Monday, May 14, 2007
The journey of 100 miles begins with 1 step...and a sharp kick to the ass region.
I'm beginning this living record of my training for my first 100 mile race, strangely, on a non-training day. I bet it's symbolic or something like that.
My interest for running a hundred miler was initially sparked after I'd seriously taken up running for only 6 months. I was on the boards at coolrunning and in the "ultramarathon" forum, when I stumbled across a runner's race report from the Western States 100 miler. It was EPIC. I'd never heard of the race, although I had heard of people running distances longer than marathons, and reading his descriptions of his journies, both inner and outer, really spoke to me.
After finishing his report, I said it out loud: "I will run 100 miles someday."
In fact, the first race I'd ever run outside of a single 5k a few years prior, was a 25k (15.7 mile) trailrace in the Santa Monica Mountains. It was INTENSE, and I was hooked. I banged out a summer/fall of 15k-20k trail races, and somewhere around October, signed up for my first ultramarathon, a 50k race, at the Calico Ghost town. It was around mile 20 during this January race that I hooked up with my soon-to-be-bud, Bud, a lanky 59 year old who'd been running 100 milers for 20 + years. He referred to our 31.4 mile offroad race as a "training run". The hell was this guy smoking?
"50ks, those are fine; 50 milers, now you're gettin' somewhere, but 100 miles? That's where it's at!" he grinned at me as we padded along.
I ran the LA Marathon 6 weeks later and continued to train and race throughout the summer, hitting that original 25k race a 2nd year in a row, cutting 30 minutes off my finishing time. I signed up for my first 50 mile race on Catalina Island in January late that summer, and in September, was asked by Bud to run the last marathon distance of a 100 miler with him in October (race report located rightcheer). It was during the overnight portion of this race that I realized: This was the one.
I ran a "training run" 50k in Decemeber and ran my 50 miler in January, placing 42nd out of 160 + finishers. I knew I had it in me to do a 100, although I did manage to strain my IT Band enough that I was exclusively cross-training for 3 months, only in the past 4 weeks getting back to running 35+ miles/week and cycling one day to recover.
So here I go!
Above is me, after an hour + run 9 days ago at Griffith Park. The trees you see behind me have been burned to the ground in the brush fire that started last Wednesday!