Monday, January 31, 2011

January recap and Upcoming Plans

I figure since I am going to document this process of getting ready for all these 100 mile races I should regularly share my training.  I am going to make it a weekly habit to post my training. 

For January I ran 295.3 miles.  For those miles I ran 32 runs and took 44 hours to complete them.  I also biked 2.5 miles (it was a warm up for a strength workout), snowshoed for 3 hours and strength trained 7 times.

I am feeling really good at this point in the season.  I still have some lingering pain in my right shin.  It is some leftover tendinitis from my attempt at a fast marathon in November.  To heal it I have been doing a lot of my runs on the treadmill at a slow and easy pace (8:35 minute mile - 7 miles an hour).  I also jumped on the bandwagon right after the marathon and started to use minimalistic shoes.  Dropping my heal to be more level with my forefoot took a lot of pressure off my ankle and has been part of the process of healing.  It was pretty hard on the calves at first but I have been adapting really well.  Its kind of like starting over but I'm having fun concentration on my stride and becoming more efficient.

So far I have signed up and paid for Western States, Vermont and tonight Leadville.  Leadville has decided to cap the race at 750 entrants.  It is the first year that they have set a limit on runners.  From what I understand around 600 people have already signed up! 

This is going to be really tough.  We are super crazy busy at the shop right now and I am seriously looking into opening another location.  Some days, like today, I feel like I am so far behind I don't know how I am going to commit the time to do this 100 mile challenge.  But I am not going to let that stop me.  I know that I will make it happen and I know that I have the support of the people around me.  That is a huge help! 

If anybody is actually reading this and has suggestions on what I might add to my updates please let me know.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Slammed down!

In my last post I revealed my decision to enter the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.  Four 100 mile races in four months seems like a pretty good BHAG to use to illustrate the process of getting what you want.  I made that post a few hours after I made the mental commitment to do it, but it seems that I was a bit premature.   The fourth and final race of the slam is the Wasatch 100 in Utah.  It is probably the hardest of the four and to enter the race you have to submit your name (and entry fee) into a lottery.   I had briefly looked at their website and saw the part that said that Grand Slammers would be allowed to run the race even if they didn't get into the lottery, provided that they had finished the three previous races and their quest to complete the slam was still alive.  What I didn't notice is that the deadline to enter the lottery was January 9th.  The lottery is being held on February 5th. 

I emailed the contact link on the website and explained that I had just decided to do the slam and was wondering if I could still put my name in, even though they closed the entries 13 days earlier.  I figured that since Grand Slammers were allowed even if they don't get picked that they would extend me a little latitude.  I was wrong.  Way wrong.  After many emails back and fourth it has become clear to me that there is no way I am getting into the race.

Ronda Sundermeier's 2007 Slam Trophy
At first I was pretty bummed.  I really want that finishers eagle trophy!  I want the prestige that comes with doing something that very few people have done.  Then I remembered why I decided to do it.  I want to document the process.  I want to share the ups and downs that happen when pursuing a dream.  At this point I have two choices.  Quit and chalk it up as it just not being the right time.  I can do it in the future when I get accepted into Western States again, right?  OR...I can just use it as the first obstacle getting in the way of making my dream reality.  That's the reality of pursuing a dream.  It never goes exactly as planned.  I have learned that lesson many times in growing my business.  Sometimes the best things come out of a twist in the road. 

With this in mind I am in the process of picking a fourth race.  It will be equally as difficult and within a week of Wasatch.  At this point I'm leaning towards "the Bear", also in Utah.  I'm even toying with the idea of running a 5th race the month after just to put an exclamation point on my Super Slam.  Maybe I'll even organize this new slam and come up with my own trophy.  Maybe others will want to participate.  Maybe it will turn into something great.  The only thing that matters is that our attitudes towards life's little twists make a huge difference in what we get out of this life.  I am still bummed about not doing the official Grand Slam, but its not going to stop me from moving forward with this dream.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Grand Slam!!! BHAG of 2011

As readers of my blog will know, I've often said that there is a system for getting what you want out of life.  For me it starts with an idea, then that idea becomes a burning passion.  Then I decide to commit to the idea and pursue it with everything I've got to turn it into reality. 

Last year my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) was to run the Leadville 100.  It was a huge goal and like all big goals it took me way out of my comfort zone.  The thought of running 100 miles through the high altitude Colorado Rockies kept me training hard and in the end I had a great race and a week in Colorado with my family that I will never forget.

This year, like last year, I entered the lottery to run the Western States 100.  This is the race that Dean Karnazes wrote about in his book Ultramarathon man.  It is considered the "Wimbledon" of Ultramarathons.  It has a ton of media coverage and one of the most competitive fields in all Ultra Running.  The race starts at Squaw Valley California and ends in Auburn CA.  It is a point to point race that has everything from snowfields and cold temperatures in the morning to 100 degree canyons in the afternoon.  It is known as a quad fryer as there is 18000 feet of climbing and 22000 feet of descending.  Incredibly, after only my second year trying, my name was picked for one of the 200 spots available out of the 2000 people who applied. 

Until earlier this week I had made the WS100 my BHAG for the year.  I also entered the Vermont 100 which is only 3 weeks after Western States.  I love the VT race and was sad to miss it this year because of an ankle sprain.  It was my first 100 three years ago and I've never run more than one in a year.  

On Friday I had a thought.  I love what I have done with my company, National Powersports.  But I don't think that on my gravestone I want "Here lies Nathan Sanel.  He owned a great Motorcycle Shop".  I really want to do more with my life.  I want to help people achieve their dreams.  I want to show them that there is a process and a way to get whatever they want out of this life.  If my tombstone says "He helped people realize that this life is magical and can be whatever they want" I'll die a much happier man.

If I really want to help people realize that they can do anything that they want I need to take myself out of my comfort zone again.  I want to show how it works and what the process is. 

Running a 100 mile race is something that I am familiar with.  I know what to do.  I know how to train for it.  I have done it before and am comfortable preparing for it.  It is not the unknown.  If I want to document the process of achieving BHAGS I need to set one for myself that scares me. 

I have decided to put my name in for the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning.  The GS is running four of the oldest 100 mile Ultras in a 4 month time period.  It starts with the Western States.  Then 3 weeks later the Vermont 100.  Then Leadville 4 weeks after that.  And if that is not hard enough, the Wasatch 100 in Utah is 4 weeks after Leadville.

I'm scared.  I love being scared and biting off more than I can chew.  I never feel more alive than when I am tackling a challenge that I don't know if I am going to be able to complete. But this is an incredible opportunity to show how the process works.  I made the decision 3 days ago.  I'm going to share with you every step of the process.  I'm not sure of exactly how as I have a few ideas, but I am going to commit to you that I will post once a week at the minimum.  I think that sharing the process from now until I finish in September will give you a view into how I go about changing my life and hopefully it will inspire others to take their life into their control and realize that they can do anything that they want.