I met Sean O’Brien back on February 1, 2014. Sean O’Brien made me question my sanity for the first time. Sean O’Brien pushed my body harder than it had ever been pushed before, up to that point. Sean O’Brien (almost) made me cry. I think my tear ducts were way too exhausted to even conjure up actual tears. Sean O’Brien was my first 50K finish and since that near soul crushing day, I haven’t returned. But that’s about to change.
The butterflies showed up early on race morning and I wasn’t expecting them. It’s always normal for me to feel a little nervous before a race, but my stomach was in total knots.
So I did what I always do: I took deep breaths and told myself, “One foot in front of the other. That’s all. No pressure. Just relax.”
I guess you could say I’ve been weather stalking race day temperatures for the past week. Even though I know weather can change 10,000 times in a week, I couldn’t help it. And this is what I’ve concluded: the weather gods hate me.
25 weeks. That’s exactly the amount of time since my last race. And now, I’m staring down 4 days. That is, 4 days until I line up for my first race of the year, the Leona Divide 50K.
Prior to last weekend’s Griffith Park Trail Races (GPTR) which consisted of a Half Marathon, Marathon, and newly featured 50K, this was the only Keira Henninger race I have not been involved with in some way, shape, or form. She organizes seven races – that I know of – so I suppose it was only a matter of time before I got to this one. But the GPTR have been the only races where I have not volunteered, nor participated in.
You can read what happened and what didn’t happen during my 100 mile stint in the Arizona Sonoran Desert at Javelina Jundred HERE.
It’s been a full week since being at Javelina Jundred. After I came close to grabbing a 100 mile buckle I didn’t earn, because apparently the woman confused my sad tears with happy tears, I sat in a chair near the drop bag area at Javelina Jeadquarters trying to process my feelings and emotions, but the only thing I fully felt, was exhaustion. I had already been awake for close to 26 hours and it was probably the last time I was awake for over 24 hours since being a teenager. I’m well past my teenage years and this tired lady needed some sleep!
I went into Javelina Jundred — my first 100 mile race — feeling as prepared as I could be. When I started to look at the 10-day forecast, the Phoenix area had a high of 77 degrees Fahrenheit, and wouldn’t that have been nifty if it actually stayed that way? But as each day passed and inched closer to race day, the temperature also increased. When I arrived on Thursday, there was a record setting temperature of 100 degrees that day, but I didn’t let it phase me. I trained for the heat and I had no control over what it is. All I knew was, Saturday was going to be a hot one, but I didn’t know what I was in for. But isn’t that the whole point of me doing 100 miles? To find out.
This is it! I’ve come down to the last couple of days before I toe the line at my first 100 mile race – Javelina Jundred! I think back to a few years ago when I told my friend Tracy that going 100 miles is something I have absolutely no aspirations of ever doing. Never. Nope. Not for me. Funny how a little time can change all that.
Right now there are so many feelings, emotions, and thoughts going on:
I can’t believe I’m only a few short days away from undertaking my first 100 mile race! What began as a 15 month journey, has whittled down to a matter of hours. Eek!!! When I signed up to do Javelina Jundred on the morning of January 1, 2016, after deciding to do it back in July 2015, I had no idea what to expect for the next several months. I knew long runs would be on my plate, as well as, back-to-backs, night running, heat, and mental training, but there were a few other things I didn’t know would happen as training got underway.
If I could draw any similarities between my first Chicago Marathon and this one, it would be the weather was awfully similar. Very similar. In fact, practically identical. And that would be the only similarity because this time around, everything else was different.