Things seem to be shaping up nicely for the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 miler next Friday, March 22nd.
It's not an accident that this race is called the Buffalo Run. There are indeed 500 head of buffalo on the island. Last year when I ran the 50 miler none of them got too close.
ALTHOUGH......check out what the race website says:
Last year some of our 100 mile runners had a friendly chat with some bison as they were running on the Mountain View Trail. As in close enough to touch them. It was a bit scary, but no one got hurt. If you encounter bison on the trail, generally they will get out of your way, however, some of the bulls (1500-1800 lbs.) are obstinate and won’t budge. Bison will also charge you (and not with credit cards) if you enter their personal space. The charges are generally short but can result in having to clean out your shorts, and that leads to chafing issues.
I am undoubtedly hoping I don't have to "clean out my shorts". My daughter Danica drew me this picture, I assume to help me be one with the buffalo:
I am also incredibly fortunate that my pacer for the last 30 miles is my good friend Jared Thorley. I ran an ultra with him last year and he understands distance races well. He is going for the whole enchilada, the Zion 100 next month. I'm so thankful he wanted to join me. He has full permission to slap me if I start whining that my legs hurt, or complaining that I keep seeing Smurfs.
I'm better trained than I've ever been for a race. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared. Before my first 100 miler I tried to imagine that it would be the worst pain I'd ever experienced. Even then, I far underestimated how much it would hurt. I'm nervous about night time and that tight grip of exhaustion and fatigue that makes me fall asleep while running.
Despite those challenges, the rewards far outweigh the costs. You are not the same person at the finish line of a 100 miler that you are at the starting line. I'm ready to fight.