October 28, 2010

Getting in the ultra-frame of mind

Running Through the Wall: Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon by Neil Jamieson has been my night-time reading for the past week or so. It's been awhile since I first read this book and I am very much enjoying it again.

Reading about people running 100 milers makes my 100km coming up in nine days sound very doable. It's a mental benefit I embrace, knowing full well that it won't make my event any shorter.

Last night I read two chapters including the one about a guy running the Grand Slam of ultrarunning and the Last Great Race, consisting of running four and six 100-milers respectively in one season. Amazing.

The other chapter I read, and haven't finished yet, was about the Barkley Marathons. It's the 100 miler that nobody, well very few, expect to finish. The course consists of five 20-laps that are unmarked. The cutoff is 12 hours - for one 20-mile lap that is.

Here is a cool story on the most recent person to finish, one of only nine to do so since the race was first held in 1984. I would love to try 'only' one lap of this event, it sounds so crazy!

Mentally I feel very ready for the Haney to Harrison. I am excited, curious and looking forward to the challenge. I love being a first-timer in a sport that has been such a huge part of my life for the past 15 years that I find it hard to imagine there was a time it wasn't.

Just today I had an email from someone I know from high school and then shared my daily train commute with between the town of Harderwijk, where I grew up, and Deventer, where I went to university. (I moved to Deventer after one year of spending about 3 hours a day travelling).

My high school/university friend, who I haven't seen or spoken to in at least 17 years, said he was excited to read I was about to run a 100km race, and wished me well. Then he wrote, somewhat fascetiously, "Running wasn't such a big passion in our student years I think."

The year we shared our commute was 22 years ago, a long time ago for sure but it seems even longer when considering that was before I discovered that I am a runner.

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