The Quest For 100 Just Got Real...

Rocky Raccoon 100 mile Sub-24 hr Finisher's Buckle
Well, I was trying to mostly keep it quiet until I officially registered, but I let a handful of folks know and my wife let a handful of folks know, so now lots of people know.  Might as well go ahead and post it and all my whirlwind thoughts on it.  On February 2, 2013 I will be running the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile!  It's been quite a winding road to get to the decision to go for this, but I think the processes that got me here is part of the reason I am confident that I can accomplish the goal.  It all started well over a year ago when I started thinking about doing a 100 mile.  Over time I kind of let that goal fall to the wayside due to a number of shortfalls and struggles I had during 2011, but I never completely let it fall apart.  I let it slip to the back of my mind a little.

Me & my mentor Sherrie in March '
After a good run in my last marathon of 2011 and several good runs throughout the end of the year I began building my confidence back up and I found myself letting that goal float back up to the top.  Then early February of this year came along.  My ultra running mentor Sherrie kicked butt at Rocky Raccoon finishing her first 100 miler with nothing more than a road 52 miler under her belt.  She finished in 22 hours 24 minutes as the #4 female overall and first in her age group!  That performance inspired me and light a fire under my goal to do a 100.  It was no longer floating back to the top, it burning a hole in me!  I saw Sherrie the next night after she got back to Kansas and we spoke for a while about her race.  Such an amazing story.  I really got the wheels turning!  She told me at that time that she felt like I could do the RR100 in 2013 if I really wanted to.  At the time I thought that was a bit too aggressive so I said maybe I'd try to run it in '14.  Eventually I settled on a plan to run the Hawk 50 mile in Sept. '12, the Free State 100k in Apr. '13 then the Hawk 100 mile in Sept. '13.  That was even about 6 months more aggressive than I'd planned for, but I felt that if I worked really hard I could get there.  It wouldn't be easy but I felt good about it.

Me meeting Dean Karnazes at the NFEC Kansas City Aug '11
Since settling on that goal I've had a few more marathons including one that I did 20 miles later in the evening after the race.  Sure, it was a long, slow 20 as a course sweep, but it showed me that maybe I'm further along that I originally thought.  I started thinking again about what Sherrie said about RR100 in 2013.  Maybe she was right, maybe I could do it.  I kept these thoughts mostly to myself since Kristy & I already had a marathon planned in January in Louisiana and another one in February in Jacksonville, FL.  That was fine, it'd give me more time to train and get ready having an extra 6 months until the Hawk in Sept. rather than the Rocky Raccoon in Feb.  Eventually things started to fall through with the February marathon (26.2 With Donna).  First of all, for me to run the marathon and for Kristy to run the half would cost over $200.  Add to that the cost of travelling all the way to Florida and you're looking at a pretty expensive trip.  One we would not be in position to afford just a month after a trip to Louisiana for a race as well.  We knew it was a long shot that we'd be able to travel that far that quickly, but after adding it with the cost of the race and we really had to drop it.

Me, Heather & Ben at Rock On! Lake Perry
On May 19th, Ben (leader of the Trail Nerds) took several of us on a preview run of the Psycho Psummer 50k course at WyCo Lake Park.  Ben has run a number of 100 milers a great guy to talk ultra running with.  As we were running he made a random and surprising comment to me.  "You'll be ready to run a 100 miler next year."  Or something along those general lines anyway.  After that we talked about the plan as I had it set.  We also talked about Sherrie's comment about me doing RR100 in '13.  He said he felt like I should really think about that because it'd be a much less difficult trail than Clinton Lake for a first timer.  Okay, so now I've got Sherrie AND Ben telling me that I should do RR100 in '13.  Well, these are two opinions I respect, so maybe they're onto something.  I mentioned my conversation with Ben to Sherrie and she said that she still felt like I could do it and that if I felt I needed to do a 100k before the 100 mile we'd have plenty of time between my 50 miler and Rocky to set up a "Fat Ass" style 100k with some of our running club friends so I could run one as a confidence booster.  Hmmmm.....

RR100 Course
At that point I was sold on the idea.  I finally decided it was time to approach the subject with the wife.  Obviously a lot of this decision would rest on her shoulders.  We talked about it and she had obvious concerns.  We talked about needing to step up my training; not just running, but strength training, core work, nutrition, other cross training, etc would all need to improve.  I need to lose some weight (I'm carrying a lot more than I should) and get stronger.  I would really need to put in a strong commitment to train hard and not slack off.  I talked to her about having people like Sherrie, Ben, Darin, and many others that are experienced 100 milers that will be able to help me make sure I'm training like I need to and will call me out on it if I start to slack off.  We also talked about getting together with Sherrie and her husband Henry so that they could help her feel more comfortable as a crew.  She's worked several aid stations at ultras and she's crewed for me a couple times at shorter ultras, but she's a little more nervous about a 100 miler.  She'll be great, I'm not worried about her, but I think getting together with them will help her feel better about it.  She gave me the go-ahead, but still has some concerns.  She's on board and supportive, and I know we'll both be ready for the big day.

Kristy & me after volunteering at
Rock On! Lake Perry
I let Sherrie know that it had become a real possibility and asked if she'd be my pacer.  The original plan was for her to pace me when I did the Hawk 100, so I was hopeful she'd be willing to come pace me at Rocky Raccoon.  She said she'd love to!  At that point I was all in!!  I was feeling better and better about it with every step and now I had my mentor as my pacer!  Having her pace me is big for me.  She has helped me so much already and I know we will be running together a lot as this summer goes by.  She is a wonderful person and a great runner; running with her has definitely helped me improve.  Knowing that I will have her there with me for the last 40 miles definitely boosts my confidence.  This brings up something that I think is pretty awesome.  I really have surrounded myself with amazing people!  Of the 6 people I told about this initially 3 of them very enthusiastically offered to pace me!  Only one of them was asked, the other 2 offered it up on their own (HUGE thanks to Heather & Donnie for their offers).  How many people would offer up running 40 miles for someone else for basically no credit, no race medal, no t-shirt, no official time, no nothing.  All they get in return is the runner's eternal gratitude.  How many people are willing to run 40 miles period; much less 40 miles as a pacer for someone else?  I have amazing friends.

Several of us Trail Nerds at the final
Brew To Brew Aid Station
So it's come to this.  My quest started with a 100 by the end of 2014, changed to February 2014, then moved to September of 2013 and now it is February of 2013.  Just a fraction over 8 months from now and it will be here; I have every intention of being ready.  Tomorrow morning I am going to run the full 21 mile loop at Clinton Lake with Sherrie, Jay and the Trail Hawks so that will give Sherrie & I a chance to talk this through a little more while out on the trail; that's were this stuff really gets figured out!!  We can start talking plans, training, etc.  After I speak with her about it, if we both still feel confident in it I will register and things will get very real.  Right now I'm focused on getting my weight back under control, more regular strength training, regular core work and building up my running miles.  The next 8 months are going to be some serious work; I'm up for the challenge and I know my friends will help me keep my focus!!  I'm nervous, scared, confident, excited and thrilled!  BRING IT ON!!

Comments

  1. Booyaa!!! I am so insanely excited for us!! Let the Epicness being!

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    Replies
    1. It's going to be great, Indi! Hawk 50 together AND RR100 together!!

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  2. Go get em! Have a great journey and should you need any advice or have any questions you know how to get ahold of me.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Darin! Having people like you around is one of the reasons I feel I can do this. If I have questions or need advice I'll get in touch with you. If you ever have any advice or see something I should be doing different in my post let me know. I'm relying on people like you & Sherrie to learn from. Thanks for all of the inspiration you give!

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  3. So glad I get to share the journey and race day with you! It's not going to be easy, but you will have lots of support the next 8 months. It will be great to run RR100 with Indi and all the other Hawks and Nerds.

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    1. I'm glad you'll be there too, Sherrie! There's no one I'd rather have with me for those last couple loops than you; you've really helped me get to this point! Lots of work to do the next 8 months!!

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  4. You are intense! And You will kill rocky! I do hope I can be there cheering you on!
    And for the record swimming is an excellent compliment sport to running I think...core, shoulders, back, etc.
    Excited for your journey!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heather!! Good thing I've got an awesome swim coach!!! :)

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