Monday, January 5, 2015

Dream Big. Take Chances. Do What Scares You.

Ten years ago, the year we turned thirty, we quit our jobs, sold our house and set out on a grand adventure to hike the AT. Sure, we came back broke even after having sold the house, but man, did we have a lot of fun and I wouldn't trade that time in the woods with Ryan for anything. These days, there's a lot more keeping us rooted here in Maine (see one 5-year old kid, two cats, a house that wouldn't make us any money if we sold it and way too many bills) but that's OK too. Still, there's nothing like a big birthday to get one thinking about what's next!! ;)

Actually, I've been thinking about doing a 100 for a number of years but the timing has never seemed right. Last summer, I started to think I might actually be able to pull it off, but it's taken a lot of hemming and hawing and discussing to get me to make up my mind. Setting off on an adventure isn't always easy, but it is always worth it, so finally tonight, I did it. I registered! TARC 100, here I come! YAHOO! (And Ryan says, thank goodness. You finally made up your mind!!)

To be honest, I thought long and hard about doing another 100 this year - the VT 100. It seemed like the perfect 100. It is one of the storied 100s with a long history and a great atmosphere. I really loved being there last July when Ryan, Jamie and I crewed John during his race, and therefore I had also seen a bit of the course, which was scenic and hilly. It just felt like the 100 I should run. But all along, even though I was talking and thinking about running it, I just had this little niggle in the back of my head that was telling me it wasn't quite right.

I know a 100 is going to be a lot of work and it is going to be tough no matter which race one chooses, so yes, part of it is that it is just plain scary to think about committing to a 100. It is serious business. I will need to put in a lot of time and effort, and Ryan and Sam will be affected too. So, I want to be excited about it, you know? I need to be able to stay motivated for many months to do this, to really want it, to be propelled through the training by the thought of that 100 miler that is making it all worth it, and to be able to enjoy the training too.

So, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what was holding me back from being excited about VT was that I would need to train almost exclusively on the roads, as majority of the course is run on really hard packed dirt roads and pavement, with only about 30% trail. While there are roads I really do enjoy running, I am most happy running on the trails out in the woods and I don't know that I would train the right way for VT because of that. And so, it became apparent that VT was simply not the race for me. At least not right now. Yes, it has the potential to be a fast 100, but it's logistically challenging on many levels for us due to Sam and just the nature of crewing the course, it is in July so chances are really good it's going to be hot, it's fairly expensive, and I just plain do not want to have to run for months on end on the roads, pounding the pavement literally and figuratively.

What I need is a race that suits me and my running style. Of course, I need to keep it local too, so this narrowed the options considerably. I would love to do a destination 100 some day, and certainly have a few in mind, but for now, keeping it within New England right now was key. And so, TARC started to seem like a better and better and more exciting and viable option. Oh, TARC has its cons too (it is a 100 after all!), but in the end the pros won out. I am not afraid of loop courses. I have run the course before (and hell yes, it is going to be a tough one but isn't that the nature of the beast?). It is close by. It is inexpensive. There will be great support from the TARC crew, and it should be easy for Ryan to crew. It also gives him more time to train to pace me for the last lap :) Plus I will be able to train on the trails I would normally run and get in pretty good specificity of training for the course. Best of all, I am excited about it, with a bit of trepidation mixed in, and think that this choice will allow me to truly enjoy the journey along the way (as much as one can with the inevitable ups and downs that come along with training for an ultra). And in the end, isn't that what it's all about?

Dream big. Take chances. Do what scares you (and makes you happy).


unstrung said...

Go Danielle!!!

Scout said...


Anonymous said...

Best of luck training Danielle!