July 20, 2010

Burning River 100

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

"Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles. The bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, to have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else." ~ Brian Tracy

"Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts." ~ Unknown

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In 8 days (July 31) I’m planning to line up with over 270 others from around the country to undergo what will probably be to date, one of the hardest things I have ever done….run 100 miles at the Burning River 100 miles endurance run.

100 miles. To be honest I can hardly even type that and not chuckle. Mentally it’s hard to get my hands around. Trust me I know (both from being told by multiple sources and from self diagnosis) that this is probably the most ridiculous, crazy, idiotic, stupid thing I have ever done. In fact, I know it is. To finish I will have to have run for somewhere between 24-30 hours. No sleep, no breaks, no quitting.

Three years ago when I started running again I had no idea that I would be attempting anything even close to this. An occasional 10k, yes. Or maybe even a half marathon if I’m feeling ambitious. I mean if you think about it 13.1 miles is a long way. But a 100?? Who knew.

I know this is going to be tough and I know at times I’m going to want to quit. However, I’m committed and plan to use my past experience and drive to hammer my way right through the center of Quitville. It’s all about crossing the line.

The way I look at it, it is a test. A test to see just what this Shoemaker is made of. Don’t get me wrong it’s also about getting the training I need to conquer the mountains of the west but let’s be real….most people don’t need to run 100 miles to do that. For me though it works. Plain and simple I love bowhunt, I love to run, and I love to not suffer in the mountains. So when you put all that together and mix it up, you come up with a bowhunter running 100 miles with a bunch of hardcore ultra marathoners who wonder why a guy wearing camo is in front of them.

Three years ago after being frustrated and disappointed with my first elk season (unsuccessful by the way), I was sitting in my lazy boy thinking about what I wasn’t doing. We all know the definition of insanity…“if you do what you always do, then you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”, and up until that moment in June of 2007, I was doing just that. I was 3 months away from my 2nd elk season and I wasn’t doing anything different. I had to take a good look at myself and realize besides getting lucky, how on earth was I to expect to punch my elk tag? I needed a change. It was at the moment that I decided I was going to do everything in my power to earn my bull. It was at that point that I decided to refuse to accept failure.

From all of my reading and attempts at self education on how to do a DIY bowhunt I had come to admire this guy named Cameron Hanes. He was an accomplished blue collar bowhunter and at the time was the editor of Eastmans Bowhunting Journal. In his articles he talked a lot about how his training and getting himself in great shape is what he felt made the difference. Enough said, I was inspired. Getting in shape was 100% in my control and I thought man, if I can just knock out a 10k or something I’m good. So I found a 10 miler at the end of July which was less than a month away. I knew my time was short but I was hungry and elk season was around the corner.

So in June of 07’ I went from running 0 miles to running a 10 miler in a month (July 07’). After that I thought, holy cow, I just ran 10 miles. What’s a marathon? I bet I could do 26.2….so in September of that year I ran my first full marathon. Then in 2008 a couple more marathons and my first ultra (BT50k – 31.6). In 2009 I did more marathons and 2 ultras, including my first 50 miler. To this year where I have done a 40 miler (see one step closer), the BT50k (last weekend), and now to the runners pinnacle, the Burning River 100 on July 31-August 1.

For those wondering what 100 miles looks like here's a short taste of what I expect….

July 31, 2010
- 2:10am - Up and ready, need to leave the house by 2:45am to catch the bus to start from Cuyahoga Falls. My totally awesome pit crew Jor and big O will catch up…
- 3:30am - Bus departs to Squires Castle (start)
- 5am - BR100 underway
- 9am - Arrive @Shadow Lake - 18.6 miles
- 1pm - Arrive @Ottawa Point - 39.6 miles
- 5pm - Arrive @Boston Store (Shoe change) - 54.5 miles
- 9pm - Arrive @Pine Hollow 1 (Badlands Reactor/Headlamp) - 74.2 miles
August 1, 2010
- 1am - Arrive @Covered Bridge - 85.5 miles
- 5-7am - Arrive @Finish 101.1 miles, somewhere between 24-30 hrs.

This is the plan and if it’s anything like 97% of my other plans it will go nothing like the above. But, you start somewhere.

As far as being prepared I don't have a lot to go on other than what I have read, studied, asked, and the handful of 40 and 50 milers I have done in the past.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been trying to pile on the long runs (22-40+ milers) while knocking out small 6-8 milers during the week. Last Saturday I wrapped up the Buckeye Trial 50k and although I usually try to hammer this out, this one was all about crossing the line injury free...especially after knocking out a 29 miler only 6 days earlier.

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I guess in the end I try to look at this way. There are a lot of people in this world that deal with far more difficult things then I will have to even at the lowest of lows during the BR. So regardless if I’m running 100 miles, chasing elk, or trying to overcome what life has or will throw at me, the bottom line is as the great Jim Valvano once said “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up”….

See you all on the trail.