How often in life we complete a goal that was beyond the capability of the person we were when we started it.
The day after I wrote about why I like goals that seem impossible, my friend Robert Cheeke posted this quote on his Facebook page. That was the tiny little nudge I still needed in order to do what I’ve been kicking around in my head for months, so I went ahead and did it.
I signed up to run a 100-miler. The Old Dominion 100 Mile Cross-Country Run in Woodstock, VA on June 4th (and into the 5th).
Right now, I’m not capable of running 100 miles—at least, not in 24 hours. That’s the time you need in a 100-miler in order to “buckle,” which doesn’t mean “collapse on the ground,” but rather “earn a belt buckle.” Sort of like “medaling” in a race, only you get a belt buckle instead of medal.
And yes, that’s right—if you finish 100 miles but take longer than 24 hours, they don’t even give you a stinking belt buckle. Evil.
But the fact that I’m not capable of doing it now doesn’t mean that signing up was a dumb decision. To the contrary, I’ve found when it comes to crazy stuff like this, signing up is precisely the first step in becoming capable—if I didn’t have a hard deadline in the future at which point I’ll either be able to run 100 miles or have literally the most painful day of my entire life, then it wouldn’t happen. I’d keep putting it off, saying “one day.”
“One day” is now June 4th. And some of the 5th, since it starts at 4 AM.
How the F do you train for a 100-miler?
With a 50-miler, they tell you to get in as many marathons and 50K’s as you can. So you could take that advice and double it, but the biggest problem with that is it’s hard to find many 50-milers and 100K’s to use as training runs. Not to mention that a slow 50-miler is probably a 12-hour training day.
With that in mind, here’s my tentative race schedule for the winter and spring:
- January 2: PHUNT 20K
- February 26: Hashawha Hills 50K
- March 19: HAT 50K
- April 9: Bull Run 50-miler
- April 18: Boston Marathon
- June 4: Old Dominion 100-miler
There’s no 100K on here, and only one 50-miler, but that’s the best I could do. I’ll probably do several 20-25 mile runs within a few days of each other in lieu of these missing long runs.
Honestly, I have no idea what to expect beyond that. I’d like to keep my speed and strength up instead of focusing solely on distance, and I’ll start off by working in as much of that as I can, but really I can’t say what will happen once the mileage starts to pick up.
Oh yeah…and I’m kind of scared about what kind of self-doubt must bubble up when you’re running through the woods in the middle of the night, after you’ve already been running for 18 or 20 hours, trying to finish before 4 AM. I don’t hear many ultrarunners make a big deal about this, so maybe it’s not so bad. But it sort of seems like if I’m going to buckle in the “collapsing, curling up, and letting maggots go to town on my eyeballs” sense, then this would be when it would happen.
I’ve signed up. I’ve announced it. I’ve committed myself to it. The chances of it actually happening have just skyrocketed.
I encourage you to think about what you might do in 2011, and not just tell yourself you’re going to do it, but to take some sort of action that commits you. Why wait until New Years?
Two giveaway winners to announce today, before I give you details of the final NMA holiday giveaway.
First, the winner of the Madre Labs Immune Punch and $50 iHerb.com shopping spree is Kristina from spabettie.com (rhymes with spaghetti?), who said she’d probably buy Immune Punch if she won (the drawing was random, really).
And second, the winner of Susan’s holiday stocking stuffer extravaganza, including GU’s, Ryder’s sunglasses, and Road ID schwag is Charlotte, who asked Santa for a Patagonia parka and bribed him with some of Christine’s NMA cookies.
Congratulations to both winners! One more holiday giveaway coming later this week!