While it was cool to run a fast 100-miler, I was very clear that my primary goal at Desert Solstice was to learn how to run a 100-miler. Many people might question how a track race would prepare one for a mountain trail 100-miler, but to me it was like the necessity of taking Algebra 1 before Advanced Calculus. You need to have the basics down cold in order to have a foundation on which to build. By stripping out elements like heat, altitude, hills, and long stretches without aid, I was able to focus on nutrition, hydration, electrolytes, and pacing – the true basics of ultrarunning. (Smith, 2013)
I wish I could say I was as thoughtful as Pam Smith when I signed up for Pacific Coast Trail Runs’ Summer Solstice 24 Hour and that doing it was part of some bigger plan but the truth is I signed up about two weeks beforehand when I saw what the buckle looked like if you went over 100 miles. When I mentioned to my friend Alina my attraction to this shiny object her first response was, “What are you, a cat?” Depending on your perspective that’s either a huge compliment or a wholly accurate assessment of my ability to make a rational decision.