Even though it hasn't worked out too well for me in the past, I always love this week on the ultrarunning calendar. ...and it's not just because it marks the time for the biggest $$$ race in the sport at the NorthFace 50 Mile Championship in San Francisco. Sure, that race for the $10,000 first prize is fun to follow, and yes, I even earned an free entry via a sponsor's exemption from my Mohican 100 finish...but the reality is I'm smart enough to know all those guys can run faster than I can sneeze, so I'm better off saving my travel time and money and just watching the race from the east coast.
That race aside, the reason why I'm always most excited about this week is it's when the lottery season really starts to pick up for 2011 races. Tomorrow (Dec 1) marks the opening of the Massanutten 100 lottery, and with this most likely being my focus race for the Spring, I'm hoping I can sneak my way into the starting field. My return to MMT has been delayed for a couple years, and I'm anxious to get back out there in great shape to avenge my stupid DNF caused by a ridiculous fall on what was decidedly "non-MMT" type terrain. I mean really, the course has all those miles of rocks and roots to avoid, and I ended up slipping on what was basically a patch of wet grass. So stupid!
A couple days later on Dec. 4, the Western States 100 lottery drawing takes place out in California. Sure, I have almost no chance of getting into this race, but with three entries in the ol' hat this year, (I've applied and lost the past two years) I think that gives me something like an 8% chance of being drawn...which is better than some!
Should a miracle occur and my name actually be selected for WS100, the big question I'll have to think about is: Do I make this The Year I run the Grand Slam? Odds of me getting back into WS100 another year will be just as slim, so I'll have to take a loooong look at the calendar for the other three races (Vermont, Leadville, Wasatch) to see if I can swing it in what could be my only chance to actually "race" the Slam in top form. There are really only two "Bucket List" events left for me in the ultra world, and along with the Spartahlon, the Slam is on that list. Here's hoping the ping-pong balls bounce the right way on Saturday!
Fingers crossed for a little lottery luck to all of you who have your names in the various hats right now too!