I’ve heard that question a number of times since completing my Ghost Train 100 mile trek. I think I was asked that very day, though that day is still a blur. Much like when people say, “Never make big decisions when you’ve had surgery, going through tough time, etc”, I can’t fathom making that decision any time soon. In fact, I’m still very much reveling in my accomplishment. I’m not ready to let it go sit on our “accomplishment” (aka medal) showcase just yet. Maybe I never will.
Since Ghost Train, I’ve done some walking but almost 2 weeks out, I haven’t run yet. I’ve been in no rush, but also, work and commute have been a big time suck the last two weeks. Last night, I realized I’m getting cranky. So, it’s time to resume running! I feel great physically and I feel like I want to mentally – that was my biggest fear. I have accomplished big races before and have not wanted to look at my running shoes for awhile afterwards. Even though Ghost Train obviously pushed me more physically and mentally than ever before, I feel pretty hungry to get back to it. So that’s a good thing.
So back to my blog title, "Will you do another?" I honestly don’t know, but right now, I’m leaning towards “no”. And here’s why:
- It’s impossible to recreate something so magical as a “first”. Back in 2000, a group of us ran Reach The Beach. We had the most amazing people, so fun, so easy going…how could we recreate that?
- Training was pretty intense and extremely time consuming. I actually enjoy the back to back long runs on the weekend, but running a 30 miler on Saturday and another 20 miler on Sunday really limits any free time that I depend on to recharge.
- Race prep was pretty intense and extremely time consuming. Scott was all in and embraced his “crew chief” role with all of his might. He made sure our friends and I were well fed, hydrated, and cared for. That took a lot of work.
- Crew/Pacers. I asked a lot of my friends and they went above and beyond. I don't believe in take, take, take.
- Balance. Between the training, the prep, and the actual race weekend, it’s hard to maintain balance. Like many, I work full time and then some. I also took on a hellish commute back in August with no ability to work from home (steadily anyway). Balance means different things for different people. I know what sets me off balance, so try to be mindful of what triggers it and/or how often I allow it to do so.
- I miss running ‘regular’ races and running ‘regular’ training runs with friends. Most people venturing to train for a 100 miler are training to be slow. Or slower. I was determined to not blow up at Ghost Train, so I was diligent with my run/walk ratio approach. Kinda hard to merge a 30 mile training run at 13 mins pace with a friend training for a marathon at 8 or 9 min pace. No one wins.
- Was it worth it? Hell yeah...
What could change my mind (never say never!):
- Having depended so heavily on my friends to pace me, I wonder if I would be so strong without them. Do I even need to prove that to myself? Not sure.
- As any runner can attest to, I wonder what I could do to that 29:06 finish time. Hmmm…
- I’d love to pace and/or crew Scott or friends through a 100 miler. I got so much energy and support from my own crew and pacer support that I want to pay that forward.
So, for now, I’ve registered for Pineland Farms 50 miler in May and, to help train for that, the Maine Coast Challenge (half/full marathon challenge 39.3 miles) earlier in May. Friends have joked with me,“wow, marathons will feel like a 5K” and yes, running 100 miles definitely resets some expectations. And yes, the concept of registering for a half/full challenge isn’t so scary when you’re accustomed to running back to back long runs that are longer than that. But I still need to respect the distance.
If anything Ghost Train taught me is to respect the distance. Whatever that distance is.