Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's what I do..

Saturday was the official start of my ultra season. It's a short one, at best, but enjoyable nonetheless.

I've been asked, "how is it enjoyable to be running for X hours/X miles when I can't even watch TV that long nor do I care to drive that far?"

Here's my reply - "we all have our 'thing'".

This, along with doing triathlons, is my thing. I do it for me. I do it because back in 2003, my boss at the time put an entry form on my chair for the HAT Run 50k. I do it because I have no excuse for NOT doing SOMETHING. Am I good at it? eh.. 'good' is a relative term. I enjoy it, so I do it. And I will keep doing it as "I'd rather wear out than rust out."

So back in 2003, I had been running because of triathlons, but didn't own trail shoes let alone ever run on a trail. So I did some long runs in my road kicks and finished my first ultra race in a respectable time considering the conditions were rainy and muddy and I didn't really train for the event. Since then, I've done the same handful of races each year, not wanting to stray too far from home. This was my 4th time at HAT and I will add another race to the mix this year. More on that later.

Training isn't where I want it to be at this time of the year, but it's getting there. I was very pleased with my effort Saturday and a full report can be read here.

So I have a 50-miler in 2 weeks. This will be my 3rd attempt at this distance and at this race and I'm not sure what to expect. It will also be my first year with no support. The first year, ex-K was there and my sister came later in the day, and ex-K was there again last year. This year, my sister will be in Arizona the weekend of the 50-miler. Is it that big of a deal to have someone there?

Yes and No.

No because it's a tough thing to do to be a sherpa/spectator. They're out there just as long as the runners and have to figure out how to get to each aid station to see their runner for a few minutes ever couple hours. Long hours with little to show for it.

Yes because those few minutes we DO see them are precious and a huge boost. It's lonely out on the trails and it's nice to see a familiar face, hear some encouraging words, and get a hug before hitting the trails again. It's also nice to have someone massage your legs post race. Please note, the position of "sherpa" is open and I am taking applications :) Send pictures.

I'm hoping to have a couple sherpas.. crew members.. whatever you want to call it a month from now. The most recent addition to my ultra schedule this year is the 24-hour ATR. I had hoped for my first 'big' race to be the Massanutten Mountain 100 next May, but I found out about this race earlier this month and have jumped at the opportunity to do it. The only thing I know to expect is a very long day.

Am I crazy?

Like the word 'good', crazy is relative.

I started doing 5k races while still in school and continued after graduating, but it wasn't enough. In 2000, I did the Old Kent River Bank Run 25k and did my first 10 miler and half marathon leading up to it. But even after the 25k, I started thinking "what's next?". In 2001, I made a New Years Resolution to do a triathlon and found one in June. In May 2001, I signed up for my first Ironman slated for 2002 even before doing my first triathlon. Four Ironman's, a dozen marathons, a handful of ultras, and countless other races later, I'm still asking myself "what's next?"

Say it.. "you're crazy"

hey.. it's what I do..


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