In forty-one days, I will toe the line for my second attempt at finishing a 100 mile race. That leaves me with five weeks of training which includes two taper weeks. I have been obsessively poring over my plans from my 100 mile attempt last year. I am looking for every problem that sprung up; searching for any variable I overlooked. I am constantly comparing this year's plan to the previous plan. Am I making the appropriate changes? Are there any other variables I am forgetting? Will this year's race unearth problems I did not experience in the last race? Surely there will be some obstacles that are new... that's the nature of ultras. Am I adequately prepared for the unknown? Can you prepare for the unknown? These are the thoughts that have filled every quiet moment of my day.
My major shortfalls last year were a lack of training mileage and inadequate fuel (food) during the race. There were minor issues, also. I chafed more than I should have. I did not account for my feet swelling, thus my Vibram Five Fingers were too small. My headlamp wasn't quite as bright as I would have liked. I didn't bring my lights with me early enough... I didn't account for the darkness caused by the canopy of trees at dusk. I took too long at aid stations. I packed too much unnecessary stuff. I had no first-hand knowledge of the course. All of these problems are fairly easy to correct with better planning and more training rigor. Sadly, the preparation does little to curb the nervousness. Until the horn goes off at the start of the race, the anxiety will continue to build. Is this a great sport or what?