Race week has arrived, and I'm officially ready to shred the hills of Massanutten. I've been assigned race number '126' this time, so if local police need help identifying a really skinny/delusional guy wondering through the woods mumbling "24 hours....must break 24 hours", I expect everyone to help out.
Actually, for this race I won't need to worry about my well-being because I'll have a super 3-man crew giving me gels and words of encouragement like "Man, you look horrible". My parents are coming down from MA to re-live the fun of crewing for me at VT last summer, and my dear old college friend (and bridesmaid at my wedding next week) Amelia will also be heading out with me as well. I'm really lucky to have this kind of support out there...I mean, what would a hard-core 100 mile race in the mountains be without your mommy there to say "Oh, my poor baby!" when you stumble out of the woods with a cut on your knee? There are 12 Crew access points (basically between every mountain pass) on the course, so I can look forward to seeing them regularly throughout the day.
I feel comfortable with the course having trained on it so much, so I will definitely focus on running my own race right from the start. The 2 or 3 toughest climbs are fresh in my mind, so I'll be sure not to let them break my will as I stumble up the rocks. I'll be heading out on a pace to finish between 22 and 23 hours, and my crew will have a sheet with this pace-time on it to keep me updated on how I'm doing. That time should put me somewhere in the top 10 depending on the weather. ...and speaking of the weather, I hope mother nature realizes she punished me enough at Umstead...and if anyone knows how to do an anti-rain dance, I'm all ears.
No sense in posting my 3 Goals for this race since 'Finish in less than 24 hours' is really the only goal. I want that Silver Buckle!! Depending on the volunteers working on race day, the race website will be updated sporadically during the day/night. If the results aren't posted Sunday morning on that site, I'll be back home Sunday night to post an update. Happy trails!