It's been a long winter. One week from now, I'm going to be 30 minutes into my first 100 miler of the year.
Two years ago, I tried Zumbro as my first 100 and DNF'ed. I learned a lot about myself in the process. Mostly, I needed to improve my fitness and my pre-race organizational skills so that I didn't need to think at aid stations. I was taken down by a combination of poor training and not knowing what I was doing at the 100 mile distance.
Fast forward two years, and with two 100 mile finishes under the belt, I'm back for revenge. I'm familiar with the course, and much more patient when I run. I'm not going to speed up halfway through the race just to blow up. I walk from the start now. I squeeze gels into my mouth from the moment the RD says "go". Aid stations are for aid, not rest.
I analyzed the data from END-SURE 50k two weeks ago, and I'm fairly happy with what I saw. The first "half" of the race was flat as a pancake, and the second "half" of the race has rolling hills. The average racer ran the second half of the race 31% slower than the first half, while I ran it 19% slower. Only five racers slowed down less, and of those four of them were in the top five (and thereby in amazing shape). I'm in awe of one runner in particular whose second half time was only 6% slower. Most of the runners around where I finished had a slowdown of 30-40%, with the notable exception of Melissa Budd and David Fielder who are amazing runners. I know I'm going to have to run a lot slower than I did at END-SURE, but it shows that I have the mental discipline to start slow and remain steady.
Zumbro has a 34 hour cutoff, which translates to maintaining an average 20-minute mile. Realendurance.com has a ratio of 1.13 between Zumbro and Kettle Moraine. I ran KM in 27:10, which means I have an expected finish time of 30:42. At the same time, there is a ratio of 0.89 between Zumbro and Superior. Seeing as I finished Superior in 35:18, that comes out to an expected 31:25. Splitting the difference, I foresee a 31 hour finish. The weather out in Wabasha has supposedly been pretty good, and the 7-day forecast is showing ideal conditions similar to Superior's last fall.