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June 24, 2008

Off and Away!

“Congratulations! Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!”
- Theodor Geisel (Dr Seuss), from Oh the Places You’ll Go!

At this point, there’s not much left to say.

After months of training - not to mention years of anticipation - I’m finally on my way to the Western States Endurance Run.

I’ve been replying to a lot of “good luck” e-mails from friends this week, and in almost every one of them, I’ve written something like, Thanks – I feel really good about everything.

The most surprising thing to me about this whole training period is how uneventful it’s been. Usually when I’m building up to a major race, there are all kinds of crisis periods due to illness, minor injuries, or the sheer panic of missing workouts due to unforeseen circumstances.

This spring and summer, everything clicked along more or less the way I wanted it to. Sure, I would like to have logged more mileage from week to week, and I’d like to weigh a little less than I do, but I think those feelings are inescapable; I suspect nearly every endurance athlete comes into races wishing he was 10% lighter and had done 10% more training. Otherwise, I have no complaints about how the story has played out so far.

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter told me she wanted to make me a bracelet to wear during my big race. (This was completely expected, as she’s something of a beading fanatic. I’ve got enough bracelets and necklaces to complement a dozen different outfits – but that’s a separate post someday.) So in addition to all my lightweight fabrics and technical gear, I’ll be sporting this accessory on my journey from Squaw Valley to Auburn:

You know how it sometimes takes me entirely too many words to explain my mindset (like this post for example, which I introduced with “not much left to say …”) or get a particular point across? Well, my daughter basically summed up my approach to this race in two little words. (Sure, she gets high marks for efficiency – but she’d be a terrible blogger.)

My plan is to just run. Not to worry about the course or the heat (or, with increasing prominence, the smoke) or specific split times or any of the other potential pitfalls that may befall me. I’ll just run whenever I can, walk when I can’t run, and – hopefully this won’t be necessary - crawl when I can’t walk. As long as I keep on moving, I’m fairly confident that other considerations like finish times and belt buckles will fall into place.

If you’d like to follow my progress this weekend, use the Western States webcast and click the “Where’s my runner?” icon to search for me by name, or by bib #128. Start time is 5AM on Saturday, and the site is updated based on reports from 20 checkpoints along the way.

When it’s all said and done, I’ll post a brief announcement as soon as possible, but I’m not sure what kind of wi-fi access I’ll have at my disposal, or what kind of condition I’ll be in to attempt typing a post. In other words, the webcast is definitely the fastest way to find out how my race went.

In light of those factors, here’s a final suggestion: If anyone out there sees something definitive (a finish time or … something else I’m not willing to mention) posted on the webcast, feel free to use the comment box below this post to notify others. That way I won’t feel so rushed to drag myself to the blogger dashboard while my body is fighting off a multi-system shutdown.

Thanks again to everyone who has followed along. It’s been a great journey thus far. See you in 100 miles.

“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting. So ... get on your way!”
- Dr Seuss


Addy 6/25/08, 5:40 PM  

I'm so excited for you to take on this journey :) Your training has been so solid and, with your special bracelet, You can't go wrong.

Have such an amazing experience!

stronger 6/25/08, 5:51 PM  

I'll definitely be tracking you. I really wish I could be out there to see you at some point on your long journey. When you start hallucinating just pretend you see me and D&E jumping up and down cheering for you! You will do well.

craig 6/25/08, 5:53 PM  

You are raising one incredibly thoughtful daughter there. Which doesn't surprise me at all. Thanks for the bib #. I'll look forward to checking in on you.

JohnF 6/25/08, 6:22 PM  

Best wishes for a good run

Rainmaker 6/25/08, 6:29 PM  

I'm looking forward to tracking you! I hope the smoke clears and they give the go ahead.

Good luck!

Dan Seifring 6/25/08, 7:40 PM  

Best of luck to you. Look forward to the report.

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