Monday, June 22, 2009

Mind. Set?

A decade of dreaming.

Fantasies of something that seemed so unreachable. But, dreams beget inspiration and inspiration, desire. With the wanting comes the choice: take those first steps and then the next. Years of building the endurance to even consider the distance. Years of turning myself into something I thought I could not. Eventually, the unfathomable seems almost conceivable. Step upon step, plodding the trails for hours, days, months, more and the dream grows legs, becomes a goal. The well-tempered goal inevitably spawns a plan.

The original plan was modest, perhaps too much so. Year one, a 50K, 50 miles the next. Perhaps with a 3rd year's experience I'd make a 100 by my 40th birthday. Western States was dropped into that cloudy bucket labeled "someday." Momentum is a marvelous thing; add a bit of energy, it becomes acceleration. I qualified for the lottery running a 50-miler my first year in the game. The second year, I ran 2 hundreds and was back for the draw again. Year three, I ran 4 and would be an "automatic" for States the following year based on the two-time-loser policy, perhaps among the last to be granted such honor.

With the 2008 fires, the plans, goals, dreams (and perhaps even a few hopes) of a couple hundred runners went up in more than just proverbial smoke. Then cancellation spun into postponement and those of us who'd expected to run the following year knew what it meant. Back to dreams it was. The original source of inspiration would, in all likelihood, have to wait another year, maybe two. A small handful would be given respite to fill some vacancies, but never did I imagine myself among them. Well, imagine is a bit of a strong word. Certainly, I didn't allow myself to fully believe until I sat at my desk, staring at the acceptance email.

Suddenly, plans became schedules--months of training plotted out. Schedules were executed. Base building, heart-rate tracking, long runs, tempo runs, all of it logged and analyzed. Races were run; one building upon the next. My biggest mileage ever, completed just in time for a proper taper. Now, with the big day finally looming near, times are being estimated, past results studied. Fiddling with an elaborate spreadsheet calculating splits and aid-station arrival times has become a near obsession. The final pieces are being snugly pressed into place.

Something that was once only a thought will soon become real. A decade of dreaming, years of building, months of training, and weeks of planning to execute on a well-devised strategy.

Yet, for some inexplicable reason, I will still, most likely, pack at the very last minute.


olga said...

Have fun packing:) See ya in a few!

Ric Munoz said...

Good luck, Steve! I can hardly wait to read your report about the whole WS experience -- I'm sure it will be nice and comprehensive!

Nick said...

You've done some serious preparation, Steve. I'm sure it will all work well in your favour. I look forward to meeting you again (last time was C2M 2008).

Stuart said...

Have a great weekend! Hope to add it to my resume sometime in the future