Jitters? Understatement. Energy levels not seen in recent history? Now that's more accurate. This morning as my Redemption at the River draws ever nearer, I'm bouncing off the walls (that's before the IV injection of caffeine) and am very positive-looking at what will develop over the next 72 hours. Yes, caffeine tends to dehydrate but in all honesty, I'm drinking very much at all…plus, I chase it with lots and lots of water. Speaking of hydrating and more so, DEhydrating, the forecast, in true NE Ohio fashion, has worked itself upward to the traditional BR100 mid-80s, full sun forecast. Anyone who know me well, knows my Achilles Heal...heat and humidity. I have GOT to run a very smart race and make no mistakes. Physically, I have no doubts about covering the distance. This Saturday, it'll be about keeping myself out of physical danger from the dehydration.
Last night, I headed out to Vertical Runner in Hudson for the stuffing of all the race bags for runners at the BR100 participants. Nothing like feeling pre-race buzz with other like-minded folks. The race director, Joe Jurczyk was there (celebrating his birthday) along with our fearless Suzanne (volunteer coordinator of over 350 race volunteers) and a few other volunteers to help out. The tech tees are a big upgrade over last year. Last year, we got gray short-sleeve tech tees (I still haven't worn mine…never earned the right to do so) but this year, we are getting black Sugoi long-sleeve tech tees that are gender specific. Very nice. There will also be some other shirts, tech tees, and WRTR gear available at the packet pickup on Friday night. Of course, the ever-desirable BR100 oval sticker that must adorn my car by the end of the weekend. Gotta get me one of those!
Well, there really isn't a whole lot to say other than that I'm ready to rock out this race and conquer it. Unfinished business from last year when I dropped out due to injury at Mile 55 at 6:30pm on Saturday night at the Boston Store aid station. I swear, I'm going to throw a party when I pass that spot this time around! Here's a few things I'm really excited about as well:
- The bus ride at 3:15am Saturday: I could have bummed a ride or gotten a hotel near the start, but the ride up with everyone, cramped in those made-for-kids seats with runners from all over the country is really a good time. We are all staring down 100 miles and are flooded with emotion. Plus, any chance to meet new fellow ultra-runners is a true pleasure.
- The aid stations: unlike the Kettle 100, I know more people than I don't. Seeing familiar faces and being encouraged by them all day long is a huge boost. Plus, the aid stations as we enter Saturday evening and into Sunday morning will be very festive and fun. I can't wait to get there.
- Seeing Marjie at the Boston Store and probably, some other friends and family. Marjie is volunteering at her first race ever this weekend and at a very critical aid station. Boston Store falls at Miles 56 and 60.6, a time when many runners are struggling and contemplating possibly quitting. Her positive energy and understanding of an "ultra-runner's mind" will be hugely beneficial to those she helps. Being an ER nurse doesn't hurt, either!
- The Finish Line: around 5 miles to go, we'll go through the final aid station. At that point, Maria is going to text or call Marjie and let her know she has about an hour until I finish. Marjie will gather up my two girls and zip on down to Cuyahoga Falls. My dream...my vision...is to be hand-in-hand with my two little girls as I cross that finish line. They saw me crumble last year at Mile 55. They need to know that Dad doesn't quit and always perseveres to finish what he starts.
I will make one final post here on my blog just before the race for tracking purposes and any last updates. In the meantime, the webcast and directions to a few key spots are at the top right of this page. As you can see, the webcast is very detailed and will provide real-time data all day and all night. If you click on a runner's name, you will eventually see a picture of him/her. Those pictures will be taken tomorrow night at the pre-race dinner/meeting at Falls River Square in Cuyahoga Falls.