Thursday, January 28, 2010

Packing my Bags and Heading to Umstead with Goethe

Well, just heard from the race director--I've been accepted into the Umstead 100 Miler on 27 March!! That's North Carolina, near the state capital of Raleigh.

Back in September when entries opened I didn't get my application in early enough to gain a slot initially, but I was early enough to be placed on the waiting list. Then as registered runners dropped for whatever reason, the race director was able to offer entry to the wait listers.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the nitty gritty of such a race, here's the play-by play:

The race begins at 6:00 am on Saturday 27 March.  I (and 250 of my closest friends I have not yet met) will run by flashlight for about an hour, see the sun rise at 7:08 am, run the rest of the day, see the sun go down at 7:32 pm, see the nearly-full moon reach its zenith at 11:32 pm, run the rest of the night, see the sun rise for the second time at 7:07 am, and finally finish running prior to the 30-hour cutoff time of noon on Sunday.

The race is in 2 months. That sounds like a decent interval from now, but then when I think of it instead as being 8 weeks away, suddenly I feel a great sense of urgency. At any rate, I am now formally committed. Before--when I was on the wait list--I kept up my training but it had an air of unreality, that I was just going through the motions, that in the end I may have invested a lot of training effort, only to be told, sorry, maybe next year. But now I'm Committed with a capital C.

As usual, whenever I think about inspiration I turn to other people who have already said something better, stronger, more succinctly, etc., and a quote attributed** to Goethe comes to mind, one that I once had posted on my desk:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

**Note: the source I cite makes a strong case that Goethe is not actually the author of this quote. Regardless, the words are inspirational and I will take them to heart.

Now, lots of things to do before the race:

--Develop a weekly run plan for the remaining weeks, to include two 30 milers as the long training runs, with 10 milers on the "off" weeks, then a 3 week taper going into the race.
--Execute same!
--Develop race plan for tentative split times (the course repeats a 12.5 mile loop eight times).
--Develop drop bag plan (weather-dependent) for what running clothes I expect to need at different times of the day and night..
--Lose 5 pounds.

Stay tuned!

Addendum on 8 March 2010:  Sometime after I posted this, I noticed that the RD, Blake Norwood, also includes some Goethe references in his How to Train For and Run Your First 100 at the Umstead 100 (see here). I think this is an example of two people independently having the same thought at different times, but I feel I should credit Blake just in case I subconsciously channeled him.

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