Indiana Trail 100, April 30-May 1, 2016. I chose it because as a lifelong Hoosier, doing my first 100 in my home state is important to me. It's also going to be a place where I can count on a lot of "hometown" support, and if there's one thing I've learned about ultras and especially 100-milers, it's that it would be impossible to do without support. It's now in its fourth year, and already gaining a reputation for great volunteers and support. Thirdly, a not insignificant consideration: it's relatively flat, and having paced and crewed there, I have some familiarity with the trails. No 100 is easy, but it's more manageable than some. I've seen firsthand how it can still be VERY challenging as a result of weather conditions, but of course that can happen anywhere.
Goal: To finish. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to shoot for 24 hours, which I think I can do as long as I'm healthy and conditions are good. I need to have something in mind. But as long as I can cross the finish line in fewer than 30 hours (the cut-off), I will count it a victory. One hundred miles is an awfully long way, and the list of things that could go wrong, changing a good day to a bad day, is long as well. With a good crew, a good pacer or two, the ability to stay optimistic, and LUCK, I feel like my training will get me there.
So all I have to do now is train. That will be the real journey. In a way that started awhile ago. But now, with 24 weeks to go, it's time to start shifting the mindset from "Hey, just kinda running a bunch and doing some races" to "How will this benefit my overall goal of finishing 100 miles?" I do still have a couple of races planned for this year (this weekend's Flying Monkey Marathon [for funsies] and the HUFF 50K in late December [will race this one]), as well as one that I'm thinking about for late January (Mountain Mist 50K), and the Land Between the Lakes 50m in March. But these are secondary, and I'm absolutely not adding any more; I want to concentrate on long slow distance as much as possible, not to mention staying injury free and healthy.
As usual, I'm not following a set plan. I've looked at a few training manuals to give me a bit of a framework to work from, but mainly I'm going to rely on the advice/examples of friends and take it week by week. My overall aim will be to run a lot and slow down (which is more or less what I do anyway). I do want to keep in some speedwork, but it will be a small slice of the pie. It's going to be a lot of trail runs on the weekends, and a lot of headlamp miles on weekdays.
|Photo: Flying Monkey FB page. Follow it for more pics
of this beautiful park!