Ultramarathon dreams

August 22, 2009

I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but every so often, a rumor surfaces that somebody is making a push to get an ultrarunning event into the Olympics, and whenever that happens, I feel an involuntary flicker of excitement. My marathon best of 2:22 doesn’t even get me into the U.S. Olympic Trials, much less the Olympics, so my only shot at the five-ring circus would come in a much longer race (if one were added before I got too old).

Regarding the 2012 and 2016 Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently announced the inclusion of certain sports and exclusion of others. Ultramarathoning was not even mentioned as being under consideration, so I guess we still have a long way to go.

While I may never make it to the Olympics, I do hope to complete a 100-mile race some day. I don’t have a particular event in mind, but I’d probably do best at a relatively flat one like Rocky Raccoon. The other night, I dreamed that I was indeed competing in a 100-miler: the upcoming Cascade Crest 100. This itself is kind of funny, since its terrain is anything but flat (as I found out firsthand in my first-ever ultra pacing experience eight years ago). However, the CC100 of my dream bore little resemblence to the CC100 of reality.

Parts of the dream race meandered through a rustic suburban environment that might have been part of a college campus. I specifically remember getting to mile 70 and being told to cross the street, enter a building (which resembled Schmitz Hall at UW except for being smaller and having a wooden exterior), climb the stairs to the 3rd floor, find Jackie the Registrar, sign her log, and then exit the building and move on to the next checkpoint.

I was leading the race, feeling strong, and elated to have only 30 miles to go. But hot on my heels were Tom Ederer (the actual winner of the 2008 CC100) and his pacer, Scott Jurek. I’ll never know whether I managed to hold Tom off, since I awoke minutes after exiting the Schmitz-like building.

Some ultra enthusiasts may take this dream as a sign that it’s time for me to tackle the CC100 or another similar event. For now, though, I think I’ll just keep dreaming.

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