Q. Would it be insane to wake up on New Year’s Day, all giddy with enthusiasm, and embrace a resolution to attempt Indiana’s first 100-mile race with just four months to prepare?
Before we answer that question, a bit of background:
The farthest I’ve run is a half-marathon, a distance I’ve run three times in the last couple of years. But after running 90 miles in nine days in 2011 and cycling 90 miles in (almost) nine hours in November, I realized I really, really want to do more endurance projects. I want to run a marathon and the Huff 50K in 2013, for instance. And when I heard that the time limit for the Indiana Trail 100 is 30 hours — which technically could be completed by walking the whole darn thing at an 18-minute pace — some part of my brain began to think things like “what the heck?” and “could I get my sister to do this with me?”
Luckily, some other, higher reasoning part of my brain had the good sense to query Don Lindley and Jerry Diehl, directors of the Indiana Trail 100, about the viability of such a scheme.
Their response: Don’t be an idiot.
“My suggestion is to wait until next year,” Don wrote. “I also advise other ultra runners to go out and volunteer at the race the year before they actually run for themselves. I do this lots of times!
“Then at least run a 50 mile ultra before the big one. If you cannot finish a 50 mile trail run under 13 hours, it is a good chance that you will not finish a 100 miler with a 30 hour time limit.”
“I pretty much echo the advice Don has given you,” wrote Jerry. “Don is a much more seasoned ultra runner than myself, and I had the good luck to be coached and mentored by Don through several ultra marathons. … You may want to volunteer to help at aid stations or other duties as Don suggested or think about being a pacer (you can run/walk one loop 16.67 miles).”
Sounds sensible to me. I’ve never volunteered at a race before, so that, too, will be a new experience in 2013.