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October 31, 2007

Into the Fire

And now for what has to be the least suspenseful announcement in the history of this blog:

You have successfully completed the Western States Endurance Run Entry and will be included in the WS Lottery. All 2008 participants will be selected at the WS Lottery, to be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, December 1, 2007 at the Placer High School cafeteria in Auburn, CA. You are encouraged to attend the lottery. All applicants selected in the lottery will be posted on the WS website (www.ws100.com) immediately following the lottery. Once you have been selected, your credit card will be charged the full amount of the entry fee. Once you are selected in the lottery process, there is a no-refund policy.

So there you have it: my name is officially in ultrarunning’s Goblet of Fire. We’ll know how things shake out in about 5 weeks. Since I wasn’t picked in last year’s lottery, I’m not exactly brimming with optimism about the outcome this year, but there’s nothing I can do about it now but to wait and see.

Last year, I had a rock-solid back up plan if I wasn’t selected for WS: doing an Ironman. This year I’m not nearly as certain. I told myself (and more importantly, my wife) that I wouldn’t return to Vineman again next summer, so that’s off the table. From a financial and travel standpoint, any M-Dot Ironmans are completely out of the question. So while my 2008 race calendar will probably include a triathlon of some sort, I have no idea what or when.

The rest of 2008 is equally up in the air. Basically, I’m waiting to see what happens on the first of December, and then I’ll compile my race schedule accordingly. If I get into WS, the focus will obviously be biased towards ultras instead of triathlons. In the meantime, I’m not going to worry about next year’s schedule one way or the other.

Finally, let me say this about the entry process: peer pressure is alive and well in the blogging community.

After my Firetrails report, when I expressed some apprehension about entering the WS lottery, I got dozens of comments and e-mails. They were nearly unanimous in recommending that I submit my name. Not one single person said anything reasonable
like “You know, running 100 miles seems a little crazy. The training takes a ton of time and wears you down. Your time would be much more productive doing something else. Besides, your family will probably miss you.”

Granted, I was standing on the precipice and getting ready to take the plunge anyway – but those collective remarks were enough to give me a nice firm shove over the edge. I haven’t heard this much encouragement to engage in a potentially self-destructive activity since junior high school.

So, um … thanks, I guess. But I’m reserving the right to be ungrateful if this whole thing ends up going terribly wrong.

18 comments:

Thomas 10/31/07, 2:15 AM  

You know, WS isn't the only 100 miler around, if you don't make it through the lottery.

Deene 10/31/07, 7:32 AM  

the Leadville 100 could be your back up plan..

Backofpack 10/31/07, 8:56 AM  

Eric's name is in the goblet too. And the comments above are right - theres CCC 100 up here. Probably have the most excellent Y Run Club aid station again, lots of good support, possible crew (depends on if the crews two runners run) but definite cheering section. Keep it in mind...

Zach 10/31/07, 9:11 AM  

Glad to hear you put your name in. Good Luck!

21stCenturyMom 10/31/07, 9:48 AM  

Ha Ha... I've noticed that if you ask people if you should do a race they pretty much always say "YES! Do it!" Bastards! :-)

I'm sure that if you don't get in to WS-100 you'll figure out something great to do. There is certainly no shortage of great events in these parts. Also - have you considered Vineman 70.3?

Paul 10/31/07, 9:54 AM  

Hey Donald,

Well look at it this way. It will be good training for Big Kahuna 2008. :D Someday I'll get the chance to blog about putting my name into the WS100 lottery..Until then I have to live through you...

jen 10/31/07, 10:12 AM  

Wow, good luck in the lottery, and nice Harry Potter reference. :) Happy Halloween!

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) 10/31/07, 3:09 PM  

(Well if there's ANY chance that my name would've been the next one drawn after the last one, here goes):

Donald! You know, running 100 miles seems a little crazy. The training takes a ton of time and wears you down. Your time would be much more productive doing something else. Besides, your family will probably miss you. Or hate you. Remember, in California, your newly ex'd ex-wife gets half!

(Totally unethical. Totally wrong. But I have to try, one less competing application at a time...) ;)

Spokane Al 10/31/07, 10:29 PM  

Good luck on the WS lottery. And when you win a slot and race I will be looking forward to pictures of your duct taped toes.

Zach 11/1/07, 9:16 AM  

Off topic - just finished Into the Wild; excellent read. Thanks for posting about it a few days ago.

the Dread Pirate Rackham 11/1/07, 9:22 AM  

I can't run 100 miles. Not yet. The fact that you can is just amazing - so go do it.

plus, nobody told you anything you weren't already thinking. that you have support (crazy or not) is a positive thing.

When you bring your family along on the journey, they're not left out!

olga 11/1/07, 10:25 AM  

Yeah, yeah, yeah...training is time consuming and hard, and the family hates you and the boss hates you, and strangers look at you, hmm...strange. But if you don't try - how will you ever know if you can? Once you think of something up - you gotta follow through, that's it. If you haven't - then you're safe. Although I'd like for you not to put your name (as Mark points out - fewer names in a aht for mine to get drawn:)). But just imagine when we both get in, how much it'd be to kick my butt there!!! That along is worth the effort of training, blogging community and all!

momo 11/1/07, 10:55 AM  

glad we could help. :-)

i just want you to do it first so i know exactly how hard it hurts before i try doing an ultra...

robb 11/1/07, 11:19 AM  

Good luck getting in!

(or not getting in, depending on your point of view)

Darrell 11/1/07, 7:53 PM  

Are we supposed to act suprised now? ;-)

Seriously, good luck and happy training.

rick 11/2/07, 12:05 PM  

Just mailed my application yesterday. There's nothing reasonable about an IM or a 100-miler unless you're a triathlete or an ultra person:) I'm sure you weren't surprised by all the comments.

angie's pink fuzzy 11/2/07, 6:57 PM  

did you really need us to peer pressure you in, though?!

Makita 11/4/07, 7:36 PM  

I'm not surprised that you entered. :) It is a big race for you - one you've dreamed about for a long time - you should certainly give it a go. Best of luck on the lottery! :)

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