Monday, March 15, 2010

Umstead Update: 2 Weeks to Go

Since this blog is self-described as "the softer side of UltraRunning," of course I have to open with some philosophy before I get to the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run stuff.  

In 2 succinct sentences, a woman long-dead explains one of the reasons that I began blogging.

Who is this long-dead woman, and what were her 2 sentences that grabbed me so? It's Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962)  (photo credit to Wikipedia) who said:

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?

Not that my days are empty and in need of filling, but I have these ideas, these "butterflies of the moment," that in my delusional vanity I think should be shared with people I don't even know.

My "butterfly of the moment" is the simultaneous mixed emotion of elation plus fear that I'm definitely feeling about stepping up to the starting line at the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run on 27 March. Time is inexorable and unforgiving--I'm as prepped as I'm going to be. All the training miles run or not run, all those BowFlex workouts in my basement worked or not worked, are now moot points. I will go to the start of the race naked, if you will, with just what I have in my mind and in my body.

My original plan this weekend was for 15, and it wound up being 18, but 3 bonus miles are not significant either way.  I had hoped to head to the C&O Canal for my favorite 18 miler, but logistics of the morning prevailed.  I elected to run from the house, just to save the 30 minutes each way it would take to drive to the C&O Canal at Williamsport, MD.

We had some major rain the past couple days—3 to 4 inches—coupled with high winds, so I deferred running earlier in the weekend and went out at daybreak on Sunday. It was still drizzling but the wind had subsided to less than 10 MPH. Local streams were at the overflow stage, so I figured it’d be cool to run west to the Conococheague Creek and scope out the flood waters from bridges.

I crossed the creek at 4 different points on bridges, and while the bridges were not threatened, the water was very close to spilling over the road to either side of the bridge at a couple of the crossings. I’ve forded this creek numerous times in the past (most recently in January, see here), but there would be no possibility of fording it today. It had to have been neck deep in the middle, raging, brown frothy water.

I was out for 3 hours so I figure that’s some 18 miles. The first hour I needed artificial light, so I again tested my new Petzl headlamp. I left it burning after returning and it went a good 12 hours without any apparent loss of lumens, so I feel completely satisfied that one set of batteries (3 AA) will last the night at Umstead.  It gives great light and isn't heavy on my head.

Oh, and when I reached the end of my driveway and could see the house, I was quite excited that Mister Tristan's window shade was still closed.  It was 9:00 am (but really 8:00 body clock time due to the switch to Daylight Savings Time), so that was a fairly late sleep for him. That meant I could be the one to get him out of his crib and help him greet his day!

So, back to Umstead--I'm counting down from 2 weeks. I'm finalizing my race plan, my packing list, and my to-do list, so as not to have to think about anything, just follow the script.

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