A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Insanity by any other name would sound like a good idea?
One week from today I will celebrate my 4 year anniversary of running my first 100k road race and qualifying for the WC100k team. That picture above is from after that race. My friend Mackenzie is taking great joy in dumping ice into an ice bath after I ran around in single digits for more than 8 hours.
Last year, I didn't run on the US team because of a lot of reasons, but my enthusiasm for being a part of the team has never diminished. I love the 100k road event. I love the team, I love the excitement of running the world championships, I thrive at the distance. One of my big goals for the year was to run for the team again this year. The WC100k is back in the Netherlands where I ran my first worlds 4 years ago. I love that course and the race support is immense. Even though that was one of my "A" goals for the year, I hadn't planned on running Mad City to re-qualify for the team. In fact, I naively thought that my 50 mile time at Tussey would have easily secured my place on the team. Unfortunately, the way the team is selected, my spot based on that time is tenuous at best.
A few weeks after Houston, as I tried to decide what race to try and do another attempt at the OT qualifier standard, I received an email from my coach Howard, who was also a long time team member of the US 100k team. He told me that he thought I should run Mad City and explained the selection process for the team. I was faced with a decision. I could either run National Marathon like I had planned (March 26th) and hope my Tussey time got me in or I could push my qualifier earlier, run LA marathon and then run Mad City 100k three weeks later. Neither situation was ideal but on my coaches advice, I tentatively agreed with the second option. I was more keen to run LA marathon and ultimately that turned out brilliant. Until LA was over, I didn't think or consider Mad City in any way. I didn't want it to affect my race at LA. It was not a reality until I crossed the finish line at LA or much of one until the warm fuzzies started to wear off and I came down from my race high.
Feels like only yesterday, oh wait it almost was.
It is barely two weeks after LA and I am packing my bags and preparing to head to Madison to try and make the team. I am equally un-prepared for this race as I was when I ran it 4 years ago. Then I had never run a race over 50k and now, I haven't done a single specific training run for Madison and my longest runs have been two fast marathons. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I am doing the same thing over again and hoping for the same result, so I guess that makes it a good idea. Right? Right.
I am not sure what to expect from this race. I really don't have any expectations which I guess is a good thing. I haven't had time to consider a strategy or what will carry me through the day. I finally got around yesterday to even calculating out some splits for my goal pace. I think my bigger challenge is going to be running nearly a minute and a half slower per mile than my marathon. I am going to have to remember patience and moderation in a hurry. Even though most trail ultrarunners would never consider a road race an adventure, that is kind of how I see this race. It will be an adventure and an experiment of what hard marathon training means for a much longer ultra. I am very curious to see how it plays out.