Finally kicking off my 2024 race calendar this weekend out by Pittsburgh. While this will only be the third year for the race, the race organization looks pretty large based on the number of other races they put on so I’m expecting a well oiled machine. Not that I need this in a race. They’ve moved the course to Brady’s Run Park and it will consist of eight 12.5 mile loops. I haven’t run a race with this many loops in a number of years so it’ll be nice practice heading into my 24 hour race in June (3 mile loops!).

The 100M race starts at 4am. The only other race I’ve started this early was Old Dominion. This shouldn’t be a problem for me as I don’t typically sleep well the night before a race. I’d rather be up and running (fine, shuffling) rather than checking my watch every 10 minutes to see whether it’s time to wake up yet.

The race has a live tracking function that should be neat for my friends and family to follow along. Hopefully they’ll get a text every 3-4 hours saying I’ve gotten back to the start/finish area. I doubt they have more than one update per loop, but you never know.

As with most spring races, weather will be a wildcard. The forecast keeps changing back and forth from glorious to miserable. Temperatures will be very warm (50-60 degree highs), which will be nice. A couple days ago they were calling for 5-6 hours of rain overnight with temps dropping into the 30s. Blarg. Been there and done that repeatedly over the last year. I’ve got my gear mostly dialed in for that to stay comfortable, but it’s impossible to stay perfectly comfortable in those conditions. I’d rather not if it was up to me, but it never is.

I’m excited to try out my newest gear item during the race. I’ve been trying to perfect my nighttime lighting for years. I thought I had this finally solved last year when I got a Kogalla, however I can’t quite figure out a way to wear it comfortably since I don’t use a normal hydration pack. My latest idea is to pair up knuckle lights with my old headlamp (BD Icon). I saw another runner using them at Devil Dog and they seemed amazing. During a couple test runs, they appear to light up the ground right at my feet or a slightly different angle than my headlamp hits. I’m thinking it should really brighten things up for me.

Not knowing the course, it’s a little difficult for me to guess how long it’ll take to complete. And even though I’ve run some fast training runs recently, my overall volume has been down about 20% from what I’ve done heading into races the past couple years. So while my fitness might be in great shape, I’m not exactly sure how this will translate into straight up endurance. Which is rather important in hundreds. Regardless, the race has a very generous 36 hour cutoff so time shouldn’t be a problem for me. [Says the guy who may have just jinxed himself]

This week I started getting a little nervous. My stomach is doing the random flips thing that I always associate with the time I spent as a kid in the line waiting to get on a roller coaster. I know I’m not in any real danger, but my mind keeps coming up with ways for the car to fly off the tracks. I’ve done enough hundreds at this point that I know that feeling well and all the myriad ways for things to go sideways at 1am in the morning. A small part of me wonders if I’ll ever be able to just roll up the the start of a race without being nervous. Most of me though hopes that never happens because I love this feeling of nervous anticipation. Time to go play in the woods!