Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Service Requirement

I spent the weekend working aid stations down at the Indiana Trail 100. I ran the race last year and this was a good time to get my required service hours in for Western States and Vermont. Even without having to do the hours to run those races, I would have done it. Every year, when planning my races and setting my goals, volunteering at races is on the list. Sure, it is altruistic and generous to "give back to the running community", blah, blah. It's fun and I enjoy it so it is also a selfish activity.

I saw many familiar faces, the number of which keeps growing as I continue to participate in these events. I also find it strange when people recognize me from previous events but I suppose I really shouldn't. I'm a 6' 5", 200+ lb. man so I can't really hide in the crowd even if I want to at times. I still have that feeling that I'm just a pretender in this ultra running world but I am getting better about it. Impostor syndrome I've heard it called. It is a constant nagging that I can't shake.

The race conditions looked good for what were at least the first couple of loops of the race. It was around midnight that the rain came that the Indiana race has become known for. The temperatures dropped and the runners began to pack our station for shelter from the elements. Shiny silver emergency blankets appeared throughout the tent suddenly and moved to surround the propane heaters. I ladled out dozens of cups of hot broth and soup. There was some crying and shivering that seemed it would never stop. It was then that best part would happen. Someone would stand up, their tired eyes showing resolve yet with some doubt and fear mixed in, and move towards the tent door, pause for moment and then enter the dark, cold outdoors to the loud cheers of those still inside. Each one was a beautiful example of the perseverance needed to finish a 100 mile run.

While working the race, I took the weekend off from running but figured spending more than 24 hours on my feet can only help <gasp> next month. The training is going decently. I am not hitting the mileage I would like to but in general I feel better most days and even on the days I don't feel good, I am still able to get through more than I could handle a short while ago. If Western States were this coming weekend, I am fairly confident I could finish it but I do have some work to do in order to avoid potential causes of a failure to finish.

Less than 8 weeks to go until Western States. While trying to increase miles and lose a few extra pounds, I am going to try to get in some strength training for the legs. Western States is an overall downhill course and it is often stated that it can leave the quads torn up towards the end. I would like to work on strengthening them but I don't know how to do this while maximizing running miles at the same time. I'll figure something out.

Before too long, I will also start attempting to acclimate myself to the heat I will face. I can't rely on spring and early summer in Michigan to provide weather that will help me in this. The plan currently is to suffer through an increasingly frequent schedule of hot yoga classes. More on how all this is going later.

Some exciting things (at least for me) in the next few weeks but I will hold off on mentioning those for a bit. Stay tuned.

Last post  April 13  - 211 lbs
Today May 3  -  205.8 lbs  Got some work to do
Goal - 195ish

Week of April 15  40 miles
Week of April 22  60 miles
Week of April 29  35 miles

If you're looking for a great race, perfect for a first time 50 mile, 100k or 100mile, check out the Indiana Trail 100. Relatively flat course that isn't technical. Excellent organization and atmosphere. 


  1. Take a look at Ironstrength workout, by Dr. Jordan Metzl. Geared towards runners. Did it for Boston, as it really helps with building the quads up for the downhills.

    1. I will check that out. Would love to be running at the end of this one (even if it is slowly) and not be nursing trashed quads.