Tag Archive: ultrarunning

To Slam or Not to Slam, That is the Question

After making it into Western States 100 via the lottery, the next logical question is– Should I go for a Grand Slam? (For those of you who don’t know, it is a ultrarunning series where an individual runner completes four of the oldest 100mile foot races over 10 weeks in a single summer). It’s an intense physical and mental test of physical ability, good training and quick recovery. 

I got the idea in my head last summer with five weeks between the Ring and Grindstone and how quickly I recovered after each of those. The idea kept creeping into my head that with a solid training base I could complete a Grand Slam and race 400miles in 10weeks. When I was toeing the line at MMTR with Beth I considered- what if I had to run a 100miler today instead of 50miles? At the finish line of MMTR, could I turn around a run back to the start? The answer was, yes, I could, it wouldn’t be fast and it was going to hurt, but I could do it.

So, when my name was chosen to run the Western States l00, the decision quickly moved from hypothetical into reality. Could I really race 400miles in 10 weeks while traveling across the country this summer? I asked Adam, my family, ultrarunning friends, non-running friends, Facebook and coworkers for opinions and I set an arbitrary deadline for myself to make a decision.

Pros Cons
  • Amazing experience to run four of the oldest 100milers in the country
  • I think I could do it
  • It would be a big challenge (it scares the heck out of me!)
  • Give focus and purpose to my training
  • So many logistics and moving parts!!
  • All consuming of my summer (and vacation leave)
  • Huge commitment from Adam (and his vacation leave)
  • Expensive
  • My stomach issues and dietary needs make traveling for races challenging
  • Potential to become a burden as the summer goes on
  • Not able to “race” WSER with 300mi still to race

I went running alone with my mind racing, I tried to talk to Adam who was firm in his decision to not influence my decision, but as it came down to my deadline, I came to a decision. It’s a crazy notion, but I used reason rather than emotion, pride or desire. I feel good about my decision, no Grand Slam this year. I realized that just because I think I could, it doesn’t mean that I should. 

I’ve had a few days to sit with it now and I am completely at peace with this. I know that it means I can train with focus on Western States, potentially do other things than ultrarunning this summer, hello bike touring? diving? non-running travel? I am not sure yet what I will be doing, but it has been decided, it won’t be a Grand Slam. Maybe a Western States 100 and Eastern States 100 Double?!