I've been struggling with a very hard decision the past few days. The decision? To run Bighorn 100 as planned and get my Hardrock qualifier (the only reason I signed up for it earlier this year although I hear it's very beautiful and tough - more good reasons!) OR go for the Fastest Known Time on the Tahoe Rim Trail (170 miles).
The only DNF I've ever regretted wasn't even in a race. It was stopping at mile 108 in my attempt to set the FKT on the TRT in July 2013. I'd prepared all that spring to crush the TRT and quitting mid-run meant I'd come back stronger mentally and physically but it hurt so bad to stop before I had finished that I knew right away I had made a mistake. I had picked the hottest weekend all year (I was melting on Mt Rose at mile 100 in 95 F temps) and then I let personal issues get to me mentally. I wanted to complete the TRT so much, I went into a 2 month long funk after quitting and kept looking at my calendar hoping to go back right away and get the monkey off my back.
I left my house yesterday still not knowing what direction I would go: would I take the I-90 east toward Wyoming (run Bighorn) when I hit Seattle or continue South to Tahoe (for a FKT on TRT)? If I'd been someone with a more "normal" schedule I might have been able to fit the TRT in later in the year and still run Bighorn however my race directing/trail work/family duties meant that it was not very likely I could fit it in later.
A calmness overtook my anxious mind as I was driving, just 1 mile before I-90 exit when a Chevy Tahoe turned in front of me and somehow I knew that I wanted the scarier, the less predictable, the tougher TRT attempt. I felt a responsibility to complete the Bighorn race this Friday, but I also felt a responsibility, a greater one, to complete my unfinished business at Tahoe.
I have been fastpacking all spring scouting for my Bigfoot 200 Endurance Run and the Arizona 200. I finished 5th in 37hrs and change at the ultra tough Ultra Fiord in April. I think my training has been on spot to tackle either race or long FKT, but especially on spot for the TRT FKT. The rivers are flowing and the temperatures are low enough at Tahoe now. It's time. Later in the summer with the lack of snow at Tahoe and the higher temps, an unsupported run would be incredibly difficult. So here goes....
I'll run the route unsupported from Tahoe City counterclockwise carrying everything I need for the entire 170 miles. I will try for the women's supported record and the overall unsupported records: Amber Monforte has the women's supported FKT, 49h17m, September 5-7, 2014.
JB Benna has the unsupported FKT, 58h43m12s, September 29 - October 1, 2013. I'm not sure if I can beat Amber's excellent supported record while running unsupported, but the idea intrigues me and that's all I need to attempt to get sub-49.
Whether or not I am able to get the supported/unsupported records I will finish this route. I will do it for the experience, for a respite from daily life and to connect with what really matters to me: I will give my energy in the mountains and I will receive it back, cleansed.
I start Friday.