The elite running powers that be have set apart the starting waves for the hottest road race in July.. and I'm not in the 10am group, but the 8am.
This spring has been a very productive one for me, racing closer to my potential (definitely not above 90% or 80%) but still making less mistakes, fueling smart, and running smarter races. I have taken a lot of lessons on board from last year and things have been clicking. Not that I would've wanted to run three 100+ mile races by this point in the year, but at the end of my 50's and Miwok, I felt like I wanted to continue on, and maybe continue into the night. The sheer joy of finally having a stable and sustainable system that could lead to some real success and help dwarf some earlier race mistakes seemed very fulfilling.
And with that, I feel like Badwater is going to be a good race. Though I absolutely hate roads, and am not 100% sure about sustaining my ankles and arches, I know that I have the potential on a wide open course like Badwater to mix it up with the best. I don't have the 100's resume' to stand with the greats, but then again the bookies underestimated Nathan at Miwok and he did what I believed he would do as a runner. There's a real dividing line in our sport between those that believe with their brain and those that believe with their hearts. You can't blame someone for choosing one or another when they're right, but I think this time heart will stay in the lead.
At any rate, I'm in the 8am wave. I don't like a few things about it:
1) I am hunted, and have to finish 2 hours ahead of the next runner (basically 10-15 miles down the road) and if I'm successful at not getting passed on the road, I could lose a victory watching someone come in 1:59 behind (as has happened before).
2) If I do well, I don't want someone to say "he got more shade" and not be considered to be truly as fast and tough as another runner
3) I want to mix it up with the other elites in an otherwise boring race and try to work with them to get through some tough climbs
But then if you look at it again, 1 and 2 cancel each other out. I can't consider one advantage without a disadvantage canceling it out. It isn't truly equal, and I don't like being taken out of an all out race as NO OTHER RACE in our sport does this. Yet, I have an opportunity to be the first done, to set out ahead an ignore the position jostling, and let others break each other by running my very own best race.. Which looking at how I was reacting to elites this spring, isn't too hard for me to do with or without them.
Onward to the training. Grand Canyon at the end of the week should be an awesome 60+ mile weekend.
And A FREE SONG for those that appreciate the indie folk stylings of Gold Old War (lemme tell you, the other songs coming out on the S/T album are AMAZING):