A phrase often used by runners and athletes, when the hard work is done before the big race/game day. Some brief internetting led me to this article that gives credit to an old Towson University football coach.
What it means to me is that all the practice and all the day to day stuff is done. Done are the 4am wake up calls. Done are the 30-40 mile weekend training runs. Done are the 100 mile training weeks. Done are the double runs and strength sessions.
This is it.
This is what I have been working and building towards for the last year. It's not the exact race I had originally planned to do, but it all worked out for the best. Originally I had been planning to do Across the Years, also in Phoenix, but in a couple of weeks on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately the logistics on that did not work out with other holiday travel and plans. The day before I got the email from Desert Solstice was the day that I ultimately decided a December 24 hour was not in the books for me.
After getting the email from DS I had to figure things out on short notice with only about 2 weeks until race day. Luckily my amazing and supportive wife Woo was on board with me taking the trip to Phoenix for the race. On top of that my fantastic coach Amy was able to make things work on the running side after I had just completed a peak week at the end of November. The timing was perfect.
In the last couple of weeks I've hit every range of emotion about this race from being terrified to proud and excited to compete. I've had a lot of pep talks from wonderful friends all wishing me the best. I've spent a lot of time at Boston Sports Medicine getting active release treatments (ART) from Justin and he has been working hard to keep my IT bands and hip flexors and everything in between loose and ready for race day.
I also have been working with a strength coach, Kyle Long Fitness, to help build up some strength in my legs and help to eliminate the weaknesses that have caused issues in my long races in the past. I definitely feel stronger than I have for my last 2 other 24 hour races, but I know I still have a lot of work to do in this department.
The biggest help of all though comes from my returning crew chief Johnny C. He helped me through the Run Around the World 24 hour in Nashville back in September so he knows exactly how to help and what will get me through. John has been a long time supporter of my athletic endeavors dating back to my first 5k ever in college which he dragged me to run in against my will. He and his wife also traveled to Lake Placid and Brazil to watch me compete in Ironman races there. If there were a #1 fan mug to be given, it would be to this man. I am forever grateful for his support and assistance.
I'm also lucky enough to have good friends Tim and Melissa who live in Phoenix put me up for a night and let me borrow a car to help keep cost down on this last minute race trip. I've got some other friends and family who live in the Phoenix/Flagstaff/Tuscon area who I am excited to hopefully see this weekend as well. Having this support from everyone will go a long way to keeping me pushing when times get tough out there.
Now it's time to put in the work and never stop moving forward. Time to make dreams come true.
For live tracking you can go to: http://www.aravaiparunning.com/desert-solstice/