Well it is finally just less than a week until the Arkansas Traveller 100 mile race. I am very excited to be returning for the first time since 2008. It's been far too long. Three of those years were spent in Leadville and originally I was planning on Bighorn or some other mountain hundred for this year but my work schedule did not allow for that and so happily I find myself at my first 100 mile race again.
I was still on the fence as to whether I would enter the Traveller but realizing that I had not even run a 50 mile race this year and therefore had not run a Western States qualifier cinched the deal and I am glad that it gave me the motivation to enter. I am also hoping that it will motivate me to finish should things not go well next Saturday because if I do not finish, then no entry into Western States and this will be my third lottery year and so my chances are much improved for getting selected.
My hopes for Saturday are simple. I hope only for good weather. Preferably dry and cool because my sciatic is much less a problem in those conditions. Looks like it is going to be close because a cold front is coming in next weekend. If it comes in on Friday, that will be great. If it hits Saturday morning during the race, then that would be just okay, and if the cold front comes Saturday night or Sunday, then it could get ugly out there. Amazing that so much of how well I run will be determined on what time that cold front arrives. Make no doubt that if it does not get here early, I will still run hard and give it my best.
My strategy is to be slightly more aggressive in my race than my two previous finishes and hope that it does not backfire on me the second half of the race. My first race I held back way too much the first half because I was unsure what to expect. It worked out very well because I finished comfortably and for my first 100, it was awesome to not really struggle or bonk. On my second finish I ran slightly more aggressive especially mile 48 to 68 and was in a good position the last 50K to really run a very low time, at least in the mid 16 hour range. I hit mile 68 at 11:04 elapsed time (5:04 in the evening) but then a bad bruise on the bottom of my foot made running near impossible. The last 25 miles or so and I burned up all that time and it took nearly 7 hours to run that last 50K.
So this Saturday, I hope to be at 68 maybe a little ahead 5 pm. Closer to 4:30 would be awesome and then if I can run strong and run happy the last 50K, I can then finish knowing that I gave the Traveller course my best effort.
My training has been the lowest it has ever been going into a 100 mile race. I am experimenting with lower weekly training miles as I get older because I have a theory that so long as you are hitting close to 60 or 70 miles a week, it will not make a big difference than say 100-120 mile weeks as long as you get in a few key workouts to maintain fitness. Those two workouts were a 75 plus mile backpacking trip that included one day of 42 miles on the Colorado Trail and then a 3:10 marathon training run on a hilly road course to maintain my speed. That's about it for my training. Unless you count playing tennis all summer long 4-5 times a week. So we will see how this goes.
Of course, it could turnout that things not go well. When you consider that at the Boston Marathon, that the sciatic was so bad that I struggled to finish a 26.2 mile race and was barely maintaining a nine minute pace at the end on an easy road course, then it could definitely turn out bad. But I think Boston was the exception and that this weekend will be another great run.
Perhaps what I look forward to the most is eating that great breakfast Sunday morning and visiting with fellow finishers about all the fun we had.