It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.
-Hugh Laurie, Actor and Wannabe Ultrarunner
I am not ready.
A training cycle that included 1946 miles ytd, three marathons, one double marathon, one 104-mile ultra and three other training runs in excess of 40 miles. The world’s greatest pacers and crew. Three buckles in three years proving it can be done.
And I am not ready.
There is simply no way to completely prepare for the Leadville 100. Even when you know what is coming.
The inevitable fall(s). You don’t know where, when, how often or how bad. But you will fall.
The percussive sound of heavy, persistent footsteps behind as you climb Hope Pass. Turning to find no one there. Realizing it’s just your heart trying to bust through your chest.
The stomach on the edge. Your next Salted Caramel GU waiting to push it past the tipping point.
The odds are not good. Only 45% of those who start the 32nd running of the Leadville 100 Trail Run at 4 AM tomorrow will finish by 10 AM on Sunday morning.
If there is one thing I have learned it is this. It is OK to dream of the epic nature of the event before the race. It is OK to take well-deserved pride in the accomplishment after the race. But never, ever ask why you are doing this during the race. You will not be able to come up with a good answer. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Relentless forward motion.
This is the toughest physical and mental challenge I face each year. “Ready” implies that you know what will happen over those 100 miles, in the dark, on the technical trail, in the cold, in the full-on sun, through the river, without oxygen. “Ready” suggests you have prepared for every contingency. “Ready” means your training has been close to flawless.
I am not ready. You are not ready. We have never been ready.
And that’s what adventures are made of.
p.s. Many thanks to the World’s Greatest Pacers, Susan Vickerman and Dan Turpin, for joining me out on the course for the 4th year. Thank you, Tami Strand, for being the consummate crew chief and rock. I could not do this without you.
p.s.s. We are raising $$ for The Life & Hope Fund to help patients and families dealing with cancer, feel free toss a few bucks this direction: https://www.crowdrise.com/LeadvilleforLifeHope/fundraiser/ericstrand
p.s.s. I can’t say Leadville will be fun, but the Grandma’s Double training run a few weeks ago with Ben McCaux, Zach Strand, David Maas and a cast of thousands was a complete blast. Here’s the video from this year’s 52.4-miler this past June. Enjoy!