Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Go Big, Or Go Home

When I make a decision, or get a crazy idea floating through my head, I usually stick to it. When I tell people about my crazy idea, then I almost always do it. A couple weeks ago I made up my mind on which ultra I want to be my first. At first, it was going to be the Mountain Masochist Trail Run, or the JFK 50-miler. But then, I read the description of the Grindstone 100:

Grit, endurance, temporary loss of sanity. You might need all of these if you want to attempt Grindstone. If you want to finish, well, just keep in mind this is, without a doubt, the hardest 100 miler east of the 100th meridian.
Now that you're hooked, Grindstone is going to be an incredible adventure for each and every entrant. From the beautiful start/finish location at Camp Shenandoah to the monster climbs and the solitude of single track ridge running, you just can't beat Grindstone... 
but you can try!
Come and join us for a wonderful event and experience what this 100 mile course has to offer you. It will be an experience you'll never forget!

When I decided to run a marathon, the longest distance I had ever run was 6 miles. I never did a 5k, or a 10k. So, I decided to keep up the tradition. The 6 to 26.2 mile ratio is close to the 26.2 to 100 mile ratio. I made up my mind, my first ultra would be the 100 mile run through the Shenandoah mountains. I know, I'm fucking crazy.

Well, I thought about this more over the last few weeks--a little more reasonably. First, there are no mountainous trails to practice on in DC. I've never been hiking before in my life. And the big thing I don't like about the 100 mile races, is the whole 24-hours-of-running-no-sleep part. And, its actually quite dangerous. Then, I found the Virgina Happy Trails Running Club and they host night-time long trail runs. I have friends that go hiking up there, maybe I could tag along and run the trails while they hike?

The club even hosts a night run. I love these points on the event site:
  • Have many rocks and roots. Are your ankles accustomed to this?
  • Will have little, if any water or aid. You must carry water and be prepared to go long distances without aid.
  • Will be a long way from help if you need it.
  • Could be very wet, dry, snow covered, icy, slippery, hot, cold, etc.
  • Do you like to crawl over or under trees? Do you like briars? Poison ivy?  Ticks? Snakes? Bears?
I have an entire year to train for this thing, and I've been researching it like mad on my lunch break, work hours, and so on. I mean, I've been wanting to run an ultra since last December. When I get done with my long 20-mile runs, I want to go again. I love challenging myself in distance over speed. I'm craving the ultra experience.

Today, I discovered something to push me over the edge and write this post to get it out there that I'm gonna run this thing:

It starts on my 23rd birthday!

I mean, how cool is that?!? And you are probably thinking "starts?!"

Obviously, a 100 mile run with 23,000 feet of both climb and descent takes about 24 hours, silly people. It starts Friday evening, the first weekend in October and then the cut-off is 38 hours. So yeah, my first ultra will be a 100-mile run, through mountains, on a course with 23,000 feet of both climb and descent. The most difficult course on the East Coast. The Grindstone 100. 

Go big, or go home.

Btw, here is the Grindstone elevation profile and the MCM elevation profile. Ha! 


  1. Sweet! Come join us on trails! You like rocks, right? The sharp pointy kind? No matter, you'll soon be loving them and the fun that can't be had on pavement!

  2. Yay rocks! Now, I have actually ran on trails before, and I really, really love it. I stayed away in fear of ankle injury pre-MCM, but hopefully I'll be good for a little 8-miler this weekend!