The body is ready, the mind is willing, and every cell of me is looking forward to the annual reunion of what can best be called a tribe of those persons so crazy they spend hours on their feet suffering, fighting their personal demons, and seeking only a moment of shared catharsis when it is all said and done.
My goal is to finish. Nothing more, nothing less. No time goals - I have them, yes, but won't say or publish them publicly. My wife and her best friend are crewing, and a good friend of mine from high school is taking me through part of the overnight. I may be joined by a second pacer for the last marathon or so, and we'll see what kind of train we can make fro Oberg to the finish.
My training since Kettle has been spotty at best. June was spent in recovery from Kettle. July and August were for the most part full of work-related stress. The body can only handle so much stress regardless of source: work, running, or family/home. When the cup runs over, bad things happen. Sickness and fatigue sets in, tempers get short, etc. I had a couple weeks of these symptoms caused by preparing for, conducting, and coming down from an out-of-town trial. Then a ramp up and down from a vacation, and then a brief to the court of appeals caused a couple more weeks of the same. Each required me to set my practice on hold for a week or more, and address one specific thing. And the work doesn't stop while in that state - I can't just tell the world to stop calling or emailing me.
But the pleasant side of that is once the work that caused the stress is completed, the body rests and relaxes and returns to its state of fitness. I was concerned earlier this month - I've got the draft post to prove it - that my stress was a sign that I hadn't fully recovered, wasn't carrying fitness forward, or that my training since Kettle had been insufficient. One fitness-affirming run changed that, and my confidence has been restored.
Finally, I turn 30 on Tuesday, and several runners shared a 30K birthday run with me yesterday. I've wanted to do a run like that since about 2010 - one mile or kilometer for every year of age - but with Superior fall races, whether the 50 or 100, has always been too early in the year and my birthday too far from a weekend to really pull it off. This time, the run was held 13 days from the start of the 100 miler, a sufficient time to run an 18.5 gentle trail run. Thanks again to all who came, provided birthday goodies, and shared the trail. You all are the reason this community is a tribe of runners that keeps us all coming back.