It was Friday night before last years race while I was working in registration that I knew it was time to make another run for it at Umstead in 2012. It's hard to describe if you haven't been there but there is a special feeling in the air at Camp Lapihio. I'll never forget the feeling before my first 100 and it is so cool being around and seeing the newbies and relating to the excitement they are feeling. One of the great rewards of volunteering is watching people meet the challenges and especially the new ones. Ultra running has really grown in the area since I began in 2002 and I really love to see many friends crossing over to the dark side !
Since coming back from the injuries of 2008 I have been getting better every year and putting in more miles than ever. I knew when I made up my mind to enter that I was not just going to run to finish but I wanted it to be something special. At my age I have to face the reality that there won't be many more opportunities for me to improve and go for pr's so after getting Boston behind me last April , I immediately turned my attention to getting back into the best ultra shape possible. Just 5 days after Boston I was doing the Promise Land 50K for training with Jenn and then began my training. Of course I was doing other races and having a lot of fun but the focus in my mind was preparing for a PR attempt this weekend.
My trip to Tahoe Rim last July was a very important step in the process, mainly because I had not completed a 100 since Feb of 2007. I needed to get a tough one under my belt (and the big shiny buckle on it) to regain the confidence I would need. As soon as I recovered from PL I began trying to get out to Umstead and do a practice lap just about every week. I used these practice laps to work on different pacing strategies and visualizing how I would feel and what I planned to do each lap in the race. My PR is 23:15 but I planned to go big and try for 21 hours. I'm afraid it's going to be a lot warmer than I had hoped but if I use my head I'm confident that I have a real shot at obtaining my goal.
One of the best things of course will be that I have so many friends that will be out volunteering and racing. It boggles my mind to know that barely 10 years ago I was a near hermit. And one entrant in particular that I am most excited for is one of my training partners and special Angels, Amy Surrette. She will be running her first 100. I am so proud of her and all she has accomplished since we met and I will be so happy to see her cross that finish line for her first buckle/pendant, hopefully in under 24. You can do it AMY !
One thing that I have always done in all my ultra's is to go crew less and without pacers but this year I do plan to make an exception to that rule. Since it is local and is so close for so many friends I wanted to share this one with my wonderful Angels that have shared so many miles over the past few years. I was hoping for all of them to run some but it's looking like that's not going to be possible since Amy is running and Jenn is working as co-captain for the main aid station. Margo will be out of town and Laura is suppose to pace another lady but hopefully it will work out that she can run one with me. Karla and Lisa are planning to run the last two with me at least. A non Angel but dear friend Jerry is suppose to pace me on lap 5.
Well, this concludes our Umstead series of post for now. the next one will be my report on the PR!