First and foremost, I need to give the "Excellent Timing" award to the organizers of this historic race: Last night they debuted a completely revamped website, and it looks amazing. Deep within the shiny new links and animations, you'll find some fantastic old-school photos from the races back in the early 80s as well as links to the 4-part video from last year's race. There's something about a pleasant British lady's accent that makes running 153 miles sound almost pain-free.
Beyond the glitz and glamor of the new site, there's one key bit of info that will please everyone following the race back home: This will be the first year that all runners will be wearing chips on their shoes...and through the magic of satellite uplinks, you should be able to follow our progress through every single last stinking one of the 75 checkpoints along the course. Just click on the "Live Data" link at the top of the page and you'll be off and running, so to speak. If you're stuck at work next Friday, you'll be all set for distracting entertainment during the workday as the race kicks off at Midnight (Thurs/Fri) EST. We'll be running all day Friday and into Saturday morning. If all goes well for me, I'll be high-fiving the statue of King Leonidas in the wee hours of Saturday morn back here in the States.
For more info beyond the official website, fellow US runner (and Oklahoma native) Chisholm Deupree will be posting some tweets during his time in Greece via his race Twitter account: @Okie_in_Athens
My race plan will be one I've used before with much success. It's hard to explain to people who have "only" raced 100 miles that this type of race is a completely different animal. It's not just tacking on another 50 miles of shuffling after 100 miles. Lots of things happen after the 100 mile point, and none of them are good. My race plan is essentially a sliding scale that allows my mind to get stronger as my legs weaken over the course of 24+ hours. A strong mind is pretty much the main fuel source for me once I get past 100 miles. On Friday I'll cruise through the 50 mile mark in about 7:45-8:00 to save my strength for the climbs ahead. The stretch leading up to the mountain at mile 100 will be about building momentum to rock that climb in style. Once down the backside of the mountain, I'll have a little less than 50 miles to start picking off the Parade of the Dead and climb the standings. With so many studs from the 24 hour world running this year (no doubt a result of the 24 hr. World Championship being canceled this year), I have no clue how high up I'll finish, but I think if I run my own race and execute each stage as planned, I'll end up with a smile on my face...and that's what it's all about!
I can tell already that I'll be slipping into my "big race focus coma" as soon as I step off the plane in Athens. I'm already catching myself staring off into the middle-distance a few times a day while thinking about the race this week. I've pretty much got the elevation profile and my desired splits memorized. It's been a long time since I've been not only 100% healthy leading into a big race, but also had such a successful training block leading into it as well. Barring a lightning strike or extended detour through a baklava factory on the course, I should be able to put up a pretty solid result.
Before I sign off and hop on the plane, I want send Special Thanks to:
1) My wife for allowing me to run the insane training schedule I ran over the past couple months
2) My parents for the effort they're about to put in while keeping me moving across the Greek countryside
3) Drymax for these awesome socks that will help me represent the good ol' USA while abroad! I shall do my best!
|USA! USA! USA!!|