Oh dang, in less than 4 days it will already have started. Too late to get in better shape-- am probably still recovering from my 50 miler six days after my Diablo Trail 50K to kick off my race season. (Lake Sonoma 50 race report almost done-- if anything, I've been too busy with an impacted work schedule to find much time to run or sleep enough, much less blog). If trying to function short of sleep counts as training for my next race-- I suspect it counts for something-- then I should be tapering for that.... by sleeping.
not sure if this guy is sleeping or just faking it
So, how did I come to attempt this prolonged exercise in stupidity?
Last fall, I didn't run Helen Klein 50 miler, thus ceding what would've clinched my PAUSATF Ultra Grand Prix points series Master's division first-place finish to speedy Jean Pommier. Having lost the 50% discount on races and feeling really.....lame, I decided to make the most of an avoidable, disappointing situation by shifting the focus in 2009 away from PAUSATF to other things-- races I haven't run before (and would not run as long as I kept trying to run PAUSATF races for points), and more 100 milers than ever before.
In addition, I hadn't taken my family to Ohio to see my parents since my 20th high school reunion a few years ago (they usually come out to California). So we planned a trip there in June, timed so I could participate in the 20th running of the Mohican 100 mile about 3 hours away. We visit Chicagoland where almost all of my wife's family lives every year, so I still thought of running my third Kettle Moraine 2 weeks prior (though leaning toward the 100k instead of the 100 miler), but my wife felt uncomfortable taking off work for 2 trips in the same month. Thus, trying to find another long run near Chicago, I decided upon McNaughton in April. This way I wouldn't feel the sting of paying (gasp) full price for AR50 (yes, I was spoiled, though I did work for the benefits).
I held off on sending the money though. Frankly, I'd heard about the 150 mile race, but had thought what a completely stupid thing, good thing I don't live in Illinois so I don't feel compelled to try it. Evil, sadistic race director!
"But Daddy I don't even like running!" :) Evil, sadistic race director and endurance athlete Andy Weinberg and daughter.
But if I were going out there, shouldn't I take a stab? Aren't I supposed to be pretty good at this, and on the fast side? Guilt, uncertainty..... nausea thinking about it....
After the end of last year's Quad Dipsea, I chatted with endurance athlete and celebrity David Goggins, who I knew had run the 150 mile race both years held and last year set the course record. He gave me the scoop-- it's tough, it's wet, your feet will be soaked the whole time, it's horrible, it goes around and around in a loop. But if I were trying to decide between running the 100 and the 150 mile runs OF COURSE run the 150. His reasoning: if you're going to run 100 miles, why do that course, which is a 10 mile loop repeated-- run some other more scenic point to point or loop course. For the would-be hard-core at least, "the point of McNaughton is to run the 150, so then you can say you ran 150 miles."
Endurostud David Goggins after last year's Quad Dipsea
So, having heard it from the Goggins himself, I became convinced. If it's going to suck, let it suck big time! Of note, Also John Gunderson from the Bay Area was there at the finish too, and was planning to run it. We exchanged some emails to make sure at least one other person we'd met was joining the suffering.
Still I waited until almost the last day before the price went up to register. On the on-line form, the waiver skipped all verbose legalese crap-- just "I may die."
Since then I've have regular doubts about the decision, along with occasional anxiety dreams and palpitations and near-syncopal episodes. Maybe like many casual virginal runners do before they try their first marathon.
I really don't know if I'm going to be able to finish this one...
1st published, Monday, April 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm