It's 5 AM here in Winschoten the day before the starting gun at the 2011 World Championship 100k race is set to be fired. I slept well, but since I woke up to use the restroom this morning I have been unable to fall asleep. I really do enjoy my taper time, but I notice that I don't need as much sleep when I'm tapered. So I'm taking this as a good sign that I'm recovered and ready to race. Anyway, with thoughts racing through my head, I figure it's a good opportunity to write some of them down here.
I left Amsterdam with my family two days ago and arrived in the small town of Winschoten after a 3 hour train ride. It was a hectic day making our train transfers and bus pickup with all of our luggage and no ability to speak Dutch. Fortunately, many Dutch speak English quite well and we finally made it and were able to settle in at the athlete village yesterday.
I also was able to get out and run a lap of the 10k loop course yesterday. The course is flat. Completely, flat. It is mostly asphalt, but does have some old, rough brick pavers that might be a little unusual to run on. And it is quite twisty and turny as it loops through the city center and residential areas. The best I can do for a map right now is my GPS track from yesterday. Ignore the first and last half miles and you basically have the loop that we'll be running 10 times tomorrow.
It rained on me yesterday during the run (surprise!), but we're in the Netherlands so what can you do. But the forecast for Saturday is mostly cloudy with a high of 76 deg F. That's quite a bit warmer than it's been around here recently so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Hopefully I haven't lost my summer heat acclimatization yet. I also wouldn't rule out a passing rain shower, because that's just how it works here in Holland.
The race starts at 10 AM for us, so that means it will be 3 or 4 AM for most of my friends in the States when the gun goes off. I'll post a few links for those insomniacs out there and other who want to check in when they get up in the morning. I have no clue how well updated these sites will be and have been less than impressed with the information available online so far, but maybe it will be there when the race starts.
http://www.iau-ultramarathon.org - live updates and news, right now check out the media report in the news section, also follow IAU on twitter @iaunews
http://www.runwinschoten.nl/ - website of the local organizing committee with start list
IAAF preview article that you might enjoy
My cell phone data connection here has been spotty, but hopefully I can have someone in my crew updating my twitter account (@rundavid1) so that might be something you want to check out as well.
Today the schedule includes team pictures, opening ceremonies, an athlete parade, and a pasta dinner. And then just a few more hours until we get this party started. Team leaders tell us this is the best team on both the men's and women's side that the US has ever brought to a World Championship 100k. No pressure though. The men will try to step up a level on the podium and take home the gold medal this year. I don't want to give too much strategy/information away because I'm old school like that and you never know who might be reading this stuff, but I expect this race to be fast. If you know me, and have seen how I run my best races, I'll be sticking to what works for me and looking to make things exciting late in the race. My body and legs feel good, my confidence is high and I am well-supported. I just have to run.