Well the time is here- Squaw Peak 2009- my first focus race. I think of it as my favorite because this is where I was able to cross the finish line in 2007 holding one daughter and running holding hands with the other (photo). My wife was at the finish with a huge smile and a much needed hug. We did it! From there a tradition was born. Seeing my 3 girls at the finish with huge smiles more than made it all worth it. To have them tell you they are proud of you will always bring a tear to my eye and make the pounding in my legs go away- only if for a moment.
This will be my 3rd running and takes me back to my 1st 50 miler. My first year 2007, it was hot and I don't like heat. Last year 2008, it snowed and rained half the day which was welcomed. This year, it looks like scattered thunderstorms and a high around 70....PERFECT! My training leading up to the race has been better than years past. I got a late start on training due to my Achilles but it seems to be accepting of my running. I have gotten some great longs runs and more vertical than the past as well. I was on a run yesterday with Joel and Cory to give the legs a spin and it was funny thinking how much I enjoy trail running but sure can tell when the races are close. In 2007 I just wanted to finish, that's it. I remember the joy of crossing the finish line in a whopping 14:27. Time didn't matter. 2008 I wanted a 12 hour finish (time mattered) crossed the line in 12:44. Rumor was the times were almost 1 hour slower due to the weather but in my book it was 12:44. I missed my goal but was still pretty pleased with how I felt. It was a truly EPIC race. This year I have a goal. Attainable- sure. Putting a time on my race really makes me nervous. Running to finish makes me feel a little better. My goal for 2009......(drumroll).......11:30. Now lets put that in perspective. I believe the winner will go sub 9. That makes me at least 2.5 hours off the leader. Crazy to think how amazing these athletes are. In my mind I know where I need to make up some time from last year but doing it is another thing. I need to "take chances" (thanks Fish). As many know, anything can happen no the course. 50 miles is 50 miles for everyone. Nutrition, hydration, weather, pace, injury and attitude all play factors in the run. I hope most of those come together for me.
The race is sure to be competitive. There are some great athletes toeing the line: Christian Johnson, Erik Storheim, Brian Beckstead, Kevin Shilling, Leland Barker and Scott Jaime to name a few (sorry I know I left out many others). It will be great standing at the start with some great people but I am looking forward to being there next to Fast Eddy. He paced me back in 2007 and was vital to me finishing. There will be a lot of my training friends there as well: Joel, Cory, Phil, Matt, Kacey, Shane, Tom, Jaime and Ron. Good Luck to all of you and thanks for letting me share those training runs with you! Should be a great day in the mountains and sure beats yard work.
Again-GOOD LUCK to everyone and see you all at the finish line!