Well, IT is here!!! A week from now (literally) I will be out on the Massanutten course somewhere, hopefully feeling strong:-). Massanutten (or simply MMT) has been at the center of my training (and life according to my family) since January. It was my first 100 mile race last year and I got a huge boost in mental confidence through "debuting" on such a rugged course. Although I was successful (click here for the 2007 report), I made a lot of mistakes that cost me hours of additional time on the course. So, in a sense, I have some "unfinished business" this year. I have made tremendous improvements in my running and whole approach to races over the last 12 months. I will spare you all the details but one area that has vastly improved is aid station efficiency. The Bedrock that lolly gags in and out of aid stations and "holds court" for a spell is a thing of the past. This is one area that cost me dearly last year. I do give myself a bit of a break since I have only been at this ultra thing for not even two years. However, I HAVE made tremendous improvement here and hope that it transcends to a better MMT in 2008. Since MMT last year, I have completed three tough trail races (2 were significantly harder than the other one) and was much more efficient in the aid stations by getting what I needed and then hitting the road. I have the capability, just have to put it to use.
My fitness (both physically and mentally) are significantly better. Some of that likely comes from the experience of another year but a significant piece is from some alterations to my training since January. There is absolutely no doubt - MMT is my focus race this year. MMT is to Bedrock what Western States is to guys like AJW and LB. For those that know me well, I am a bit of a research freak. However, I have not obsessed about the details as much this year. While educating yourself about the course and getting some advice from past participants is no doubt important, agonizing over multiple year split times and a host of other "things" is totally unproductive. I feel much more relaxed as the "rock concert" looms.
A good friend of mine that is also running MMT joked with me the other day, that the race is "all he seems to think about". I remarked that it is okay because in 10 days there is no reason to "think" about MMT any longer as it will be a memory (hopefully a "pleasant" one). I know it will be a ton of fun and the VHTRC does such a great job with this race that all you really have to worry about is the running (and walking). It is amazing how "easy" things look on paper or as you verbalize them. In the end, the experience is what matters. I will no doubt get an experience this year. With my training, mental resolve and better attitude going in, the experience should be an epic one at that. Stay tuned for a link to where you can track my progress next weekend. Peace.