Dear 100-Miler,

Dude, we are absolutely crushing it this year.  My first two sub-24 hour finishes to start things off followed by an enjoyable ES100 finish.  I wouldn’t quite say I feel comfortable with our relationship, but I’m definitely becoming more comfortable.  When things are going well, there’s a tendency to do one of two things: continue on or double down.  Keep cruising along hoping things can stay as they are or ramp things up to have even more fun.  And as much as my habitual personality moves me towards option one and the run I’ve been on pushes me towards the other, what I think I really need is the unmentioned alternative.  You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t updated my next 100-milers countdown clock.  It’s not that I’ve been lazy.  It’s just that. . .   Man, how do I put this gently?

I think we need a break.

Listen, all that flowery stuff I just said is still 100% true.  I’m even more committed to my 100×100 mile goal than I was two years ago.  I truly feel like I’ve found my “calling”, however in order to achieve this I need to make sure that what I’m doing is sustainable.  And not sustainable as defined by our ADHD, nano-second attention span society.  I’m talking sustainable over the next 25 years.  Running ultras, and especially 100s, are incredibly demanding mentally, physically, and familially (I don’t care if it’s not a word, you know what I mean).  I need to make sure all legs of this tripodal (apparently, this is a word) base are solid because a weakness in one will cause the whole thing to fall down.

Mentally, I’m still 100% solid (i.e. I’m full on mental).  There’s absolutely no weaknesses here right now.  I really think that after 2-3 weeks of recovery, I would be able to get right back into preparation and/or training for another 100.  I still have the interest and drive to go out and do one or two more this year.  Given the run of success that I’ve enjoyed so far in 2017, this isn’t where I would expect to be having difficulties.

Physically, I think I’m at least 90%+ solid.  By any objective measure, I think you could say I’m at 100%.  I went into and came out of Eastern States healthy.  I haven’t had any little niggles or pains at all this year.  My legs may be slightly tight at some points, however I really feel like I’m in best shape of my life.  The worse thing to befall me was a bothersome cold that lingered for a couple of weeks.  And yet.  My gut tells me that injury lurks right around the corner.  It’s like my life’s soundtrack right now is out of a John Carpenter movie and I’ve got to go down into my basement to check the fuse panel.  I’m sure I’m just imagining things, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

And I need to balance my 100 mile efforts with my home life.  You lose a whole 4 days doing these races between traveling there, running, and then sleeping afterwards.  It isn’t too much to ask my family to indulge my hobby three times a year, but more than that starts to become incredibly selfish.  The time commitment away from my family is more manageable for shorter ultras, but I need to ration the really long stuff.  So I’ve already done my three for the year.

I really should leave it at that.  The last two are incredibly valid excuses and ones you can’t really fault me for.  But if I’m to be entirely honest with you (and I should be considering I hope our relationship lasts another 2+ decades), I want to try some other ultra distances.  Now don’t go getting all bent out of shape.  You know we’re not exclusive as I did a 50k and 40 miler earlier this spring.  I’m planning to take a run (pun intended, of course) at a new distance in a week (100k) and then head back to Stone Mill 50 in November to avenge my first go several years back.  These are just dalliances though and I’m sure our time apart will merely make the heart grow fonder.  I’m already thinking and planning for 2018.  I’ve been looking at destination races and I think I found one out west that really tickles my fancy.

Listen.  I know you must be really disappointed in my decision, but I really think this is for the best.  Just give me a little space and I’ll be all yours once again.  After all, obsessions can’t be cast aside this easily.

Yours truly,

Phil

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