September 14, 2010

Dear Hinson Lake 24-Hour ...

Hello, my friend.

Next weekend, I'm coming down for another visit. This will be my third trip. The last two have been, um, interesting.

You look and sound pretty lame, but you've shown me your bad side both times so far. Lemme see ... 67 miles in 15 hours the first year ... 72 miles in 19 hours last year ... a pair of not-so-impressive days that started well and ended really, really badly.

Dude, 91F next Saturday?! Seriously? Kewl! 91F. Any chance you could bump that up maybe 10 or so? Last time I went stupid long in that kind of heat was Old Dominion 2009, and it squashed me like a freakin' bug! Thing is, you are a lot different than OD. Your ground is soft the whole way. Shaded, too, for almost the whole 1.52-mile loop. Another diff: your drinks and snacks are much closer together. Don't get me wrong now. You are still hard. But it's a way diff kind of hard than OD or Massanutten or Mohican. You are sneaky hard. Especially after the lights go out.

Well, and this summer has been pretty brutal here in Virginia, so I've been baking on many, many long runs this summer.

Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I'm coming back. And this time I'm a LOT more ready than I have been the past two times. Don't wanna bore you with a buncha numbers, but suffice it to say that I've been working my hind end off in my hippy-out kind of way all year.

This time, my mind is in a different place. The 5-minutes-here, 5-minutes-there yoga has helped a lot with that. So did that solo 6-hour 50km three-peat of Brown's Gap Road on that smokin'-hot Sunday not too long ago. And that 4-hour road run with Bob where I fought through a pretty major bonk, yet managed to actually control the pace for the final 5 miles. And, of course, the bazillion 2-hour runs that all add up to steady-as-she-goes ultra fitness. Well, and there's also a nice 25:00:00 at Umstead and a decent 125 miles at that 48-hour in New Jersey. And guess what? No sore-as-you-know-what quads and hammies from a way-too-fast Charleston Distance Run two weeks before coming to see you this year.

So, how's this one gonna play out?

I've been playing this game long enough to stop short of predicting a final outcome, yet I'm feeling safe in saying that, this time, I am up for a good fight.

Wanna know what my plan is this time? OK. I'll give you a hint. I don't have one. Yeah. That's right. No plan. How come, you ask? Well, it's like this: I've tried the meticulous plan the last two times and, as you know, you have pretty much sent me home sniveling. The trouble with me and "a plan" is that when the plan blows up, the inability to properly execute "the plan" becomes a serious catalyst for me to quit. This time, I'm rolling on instinct.

Don't worry. I haven't totally lost my mind. I'm bringing some food, chocolate milk, ginger, S-Caps. And I'm bringing my little Nathan belt with the two 10-oz. bottles. Well, and beer. My cooler's bigger now, so there's room for more than there once was.

Anyway, in the end, as we said growing up, talk ain't nothing but talk. Reality is something different. Ultra translation: Like Malcolm Campbell said once in the middle of a 6-day, "You know, this was so much easier at home with my No. 2 pencil."

This is a 24-hour run. Stuff is going to get sideways. And there's gonna come a time or two when you'll help me peel back a layer or two and see what I have deep down inside. Will I or won't I? It's a worthy question. My hope is that we don't get the final answer until 8 a.m. Sunday when the final horn blows.

Anyway, lookin' forward to raising a glass with you Friday evening. And then seeing what we have for each other the rest of the weekend.

In the meantime, stay dry and dusty.



Rick Gray said...

Down there in Hinson Lake(ville), you have a friend in this run and she is a sweet friend, but she likes to trip you up from time to time. She likes to throw a twist in there, but guess what, you are ready for her this year. She might stick her leg out to trip you, but you will just high step right over it. You are prepared so that her little tricks are just like a little puddle in the trail. You just go around it and keep moving. Good luck and your "no plan" is going to work perfectly!

Sophie Speidel said...

Talk is cheap! So show us what you got :-)))

Rick Gray said...

Ah, I think Sophie is playing a little mind game here. Sounds like a little reverse psychology. Now Sophie is a planner, so I imagine that this "no plan" approach is just about to send her over the edge. I have faith in you. You will show her what you are made of and that this "no plan" is actually a wonderful plan.

ultrarunnergirl said...

Love your letter to the course! And I love your plan to have no plan. Just a day in the woods running with friends.

PS. You had me at "beer" :)