It’s about 9:30 am on Friday, October 7th. At 6pm this evening, I’ll start the Grindstone 100 miler in Swoope, VA.
The game plan is pretty simple- start slow for the first half, assess my condition, then try to “race” the second half. The course is an out-and-back with pretty significant climbs and descents on relatively easy trails (technically-speaking.)
My training going into the race is nearly identical to Western States. I didn’t follow a specific plan, rather ran a variety of race distances intermixed with a few “fun run” long runs. Shelly and I also did some high-intensity interval training a few times per week over the last few months.
My mindset could best be described as cautiously confident. It’s a distance I’ve successfully covered multiple times. The vertical change plays into my relative strengths. I have an experienced crew and pacers (Shelly and Jesse.)
There are a few obstacles that will present unique problems. Since it’s an evening start, I’ll be forced to run through the night once and probably into the night a second time. Sleep deprivation is my ultrarunning kryptonite. Also, the forecast calls for temps dropping to about 40° at night. I hate cold. I REALLY hate cold. Both variables can be handled with a healthy dose of warm clothing and Red Bull.
Of course, there will likely be a ton of unforeseen variables. That’s the appeal of 100’s. The ruggedness and remote nature of the course will assure a litany of problems. I’m slowly reducing the gear I carry and the gear I have the crew lug around, which I found to help confront issues as they arise. Limited tools to solve problems leads to simple solutions, which ultimately results in faster times.
As such, I’ll take the same approach as Western. I’ll have fun, savor the experience, and push my own limits to find that edge of my current abilities.
Since people have asked, this is the gear I’ll be using:
- Shirt: Cotton t-shirt, long and short sleeve depending on weather,
- Shorts- Brooks Infinity III
- Shoes: Merrell Trail Gloves
- Light: Fenix L2D handheld
- Hydration: Water or Heed in Nathan Handhelds (2)
- Primary fuel: Gu Roctane (see our Roctane vid here)