Monday, October 20, 2014

A Leap of Faith

Hard work, patience, and faith.

That’s what it takes to finish a 100 Mile Race. Or, at least that’s what I THINK it takes to finish a 100 mile race. Since I’ve never actually run one. Oh, I’ve done the training. And read the best books on the subject. And spoken to plenty of people who have gone the distance. But, the furthest I’ve ever run at one time is 50 miles - which barely gets me half way!
So, what makes me think I can do it?

Hard work, patience, and faith.

Over the course of the year (and even more so lately) people have asked me how my hundred mile training is going. And my answer is always the same: “I don’t know”. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to do this. I’m kind of winging it. And I won’t really know until the race is over and I can see the results.
I DO know that I’ve worked harder this year than I ever have before, in my previous 16 years of running. I’ve logged more miles and more (and longer) long runs than ever before. And I’ve patiently stuck to my “slow and low” heart rate training, instead of running and racing with my friends - mile after lonely mile.
But, what about that last part? The faith thingy?

Well, as a long-time long-distance runner, this certainly isn’t the first “leap of faith” that I’ve taken. In fact, I’ve taken quite a few. This one just happens to be over the largest “chasm” yet!
The first running leap I took was after I ran my first mile without stopping. For some reason (that I still don’t quite understand) I decided that, once I finished that mile, it was time for me to begin training for the Boston Marathon. Perfectly reasonable, right? What makes and overweight, out-of-shape, newbie jogger think he can run a marathon? One word. …Faith.
The next leap I took was the running of the marathon itself. After training all year, averaging just 25 miles a week and only having gone as far as 18 miles (once) without stopping. I lined up to run the 1999 Boston Marathon. At the time, that 8.2 mile distance (between 18 & 26.2) seemed like a pretty big gap to jump. The race was a slow slog (particularly the last 10 miles) but I believed I could do it …and I did!

13 years later, I ran my First 50 Mile Racewith only one 30 miler under my belt. And, although that 20 mile leap was a sizeable one, it seemed more manageable at the time - based on my 60 mile per week training and my years of endurance experience. And, as it turned out, it really couldn’t have gone any better. Despite not having a clue what I was doing, I felt great the whole way, finished strong and exceeded my wildest expectations!

Now, after only having run 50 Miles, I’m attempting another 50 mile jump to 100. Am I crazy?

Maybe. But in addition to that 50 mile run, I also did another 50 Mile Run. In the heat of the summer! I did four 50k’s. Two of which were on snow! I ran the 30 mile Pemi Loop. Two hours faster than ever before! And I did the 50 Mile Hut Traverse. Staying on my feet for more than 20 hours and more than 20,000 feet of elevation gain! So, I know I’m somewhere in the ballpark.
Plus, if past "blind faith" performance is any indication of future positive results, I’ve got to like my chances!
I’ve completed all my Homework assignments. I’ve done the Extra Credit. And, I’ve Studied as hard as I could. So, with less than a week to go until the race, all that’s left for me to do now is have that faith in myself, in My Team and in my God. And KNOW that it will be more than enough to carry me to the finish.
See you on the other side!

PS. For anyone who's interested, there's still time to donate to 100 Miles For Sam


  1. You WILL do this. Have fun and spend some time enjoying the course.

    1. Thanks Scott! That's the plan, anyway.