Why I Love It
Full immersion. Deeply rooted. Quiet devotion. These are a few ways that I describe my perception of the ultra-running community. To date in 2009, I have yet to toe the line at a road marathon. With 23 under my belt and having done 7 in 2007 and another 4 last year, I took a big turn in my focus this year. My way of thought (which not everyone agrees with, by the way) was that if it (event) doesn't have something to do with the goal race (100 mile endurance run), then I didn't do it. That resulted in unofficial 50K trail runs, hours upon hours on the trails, and a few paid-entry trail races. I ran during the week on roads and kept my "road legs" fresh, but never gave them the pounding that a road marathon delivers. That being said, I sit now after two 100-milers 100% injury free and no issues whatsoever head-to-toe. I also have a whole new appreciation for the ultra-running community. It has got to be one of the humblest, most-dedicated, genuine groups of people I have ever met. Most of us couldn't be picked out of a crowd and many of our co-workers who we plod through weekdays with have no idea about our passion and if they do, they really don't understand it or "get" it. To be honest, it's easier to say nothing, do my job, and just go home…essentially an ultra-runner in disguise from 7am-4:45pm every day. If someone actually does show interest, of course I'll talk to them for hours on end…if they can 'endure'!!! But for the most part, I love it the way it is. E-mails from fellow runners and the ultra-list float in my inbox all day and keep the trails fresh in my mind while still doing my job and a few key bib numbers hang on my Runner's World calendar at my desk (KM100 and BR100, to be exact) which serve as a constant reminder of miles gone by and finish lines crossed.
I've found that those I have met this year on the trails and at my two main events are simply awesome people. The friendships established and the "Facebook friends" accepted (HA!) continue to endure and I feel like just one spec on a nationwide spider-web connected by e-mails, Facebook updates, text messages, and seeing each others' names pop up in the highly anticipated issue of each UltraRunning mag. Jenny C. is one of those people. If you read my Kettle 100 report (link on right sidebar) or my BR100 report, you've read about her. She's from New Jersey and has run, I think, 4 one hundred milers already this year…and doing the Oil Creek 100 in October. She either wins or is in the top of the women's field every time. In other sports, you might expect arrogance or a pompous attitude but she's so far from that. Always smiling and accepting of everyone, I'm so glad to have met her and stay connected. Who knows…maybe we'll see each other again this year. Of course, the arrogant types do exist out there as one might expect, but that is far from the norm. To me, there's no place for it on the trail and within the 'community.' Anyway, "Thanks, Jenny!" for your friendship and continuing to provide inspiration without even trying to or probably not even admitting to.
There's really not too much else to report and I know, my blogging activity has drifted a bit over the last two weeks but rest assured, all is well. I'm back up to 'normal' mileage and actually returned to the track on Tuesday for the first time in 18 months with 6 x 800s…and my times were actually what I ran the last time on the track…muscle memory is a wonderful thing! (200m walk/jog between 800s and times of 3:25, 3:15, 3:12, 3:13, 3:14, 3:12) I'm also hitting the trails tomorrow for 13-14 up in Brecksville and another 18 on the Buckeye Trail on Saturday. It feels like it's been much longer than 3 weeks since Burning River…which, by the way, I can't get out of my mind…and that's a good thing. :-)
Oh yea, that whole '3 in 18' subject line…I almost forgot. Kettle Moraine 100 on June 6/7 + 8 weeks = Burning River 100 on August 1/2 + 10 weeks = Oil Creek 100 on October 10/11 => 3 one-hundred mile endurance runs in 18 weeks. I don't know how I let that slip my mind.
Happy Trails, everyone!