As of just a few days ago, I have no physical endeavors before the Bear 100. That's because my wife and I finished our backpacking trip in the Wind River Range of Wyoming at the end of last week. So, it's now 100% focus on the final weeks of training and then tapering. Over the next two weeks, I have a BIG set of training mini-blocks that last 2-3 days. These are all on the course itself. I know that training on the course of their 'A' race for the year is a luxury that most people do not have, and I feel fortunate for the opportunity. Indeed, that was a factor in choosing the Bear as my first 100 miler.
I wanted a 100 mile race that was established, well known, and that had earned the respect of ultra runners for it's beauty and challenge. I also wanted the closest race to my home that fit those criteria. Well, I happen to live 2 hrs from both the start and end of the Bear 100, which made it an obvious choice.
In 2015 (one year ago) I decided to scope out the event. I volunteered at the Bear 100 and spent most of the afternoon and evening at two aid stations as the bulk of runners came through, then I finished my service at the finish line. It was a great experience. I learned what people look like at each stage of a 100 miler and what problems tended to arise. This ranged from massive blistering early in the race to hypothermia upon stopping at the finish line. Of course, GI distress was also a problem for some runners. The most meaningful to me was a woman who did not speak english well, who did not have a crew, and who looked dazed and confused coming in to mile ~65. She seemed just barely together enough to continue as she turned on her headlamp and headed into the darkness of the setting sun; it was a relief to see her cross the finish line.
Now, I am counting down (or up!) to the start of my own goal, to complete the Bear 100. If possible, I'd like to finish in 24 hrs. But, I have to continue to force myself into the mindset that the 24 hr goal must be a 'it'll be great if it turns out like that' goal rather than a central goal. Perhaps it's best to take it off my list of goals. OK, so, there are two goals. The first goal is to finish. The second goal is to finish with a relatively uneventful race - no major blisters, no GI distress, no bloody falls, etc. I hope that I'll achieve both goals within 24 hrs.
Over the coming 2.5 weeks, I'll spend more than 40 hours running on the course and I'll see every step of it at least once. I expected to be more anxious or nervous at this point in time but any emotions that may have been building have dissipated. I am mostly relieved and content that the big day is in site and that I'm now laser focused on the final training and preparations. I think that much of this comes from the belief that I've done the best training that I could do and am currently as prepared as possible. I know that the remainder of my training will add the next important layer to my readiness.