To run 100 miles with the greatest possible enthusiasm, it takes several months of hard work. When the entire body is in perfect sync, the results on race day are very special and almost mythological compared to our everyday endurance. However, these results always have a price to be paid for them, and I choose to pay on the extended payment plan.
I've spent the last 8 weeks running lower mileage, but still running nonetheless. It's been a repair time for lots of different body parts: joints coming back to full strength, hormones balancing, mind resetting, and a little more time spent crewing and pacing friends to give back to the sport what it gave to me this summer.
Team Mighty Mouse: Tyler, Ankur, Katie, Lucas, Me Rio del Lago 100mi (photo: Tyler Olson)
Last weekend I got to revisit my first 100 mile race (Rio del Lago) and help the Pride of Slovakia, Lukas "mighty mouse" Temer take on his first 100 mile race. I found strong feelings of empathy and pride: empathy for Lukas as I knew how one’s first 100 can overwhelm the body with pain, and pride for him as I've watched him develop his trail endurance over the past couple years on runs in the Santa Monica Mountains. Though Lukas is an eleven time Ironman and three time Kona Ironman (qualifing via the elite age group route), running 100 miles is uniquely challenging in many other ways.
Over the course of the day we crewed our butts off keeping him cool in the 90 degree heat, and he reciprocated running his butt off working his way up through the field and taking the lead at mile 53. Somewhere around 65 miles in, it hit him that he could win the whole thing, and we all got to witness one of the fiercest "eye of the tiger" performances our group has ever seen. I jumped in to pace him from 80-100 and had a blast talking him through the last 20 and keeping him dialed in all the way to an 18:41 victory.
-Unicorns cruising into the win (photo: Tyler Olson)
I really enjoyed the whole weekend immensely. It's a special feeling to really exchange energy back and forth with a runner that's so motivated to perform. We felt his pain when he was suffering and we did our best to ignore it; giving him back only positive energy as he saddled back up out of each aid station. The victory for him was as much a victory for us as a group whose goal was supporting a dedicated friend’s goal as best as we could. The real gold in these races isn’t a 1st place trophy, but a 1st place memory that reminds us of the magic we have inside of us to do incredible things anywhere in life.
-The maximum technology in a minimalist trail shoe; there's some very exciting engineering in these shoes..
And speaking of incredible things, I’m the newest outdoor ambassador for New Balance. Over the past couple years, my best running has come out in the MT100 line and I couldn’t be happier to be sponsored by a company that has produced gear that’s filled my needs so well. I’m slated to help develop new shoes, wear New Balance gear in training and racing, and spread the good word about their products. This opportunity only reinforces my goal to be the best runner I can be, and to pursue my training and racing with all the more passion and vigor. I have a lot of great runs ahead of me, and I’m glad they'll be in the best shoes on the market. My hard work thus far this year is just the tip of the iceberg..
So, with that overwhelming amount of motivation, I have been working back up to higher mileage while maintaining a bit of speed as well. This fall my main goals are peak for North Face 50, get my mileage and vertical back up, and complete some speedwork every week to stay sharp. The rest is just money in the bank for 2012 adventures.
68 miles, 8,8000 ft (at Rio Del Lago, crewing)
80 miles, 17,800 ft
Honey Honey – Turn that Finger around