me something to shoot for and also keep me motivated.
- Just F’n Finish – If finishing in under 24 hours slips by I just want to get to that finish line come hell or high water. I will have drop bags up high in the later stages of the race where the temps will likely be in the 20s, or colder, stocked with plenty of warm clothes. I am not going to let poor planning cause me to drop from the race which has happened to a lot of people in the past. I am confident, unless something unexpected happens that even if I have a poor race I can get to the finish line in 29:59:59… but I guess I’ll find out in a few days.
- Have FUN! – This is more of an overall goal and could really be the number one goal. I know I am going to have low spots… plenty of them… and the odds of me nailing my first 100 are slim, so I am expecting the worst and hoping for the best. I really want to remain aware of the fact that I am just so stoked be out there running and reached a goal, running 100 miles, that is 4+ years in the making. I know maintaining the “just have fun” attitude is going to be very hard to maintain when it gets really hard but I am going to do my best to keep reminding myself to “keep your head up, keep your heart strong” (one of my favorite Ben Howard songs).
So that’s it for goals. I listened to Tim Tollefson’s post race interviews (irunfar and URP) after his epic race at UTMB in his first 100 miler. A lot of what he was saying about his approach to his race and how he pulled it off really hit home with me. Sarah Lavender Smith (a host of URP) also had a great post recapping Tim’s interview with 10 great takeaways… it basically outlines exactly how I am approaching this race. Again, I am not putting myself on the same level as Tim or saying RRR is as hard at UTMB but I can takeaway a lot from his approach. He talked about how he’s gone out way too hard and sabotaged some of his races by doing that which is something I’m pretty good at too! It’s just fun. At UTMB he went out really conservatively, hiked early and often, and talked about checking his ego and controlling his emotions. Those are things I also want to focus on come race day. I know a lot of dudes will be running way faster than me but I don’t plan on chasing them… even though that would be really fun! I really want to stay within myself. Another thing he said about how he approached it was to look at it like 120km adventure and then a hard 50k to the finish. That’s is a great way of looking at running 100+ miles especially since this will be my first time ever running over 50 miles. So that’s my plan as well…. a 75 mile adventure and try to finish the last 30+ miles strong (using miles here because my race is in ‘merica). I know that’s a lot easier to type than to pull of but that’s my plan and I am going to do my best to stick to it.
We head to Steamboat later today and then Friday at noon is go time. So stoked… and nervous. I am really looking forward to doing a a race that actually instills fear in me. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had that feeling. If you’re interested in tracking here’s a link with all the info: http://runrabbitrunsteamboat.com/athlete-tracking/
Here’s a killer video from last years race: