Lady luck is one hell of a dancer.
Lottery Saturday for both Western States 100 and Hardrock 100 landed on the same day this year. I get too stressed watching it on the computer or even being inside during these things. My yearly plan is to go out, run, and when I'm good and ready, come home and check. Last year I was outside when my phone rang and I instinctively answered it to a "Congratulations on getting into Hardrock!" voice from a dear friend.
This year I went for the group run at Seven Hill Running Shop. 10 miles of trails in the freezing December weather while the lottery nonsense was going on. I was winding down post run when my phone began to blow up. I ignored it but I knew something was up. Finally I answered when the third call from "Home" came in. "You are IN!" Jane excitedly shouted. "You were picked 167th out of 170!" Well, goddamn... about time. This was my fifth attempt to get into Western States and now I was finally in. I drove home feeling great. I opened the door and Jane said, "You should probably check your email." I did. I also got chosen for Hardrock. Gulp, pause. Blink, blink.
When planning the year one hopes to get into the big lottery races but realistically you have to build an alternate plan. My big race for 2014 was going to be UTMB. A 100 mile race around Mont Blanc in France, Italy, Switzerland and back to France in late August. The lottery for UTMB is in January and the field is around 2,300 runners. Much better odds than HR or WS. My family has begun to get really excited about going to Europe in August then this oddity of luck strikes with the lottery gods aiming at me. What is a boy to do? Western States is HUGE and I've always wanted to race it. Hardrock is my muse, my dream race. Western States is exactly 13 days before Hardrock. What about UTMB? Oh the mental clutter! Stop. Give it time to settle. Sit on it. Wait. Decisions will be made once the UTMB lottery is held in January but during this settling period Jane asked me,"If this was your last year of running, what would you do?" I said, "No question. I'd do them all!" She gave me her calm look of approval (she really wants to go to France). I really like the way she thinks.
Welcome to the Mondo Slam. Western States (to be raced with reckless abandon), then go directly to Hardrock where I will attempt to recover, acclimate and finish upright. Seven weeks later race UTMB. If I finish all three races, I'll make myself a Mondo Slam trophy to put in my closet.
The thought of racing Western States put the fear in me so I signed up at the last minute to race the Deception Pass 25k (Rainshadow Running event) on Saturday Dec. 14th. 16 miles is a sprint on really scenic, technical trails. It only took 2 hours and 7 minutes. Good enough for 2nd place and the Master's Course Record. Fun times. Lucky to be able to do the things I do.