Day 37: Ultra Trailing

imageToday, I rode 20 miles on the Monon trail. The last time I road anywhere near that distance was 2003 when I was dating a woman who would go on to complete an Ironman Triathlon.

Back then, our 30-40 mile Sunday “fun rides” nearly killed me. In fact, I hadn’t been on my bike since we broke up.

These days, Rebecca and I routinely hit the road for 12-18 mile rides, and I’ve rediscovered my love for bikes.

While we’re gearing up to ride in the 2-day Hilly Hundred in October, I’m still a runner at heart. As I weaved my way through scores of high school cross country runners on the Monon, I couldn’t shake the fact that the itch to do weird things was back upon me.

Two years ago, I ran the Tecumseh Trail Marathon, my reward for quitting smoking in February of that year. I didn’t know it at the time, but it started my running journey.

Throughout the next year, I ran 5 marathon-length distance races, camped across the U.S. so that I could run mountains, and eventually bonked while trying to complete the OPFS Ultra 50/50.

Last November, I decided to take some time away from racing. My body was shot after pushing myself hard for a year. In the interim, I’ve planned a big 2013 (notwithstanding my impending marriage and our decision to start a family as soon as humanly possible).

But I just couldn’t wait that long to do something competitive again (even though I’m only competitive with the finish line). Today, I signed up for my second go-round with both the Tecumseh (Dec 4) and the OPFS (Nov 3).

These two trail runs — 58 miles and more than 6,000 feet of elevation combined — will give me a good indication of how much work I have in the coming year if I’m going to complete the TransRockies and Ragbrai events.

This evening, Rebecca and I have decided to finalize our Hilly Hundred (Oct 19-21) plans as well, which means in less than 45 days (between Oct and Dec, not 45 days from now) I’ll complete 158 miles of running and biking.

It’s daunting to think about considering I’m at the front end of my training, but I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. I don’t know where we’ll finish, but I’m bound and determined that I’ll get across that finish line 3 times even if I’m the last man through.

“Death before DNF,” I’m told is the rallying cry of Crossfitters. I’m down with that idea for this year’s training.