I have trained hard and well for the race. Sure I would like to not have had a sprained ankle 3 - 4 months ago, and needing to have surgery to remove my gallbladder soon after the race has impacted me some too. But I am not looking for, or wanting to use excuses.
I have experimented with food, hydration, training runs, shoes, clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses and sleep.
I have had many people express interest and support - hoping that I do well. Their well wishes and encouragement has been well received and I truly appreciate it, and them too.
I have met some great people, fellow runners, on the trails - chatting sometimes with them, sharing stories and some of the details that I know about the race.
I am grateful that I have the experience of completing the race before.
I know the trail quite well. I know what it is like to be really lightheaded above tree-line. I know what it's like to go through the 16 Golden Stairs with a few hundred other people. I know what it is like to fall on the trail - going up and coming down. I know that it hurts. I know what it is like to reach the summit and realize that it is only halfway through the race. I know that coming down the mountain is a completely different race.
I have had some really good training runs - that point towards a really good result. I have had some frustrating and miserable runs - that point towards me not even bothering to show up.
But, I will show up on Sunday. I will run. I will try to run smart. I will try not to race anyone else (at least going up - coming down may be a different story). I will try to stay focused throughout the entire race.
I know what it is like to finish the race. I know what it is like to cross the finish line knowing that I have given my best effort. Last year that was a finishing time of 5:19:05. This year I want to finish knowing that I have given my best effort - if that translates in time faster than last years - I'll be happy.
I would like to win an age group award. That requires beating some other runners. I know that I can't control or impact any other runners - so I need to remember that and run my own race, in essence ignoring everyone else. If I do that - and it results in a shiny trinket, then I will be happier still.
If I don't - well there is always next year.
For those doing the race (and / or the Ascent on Saturday) I wish you all the best. Do your best. Run hard and run with excellence.