(also known as “I think I can, I know I can, and I WILL – because I am too stubborn to quit.”)
It is now just 10 days away… The start of the most challenging race I have ever run…
The Outlaw 100.
Just 10 more days between now and the time that the cruel, painful and hard reality hits. The reality that I will be on my feet for 100 freaking miles… on my feet, almost continuously, for perhaps as long as 36 hours. 36 hours! A day and half! Just let that sink in for a minute… I voluntarily signed up for a race involving up to 36 hours of running, walking, hiking, eating, and drinking… and not sleeping.
What was I thinking?!?
The panic is setting in as I realize there are just 10 more days until I find out whether I have given the 100-mile distance the respect it deserves during the last 17 weeks of training.
There are just 10 more days until I will toe the starting line for a distance that may become my new favorite distance… or may make me its whining, blubbering, bawling bitch.
Wait a minute!
Who am I kidding?
I am NOBODY’s bitch!
(OK, I could be Corey’s bitch if he wanted me to be, but that’s a whole different story … lmao!)
Seriously, though, I absolutely refuse to allow this race, or any race for that matter, to make me its bitch.
Nope! It is Just. Not. Happening.
I WILL finish all 100 miles of that gorgeous course. And I WILL have that buckle in my hand during the plane ride home on February 18. (And then, during my next trip to California, I WILL get that “100M” added to my running tattoo.)
Come hell or high water (and, NO, Jeremy, that is NOT a suggestion that you bring the rain with you to this race), I WILL start that race on February 16 and I will run my 100th mile of it on February 17.
Because I absolutely, positively, unconditionally refuse to fail.
(Note to Self, and to Brandi, Tracie and Corey – Please remember those words so you can repeat them to me at some dark hour when my feet hurt and I am cold and hungry and whining and wanting to sleep and I will start to talk about quitting.)
I will not quit.
Bib #12 will carry me through the tiredness and the pain and the deep, dark, ugly times when quitting will be oh, so easy… It will give me extra energy in the dark and lonely and cold night hours.
No, I have never done a race with 15,000+ feet of elevation gain, and even though that part of this race is probably the most terrifying part, that 15,000+ feet of elevation gain is NOT going to stop me. Yes, I am literally terrified that my legs will reach a point where they simply refuse to climb another step. These sorts of unknowns are scary.
But despite the fears, somewhere deep inside, I know that if I just take my time and keep moving forward, I CAN conquer the climb. I am sure of it!! How can I be so sure? Because I have also never done a 100-mile race, before, but I have EVERY confidence that I can cover the distance. So guess what? If I can cover the distance, then I can handle the climb. It’s that simple. End of story.
By the time we start this race in Wilburton, Oklahoma, I will have run over 700 miles in training during the weeks leading up the race. I will have done strength training and elliptical climbs (albeit not as much of either as I had hoped). I will trust my training. I will trust the plan that I have prepared so as to not waste precious time at aid stations along the way. I have drop bags planned out. I know that I will need to stay hydrated and I will need to force myself to eat, even if I do not feel hungry. I have a 26-hour long playlist of songs that will get/keep me moving if I need them.
I will trust the training and follow the plan.
I will remember to simply make relentless forward progress.
I will just keep moving – one foot in front of the other.
I will remember these things so that I will finish.
I CAN do this.
I also know that I can finish this race because my friends and family have set me up to succeed!
Brandi and Tracie will be there. They are running their own marathons on the same challenging course, and then they are going to help me finish my race. They will be tired and hungry and rather be sleeping, but instead they will be helping me realize this dream. They are the BEST!
Corey will be there, making sure that I have anything and everything I need, including most assuredly a lot of hugs and kisses and emotional strength that I will be needing more than once over the day and night and day of this race. He is my rock.
Also – This race is going to be fun!!
Seriously – the Aid Stations for the race are “Meego’s Saloon” and “Shorty’s Brothel!” How cool is that!?
And other people will be there who are going to add to the fun factor! It is going to be like attending one, big, sometimes painful, 36-hour long, party! Brian and Maria will be there, running their own races and then cheering for Brandi and Tracie and me! (I met them last year at the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth and can’t wait to see them, again!) My BB, Dawn, may have a chance to drop by and cheer us on (and if not I get to see her 2 weeks later in Little Rock)!
The Race Directors, Jeremy and Alicia, who have organized and orchestrated this brand-new event, will be there. I have not met Alicia in person, but she already feels like a friend, and we met Jeremy once before (at the Hawk), so I look forward to saying “hello” to him and thanking them both for their help and advice leading up to this race.
I will also get to meet Running Off The Crazy (ROTC) page admin Bryan Carpenter (and hopefully his awesome wife and kids) and will get to meet many of the ROTC page members who Tracie and Brandi and I have “talked” to via the page, but not had a chance to meet, in person. Those folks are largely responsible for getting the three of us to this event (and a few other CRAZY decisions over the last few months), so meeting them in person is sure to be a fun time!
To top it all off, this is the inaugural running of this event! For the rest of our running careers, those of us attending this 2019 event will get to say that we were “there when it all started.” That is a truly awesome thing!!
I am still scared. But overall, I am looking forward to this upcoming challenge with a cautious optimism and a healthy dose of excited anticipation. I know that I’ve put in the training and I have the support of friends and family. This will be my first 100-miler, my first race with 15,000+ feet of elevation gain, and my first race in Oklahoma.
All I need to do, now, is conquer the nerves, because what’s not to love about that upcoming wonderful, wacky, awesome weekend of firsts?
Absolutely nothing, that’s what.
It is going to hurt. I know that. It will be a struggle. I know that, too.
But this is where the memories will be made. Someday, there will be a book , and this race is where that story will begin. So, let’s bring out the Fireball and raise a glass to all of the “firsts” that lie ahead over the next two weeks.
Until next time…. Cheers!! (With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of help from my friends, my next post will include a picture of my very own awesome, beautiful, Outlaw 100 finisher’s belt buckle.)