To say that I'm nervous would be an understatement. I have been having dreams about running a 100 miler almost every night. In one dream I was at an aid station trying to change my socks, but every pair just kept ripping in half and I couldn't find any more to put on.
I feel quite guilty with the time and thinking that the lead up to this race has consumed. I know that there are pieces of my life and day that have suffered. My goal is to return to those aspects and rebuild them better than before, refocus my attention on the things I've been putting off changing.
But...until then, the race. I ran my first ultra, a 50k in 2008. During my training and lead up to it, I decided my five year goal would be to run 100. I was fascinated with the people that ran them, the community that surrounded them, and everything in between. In my mind I made a deal to do it...three or five years I'd think. The next year, I stopped running. I'm not quite sure why I stopped, but I did very shortly after that first 50k.
I decided to let other parts of my life take precedent and would occasionally still run, but without a goal in mind...the kind of running that is really just wandering around the neighborhood at a slightly faster pace. I wandered to see the area, get some exercise and just get out of the house for a bit. Somewhere in all that wandering I decided to run another 50k. I ran and trained and amazingly crossed the finish line in the exact same time I had finished my first. Then I ran another...and another.
In the last race of the season, I managed to drop 43 minutes from my fastest 50k. It was a good way to end the season. Shortly after I met my running partner. I made the decision to up my run distance and try out a 50..I had registered for one in the past, but do to work obligations was unable to be at the start. We had talked about the 100 and Oil Creek and distances in between. He was training for a 100 and I jumped into the training with him.
I volunteered that day for his race, the same day registration for Oil Creek took place. I watched a lot of people drop out, the cold took down many...but something about making grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for the runnners' in the middle of the night caught up with me again.
I went home and registered for the 100. I trained hard all summer, running two 50 milers (my first 50) and another 50k (dropping another 11 minutes off my time). The 50k happened to be the very same race where I ran my first 50k. It was on the drive home that I realized, low and behold, my five year goal to run a 100 was indeed coming true.
Now, four days out....all I have to do is get there. My bib number has been assigned, my gear has been packed, and plans have been laid out. In two days we hop in the car and head across the state. I four days, I will toe the line and find out what I'm made of.
For me, it's not just about covering the distance within the cut off. It's about accomplishing something I set out to do a long time ago. It's proving that I can succeed when I put my mind and effort into something. Whether I cross that finish line on Sunday morning or not...I got myself to the start, and am fulfilling a goal I set out. That is what I will take through the race, and into those things that I have let fall to the side.
No matter what happens, I feel like I will leave the trails a different person. Fingers crossed for good weather, a good stomach, strong legs, and a good mindset. I can't wait to find out what's on the other side.