Thursday, March 31, 2016

Umstead 2016: Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends

It's almost that time again. Saturday morning at 6 am, I'll set off with some of my best friends on another grand adventure: Umstead 100. I completed the race last year in 22 hours and 51 minutes, which was a solid 100 mile PR. As Ginger was pacing me out on the course last year, we talked about how cool it would be to really commit to a year of training that included a good diet to see what I was really capable of. So, I spent the last year (with some serious support from Ginger) cleaning up my diet and really training hard. Along the way, I dropped 25 pounds, picked up a marathon PR (3:09 at Richmond in November), snagged a podium spot (and a shiny new 50K PR: 4 hours) at the New River 50K, and just generally committed to having fun on long runs to get ready for Umstead this year.

In my training for Umstead last year, I battled the flu and a injured ankle but I stilled logged 422 miles with 27, 000 feet of elevation gain.

I will toe the line at Umstead on Saturday with 683 miles and 77, 000 feet of gain on my legs. I've rested well the last two weeks and I feel like I have a little of the snap back in them that helped me run quickly in the fall.

I feel better prepared for this race than any race I have run before. Ginger has helped me eat well, train hard, and enjoy life. My friends have motivated me to spend lots of long days in the mountains and pick up some leg speed around town. As Brett likes to say: The Stoke is REAL! I am excited. I'm looking forward to watching Royce and Josh crush their first 100. I know Brett is going to blister the course and do great. I'm looking forward to seeing what is possible. And I am grateful for all the support I have received this year and will have on Saturday.

What are my goals? First, to finish. Even if it takes 29 hours and 59 minutes. I don't care. I am going to just focus on experiencing the day. Every 100 miler is special and unpredictable. You can train hard, but you never know what will happen in a 100 miles. It is, after all, a long way. So, I'm going to have fun. I want to enjoy the day with my friends and family. I also want to make them all proud of me for doing what I set out to do. Second, I want to see what's possible. I will run smart, but I will run hard. When it gets hard, I will Choose Joy and remember that I am privileged to be able to even attempt a 100 mile race. I will run to honor those who can't. And, I will remember to just let the training pay off and keep moving forward no matter what. I'll keep my Always Brothers family on my mind, and remember that we are always out there doing what we can to honor those who've going before us.

Before I wrap this up I want to say thanks to everyone coming out to help. Ginger, Lois, Sean, Jordan, Kristin, Chris, Julia, Jill, Nelson, Linda, and Starner. We couldn't do it without you. Ginger, none of this would be possible without your support. Thank you!!!

 On Saturday, I'm going to embrace the journey, enjoy the suffering, and have a blast no matter what.