Why I need to finish a 100 mile race

I need to finish what I start. 

If my history has proven anything this may take years. However, I hope to finish a 100 mile trail run in 2021. College took more than four years; many starts and stops but I finished. 

Finishing triathlon and Ironman races took a more traditional path; I finished what I started right away.

I’m not exactly sure why I am compelled to race long. Maybe because I’m not fast. Maybe because I need to push myself and be out there longer. I don’t want to run Badwater or a 200 mile race – now that is crazy, but I’ve always liked a physical challenge. I’ve always needed a goal that was out there.

Where does this come from? I’m not sure. 

Growing up I always played team sports. Once I graduated from high school I started hiking and biking, I started doing individual sports. When I started running in 2004 while living in Steamboat everyone I knew had a training plan. Since then I’ve always loved a training plan even if I didn’t follow it exactly. I knew I needed one when I started running marathons and later training for my first Ironman.

I now think going long was a way to exhaust my over-thinking brain. Somehow running and biking long distance calmed my tendency to be high strung and anxious.

Ultra running and Ironman did the trick. 

I just feel better when I’m in the process of training for something I’m not sure I can do. 

Case in point: Leadville Training. 

Two years ago this month I started my 100 mile training plan with a goal to finish the Leadville 100 in August 2019. Nine months of training in the snow and cold, trail running, mountain running, a little mountain biking. I got to my race weight and felt like a million bucks. I finished a 50K, then a 50 miler and was ready for the 100. On race day at Leadville I DNF’d at mile 39. 

I don’t regret any of the time training for that event. I only regret letting my mind tell me to stop running. I want to fix that.

I’m ready to start training again and do it even better, which means mental training, running at night, waking up at 3 a.m. and running. It means weights and mountain biking. Laser Focus. I’m not even sure I’ll get into that race or a race, or if a race will even happen, but I’m going to try. 

Why do I need to finish a 100 mile race? I’m not content not to. I want to know what it’s like to cross a 100 mile finish line. I want to understand what my body must do to finish one. I need to finish what I started. I want the buckle.