This morning when I came in to work I received an artificial email from Dr. David Horton of Liberty University in Virginia. The email was expressing concern for the abilities of the applying Hellgate 100K runner based on the information given in the application. The email made sense to me, as I was unable to put any info in the 100K results or past Hellgate finishes column; I've yet to race at that distance. He asked to explain why I should be allowed to run in the race, to provide a sort of proof that I'd make the cutoffs.
I responded to his email email by showing my past 50 mile results, toughness of terrain, and generally talking myself up. I also name dropped some folks I know who've raced there and finished, and locals I've made new acquaintance with that have connections. A few minutes later, I recieved an email back with a simple response:
My heart is pounding a bit right now to be honest, I'm stoked, and driven. It's been said that the race is freakish, tough, and many fear it as the hardest of the Beast Series, even over the Grindstone 100 Mile.
December 11th at 12:01 AM I take off on what is by far the toughest running task I've ever undertaken. Time to dig deep, to find that place where doubt goes to die and revel in it. As I get ready, I'll continue to do the hard work that I've done in the past for 50 milers, but in addition I'll be taking to some more "intense" training, including night runs in the cold, and water crossings. I've got to figure out what works for keeping my feet warm through the water and snow at night in freezing temps. This may actually make it easier for my time to be spent with family and not out on runs during the daytime.
Going to a new distance has gotten my blood pumping more than running my first ultra two years ago. This race is, in true Horton fasion, longer than 100K at 66.6 miles. Fitting.
Time to HTFU for real.