As part of my preparation for the Fall Superior 100 I have been reading about willpower. One such book is Kelly McGonigal's The Willpower Instinct. In it she suggests that one way to make the little choices that help with long term goals is to get in touch with your future self. One way of doing this is to write a letter to yourself, from the prospective of your future self. So here it goes, my letter to myself: written on Sept. 9, 2012 a day after the Fall Superior trail races.
Hi there Sad Sack,
We did it! We finished our first 100 mile race on the Superior Hiking Trail. The legs hurt today. They hurt bad, but it's OK because every time the pain gets a little overwhelming I just look at my Finisher's Buckle and the hurt kind of dissipates. In order to make sure that you end up feeling the same sense of accomplishment that I am feeling right now, I want to tell you a few things.
First, definitely do that 50K you are reconsidering on Feb. 12th. That was a tough run, and the trails were icy, but it really helped around mile 58, just around Sonju Lake to remember that run.
Also, it's not too late to start some serious hill work. I know that you are not a fan, but coming up out of the Manitou gorge, you'll be glad you did.
I can't stress enough how necessary it was to lose those last 15 pounds over the summer. Imagine 20,000 feet of incline. Now imagine it with a 15lb pack attached to your waste. See? Believe me, that extra snack just isn't worth it.
Keep up the core work. I saw a version of us out on the trail who didn't do the core work I did. He ended up DNFing due to back spasms. Poor dude. All that work and if he had just done that little extra bit he would have been OK. I guess he'll have the monkey on his back another year while we are out celebrating.
Finally, make it up to the Superior Hiking Trail as often as possible this summer. I only made it a couple times. There is really no other way to prepare for this trail than by spending time on it. I think your legs will be better off than mine if you can manage to get up here more often in July and August.
That's it. There's no way I can describe the feeling of accomplishment you get when crossing that finish line. You'll just have to find out yourself, and you will, if you just make the little choices along the way that brought me here.