I've never really gotten fired up about running. For the past three years I've been a fairly mellow fellow. Sure, I've gotten very excited about races and training runs, but never fired up like I used to do when I played football.
I've approached running ultras as a hobby. A mere way to help control my weight and overall health. It's been a great way to spend some time in nature and relax while still pushing my body a little farther than it ever has been before.
Sure it hurts, but it's mostly a good hurt. A hurt of accomplishment and the satisfaction of completing something difficult. The need arises from having a compulsive personality. Every ultra runner that I've ever met does, at least to some degree or another.
I've made it known to the masses that I'm running The Pinhoti 100 Mile Race again this year. As a matter of fact, in about thirty short days from now I will toe the line with about 100 other runners. This will be the toughest physical challenge of my life - simply to finish 100 miles under the 30 hour cutoff.
Lots of runners hope to finish a marathon (which is 26 miles) at some point in their lifetime. A very admirable goal and I'm certainly not belittling it. I just want to use it below as a comparison to what me and the others are up against. As a matter of fact, most marathon runners will run their 26 mile race 2-3 hours faster than I will run mine at Pinhoti. I would argue that a hard marathon could be harder than running/walking 100 miles. It's just two very different approaches to the sport.
I hope to run my first marathon in the gnarly mountains of Alabama in 6 hours. (26 Miles)
Then run another marathon in 7 more hours. (52 Miles and 13 Hours)
Then run a 3rd marathon in 8 more hours.(78 Miles and 21 Hours)
Then run a 4th shortened marathon of 22 Miles in 9 more hours. (100 Miles in 30 Hours).
I DNF'd last year at Pinhoti (Did Not Finish). After missing a turn on the trail and going off course for several miles I fell behind the cutoff times and was forced to drop from the race around mile 30. I was having a horrible day leading up to this and I would have had to overcome some great odds to finish even if I hadn't screwed up.
Here is the part that has me running mad. I hear the whispers from the shadows of other runners and friends:
"He's not a 100 mile runner"
"He dropped last year, he won't finish this year"
"He's too slow, he will never keep ahead of the cutoffs"
"He's just too big of a guy to run a tough 100 miler, he won't finish"
"When he drops, I hope to use his crew team for my run to help me finish"
I know we shouldn't care what other people say, but lets face it, we do. It has me fired up to run this race too.
The truth is that some people don't want to see you do well. They secretly hope that I DNF again or don't reach my goals. I'm not talking about racing against each other, I'm talking about the type of person who just plain out wants to see you fail. Those folks have me running mad going into Pinhoti. I'm going to run my own race for sure, but I will use their comments to fuel my body when I feel like quitting. My body will be taken off in a stretcher before I drop at that race.
I'm a big guy, especially in the ultra running world. At 6'2 250 lbs. I double the size of several runners (even males). I've even been asked what aid station that I'm working at several times before a race that I was running in. It's funny and eye-opening at the same time. I realize that this causes people to speak out about me a little more. That's fair.
I'm struggling with weight loss. I haven't found the will power to drop these final 50 lbs., but I will. I've shared that struggle over and over again. Its frustrating and I'm just being real here.
With that being said don't count the big guy out of Pinhoti this year. I've paid my dues over the past six months. Several 100K+ runs, 50Ks, long training runs, back to back runs, speed workouts, squats, push ups, sit ups, lunges, and other treacherous feats of fun.
As a final note before I run the race. If I don't finish Pinhoti, then I will NEVER run another ultra marathon again. I'm laying it all on the line for this one and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Sure it sounds sort of childish, but its that attitude that will push me over the finish line.