I finally watched “Unbreakable”. It is a documentary film about the 2010 Western States Endurance Run. Being an ultra-runner and my ultra running goal is to be a sub-24 finisher at the Western States my opinion is definitely biased. I am expected to say that the movie is the “Ben Hur” of running films or something of that nature. Since that is expected that is exactly what I am not going to do as I will instead focus on how the film affected me.
Running is selfish. It takes a lot of sacrifice and a lot of time that could be dedicated to other things. If you still want to include those other things then time management becomes the key to success. The main thing I noticed about the highlighted elite runners is that they all have committed to making running a big part of their lives and are comfortable with that decision. None of them hesitate regarding their commitment and their family and friends understand the dedication and respect it. I am certain their significant others are tempted to ask any of them to stay home and share a cup of coffee instead of leaving for a run. Yet they understand how important it is so they are supportive and in some cases even catch the running bug and attempt these monumental feats themselves.
It is mean say but someone has to… I am sort of glad I saw that elites suffer just like us normal folk, sorry Hal and Kilian. Often times I see the splits for these guys and gals in awe. Only thing to do is shutter at the thought of 9 min/miles for 100 miles, INSANITY !!! It’s just not human; it’s simply not what we are supposed to be able to do. The mental fortitude that these athletes display is just phenomenal. Their ability to push their bodies is just amazing. Marathoners talk about the wall, these guys literally are facing a mountain.
Their training is nothing short of amazing. They are outside in shorts in temperatures that most of us would need to look like the kid in “A Christmas Story” to stand. They are also very aware of how much time is needed to train for an event like the WS100 and with steely focus on the task get it done.
I think the movie is great even for a non-runner. It’s the story of a struggle to achieve goals thought impossible. It has its share of sadness but also excellence. The Director and film crew did a great job of gripping the viewer from start to finish and there is some wonderful footage of the WS100 trail. I think a non-runner can appreciate not only the mindboggling task of running 100 miles but also the amount of work it takes to crew and support these runners in their task…remember the cut off is 30 hours. Imagine seeing your loved one putting themselves through the ringer in the bitter night all for a buckle with a Mountain Lion on it? It’s tough to understand but the film does a great job of explaining the history of the event and why it attracts people from all over the world to Squaw Valley.
The distance, 100 miles, scares the crap out of me. Like an idiot I signed up for a race in February in which I am going to go as far as I can go. Honestly I doubt I will finish. I may survive the race but I certainly will not race it. The one thing I am missing is not the desire to complete a 100 miler, but the time management to do so. I am terrible regarding managing my time effectively. That is probably my 90% + of my running was done in the late evening last year. I simply cannot get myself out of the warm bed in the morning even though I live in southern California (it is not like I have the snow excuse that others places have, just a wimp albeit a toasty warm one).
I get outside and throw good runs together in my training. For many of my friends the amount of running I do now is absurd, ridiculous and borderline excessive (approx. 1,200 for 2011). The idea of needing to double and at times triple that amount just to be able to complete these events is startling. We all have the ability to get it done, but the execution is where I personally fail. This year my New Year’s resolution was to scale back the amount of complaining I do and listen to. It does not help anyone achieve anything and only plants the seeds of doubt and disbelief. I am hoping that next year brings more blessings because 2011 has been good to me. Maybe if I keep grinding the Western States 100 will just be one buckle among many in the closet.