29 November 2011


Right now, my living room is a 100 mile mess. There are two pairs of running sneakers (one a half-size bigger for the last 70 miles), headlamps, water bottles, 2 hydration systems, sports bras, a visor, panties, a lace skirt, almond butter, a 24-pack of vanilla gu, body glide, work papers, barrettes, arm warmers meant for Burning Man but now running ones when I lost my running ones, and too many other things to name. And somebody please tell me to never again fly standby (i.e., just a carry-on!) when I am running 100 miles AND spending 5 days in New Orleans. I'm not scrimping on race supplies, but there's a chance I may not have enough clothes in NOLA. Oh well. I'll repeat. Skirts, anyway!

I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm a lot of things. My last 100 mile race was the biggest disaster of my running career. I felt like I pushed it hard, so hard, it really was crazy difficult - but I somehow, ran my suckiest time ever. I wish to forget that now.

In a way, I'm out to redeem myself. I need to prove to myself - I need to run my heart out for 100 miles. I want to PR - oh yes, that's the ultimate goal. But really, it's to discover the love I have for the sport, the fun, the excitement. Last time I ran to prove how tough I was - so tough that I pushed myself beyond the limits of sanity. This time, I will run to prove to myself that this is my first love. (Sorry, Wayne. Not like you're #2 but I fell in love w running when I was 13 and you when I was 31! You and running, you're the two most important things in my life.) I will run to discover the beauty of every step. If it sucks, I will not acknowledge that. A secret, friends - I'm going to pack my little iPod mini that I use at the gym - if it blows, I'll pull that. But really - I won't need it. I know that.

The first 20 - fun, energetic. Next 20 - I'm there, but I got it. Push it. Next 20. Push. Push. It's getting hard but it's not dark yet. Thoughts of seeing Jessica at mile 60 keep me going. Next 20 - I meet my pacer. Change shoes, clothes, get a grilled cheese in my belly. Final 20 - poor Jessica (my pacer) might shove me into the swamp. We'll get to know each other better than people who've known me for years - she'll tell me about the first person she fell in love with, I'll talk about that awful first kiss and that really terrible thing no one else knows - you cross the boundaries, in ultrarunning, everything and I mean everything comes out. She'll laugh at me as I hallucinate ridiculous things, as I pour my heart out, as I trip, as I drop my cookie on the ground and pick it up and keep eating it with the dirt, as I pee on my glove and put it back on, as I cry my heart out, as I bless the stars, as I talk about La Playa de Estrellas de Mar in Bocas and putting starfish on as a bikini top, as I babble, as I reach upwards and forwards, reaching, reaching, reaching...

Until I finish.

Which I will.

Remember, DNF is not in my vocabulary. I tried to include it, Kathy (amazing pacer at Rio del Lago) would not let me. I am seeking redemption. I will buckle. I will push beyond my limits, beyond what anyone thinks another person is capable of. Pain? Hah. Pain is weakness leaving the body. I will push forward. I will win. Not the race, necessarily. I will win for myself. I will have fun. I will enliven my spirit.

And then I will celebrate in the streets of New Orleans after.

Because I run for the love of it.


David H. said...

Best of luck! Run hard, enjoy, soak it all in, then tell us about it.

Jill said...

Awesome!! Good luck Cherie, I'll be thinking of you!!