Monday, July 21, 2014

The big question



A lot of people have asked this lately, and a few have kindly followed their own question with their most outrageous, exaggerated guesses, offering me a number so preposterous, so impossible, that it's all but guaranteed to make the reality seem like a breeze.

"Will it take you, like, TWELVE HOURS?"

Yeah, it will take me like twelve hours, plus another three or four, if I'm lucky. Here's the deal: the cutoff is at midnight, 17 hours after the race starts. My goal is to finish before the cutoff without injury. To be glad I did it. To be able to enjoy it, in that special way you can enjoy something while you're also suffering through it. To soak up the camaraderie, the love of the crowds, the energy of the event, the thrill of a peak experience that I've prepared for like I've prepared for nothing before. To find out how I handle something so strange and difficult and learn from it. To smile and dance and wave across the finish line. Maybe not dance.

Beyond that, my only time goals have to do with getting it over with. I have no idea how it will go. I will  be thrilled just to finish. I will be elated to do it in 15 hours. I will be overjoyed and shocked if I do it in 14. It won't be less than that, I'm just telling you now. 

For reference, the winner last year did it in 8:39. My wonderful coach and friend Scott is shooting for a sub-ten-hour time. There were 123 athletes who took between 16 and 17 hours. In my age group, 76 women finished. The fastest did it in 10:59. The 76th woman crossed the line 16 hours and 36 minutes after she started.

Right now that's seeming like a really long time. 

Here I go!

1 comment:

  1. Go Shannon, go. You've got it right. And yes, you will dance across the finish line. :) :)