17 July 2013


OK....NINE DAYS till the big day. Burning River 100 mile endurance race. Can you guess how many dreams I have had where I am on fire running through a river? And it's not a cool, domination scene from a Hollywood movie. I'm working on it, though.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't terrified. I am terrified. At the same time, I am also EXCITED.

I have poured over numerous blogs of other runners and I have watched a million videos and clips of various ultra races. I find hope in some and I find the need to run to the bathroom in others.

Bottom line is this: NOTHING I watch/read/hear/research will truly give me an idea of what 5:00am on July 27 will bring to me. Only I will know that at that time and not a second sooner. I can feel like I am perfectly trained and prepared and bomb just as easily as I can feel totally unconfident and get a PR.

WHY am I doing this? I wish I had a quarter for every person who has asked me this. I always come back with my standard answer: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first men on record to summit Mt. Everest. When asked WHY he wanted to climb that mountain, Hillary simply answered, "Because it's there."
There is something to be said about just DOING something. I think in Hillary's mind, "because it's there" translated into "because I can", "because I want to", "because there's something to be said about conquering something that only makes true sense to me".

I love to run. I love the feeling of disconnect I get when I get into a run and forget about everything else going on in my life. It's intensely therapeutic.

But I didn't drop a couple hundred bucks and sign up to purposefully run 100 miles without stopping for some intensive therapy. I didn't daydream about losing toenails and slicing blisters open because it will help to clear my mind. The thought of pushing my body to the absolute limit and once there, pushing farther comes from a deeper, darker place in my psyche. There's a conquer to be had...and a million reasons to have it. I can go into the hokey reasons that I want to do this because it's mine and mine alone to be had, but I am not feeling the want to ponder that deeply right now. Especially since my boys are making farting noises with their armpits and straws:

I am trying not to do my weird OCD ritualistic antics--like if I get through this next stoplight before it turns green, I will make it to the finish line...or if the lady in front of me pays with cash, I will not lose any toenails. I am trying not to wheel and deal with myself over every little detail. I have been told time and time again that my MENTAL endurance will be more vital than my physical endurance.

And THAT, my friends, is what is terrifying. Sure, I am worried about immense pain, losing my toenails, developing blisters, being tired, unlunching my guts on the side of a trail, hallucinating, dehydrating, hyponatremia, crying in front of other runners, etc...

But those are temporary issues. My mind will be with me the entire time. And my mind will not always be on my side. The pain and fatigue will throw me into the dungeons of my mind and it's my heart that will have to pull me back out. And I have one heck of a heart. I know this.

I am FAR more terrified of my mental capacity at this point than I am the physical. I think it's normal to question myself and to doubt myself in the final days leading up to what will be one of the hardest and most glorious accomplishments of my life. How do I prepare for this mentally?

Well, at this moment, I am going to prepare for this by NOT TALKING ABOUT IT ANYMORE! But I leave you with this:
I am a huge fan of the Oatmeal. Matthew Inman must be a long lost relative of mine...his sense of humor is fantastic and perfectly sarcastic. And he's a runner. Enjoy: