Aug 3, 2010

ATY72 vs JJ100

ATY buckles in 100, 200, and 300 mile denominations

On July 28th, last Wednesday, I received an email from the race directors of the Across the Years race in Arizona. My name was picked off the waiting list and I have been invited to compete in the 72-hour event there. This normally would be great news, but it meant making a tough decision. A really tough decision. I replied and asked for a couple of days to think about it.

The decision is this: for reasons that I won't go into here, I cannot run both the Javelina Jundred 100-miler (which is in late October) and ATY. Thus, registering for ATY would mean withdrawing from JJ100. I've been racking my brain for the last week, and got advice from numerous friends (thanks!)

I don't want to be dramatic about this - but the reality is that this is occupying my thoughts constantly. So.. finally, last night I decided to write everything down and see where the races stand.

Appropriate for experience levelTony: "Finish a 100-miler first. Then move up to the 48/72 level. Don’t skip a step and go from insanely difficult to super-extremely insanely difficult. :) Really, knock out your first 100. You can do it. You haven’t been able to do it despite all of you hard efforts. You have the time to get ready for it now. Go for it."JJ100 *2
Time to prepareLess than 3 monthsLess than 5 monthsATY72
Desire to do it"That sounds like a cool race.""This is a life-lister for me."ATY72
Cost$200$480 ($380+50% non-refundable portion of JJ100 registration)JJ100
Friends who'll be thereTony, Eric, Jamie, Dave, Sarah, Jenn, Lane, othersRayK, Illiana, other acquaintancesJJ100
Family FriendlinessFamily sees me once every 15 miles, has to wait around and be careful not to miss me.Family sees me once every 10-15 minutes. Always knows where I am to within a mile.ATY72
Vacation Time FactorHalloween; running out of vacation/choice time in 2010. This has been on my mind since April when I made the mistake of using 2 weeks up on a single trip.New Years - I get new vacation time in 2011, which means I'm not cutting it close.ATY72
Time running with othersIt's lonely in the back of the packShort-loops, lots of people around constantlyATY72
CourseDesert trails, 15 mile loopsThe same 0.8 mile loop for 72 hoursJJ100
Trip add-on potentialSkiing in Utah or Colorado? Desert in the winter? Christmas at my Parent's place in CA?Got to hurry back to workATY72
Mental Game DynamicJust keep going, stay ahead of cutoffsJust keep going. ATY72
Ease of getting in next yearSells out.. 6 months after opening.Small Field and high demand = Lottery. Wait list. Vague probably-incorrect rumors of final year?ATY72
Airfare$350 per person$450 per personJJ100
Options for 2011Finishing JJ100 would Qualify me to enter Western States Lottery, plus give me the confidence to Enter Leadville (both life-listers)I'd get some confidence from a good performance at ATY, but no qualificationJJ100
PreferenceAll things being equal, I'd rather do ATY72ATY72
State of mindThinking about ATY has motivated me to start training again.ATY72
HandicapSince my preference is ATY, I'll try to compensate for unintentional influence. Here's a point to JJ100JJ100

One thing I noticed myself thinking when writing this up was excitement when ATY would have an advantage, and corresponding disappointment for JJ100. I did my best to not let that influence the result, but I realize that it's impossible to be impartial. For that reason I added the last row (handicap).

JJ100: 8
ATY72: 10

I am going to give myself one more day to think, but unless someone or something changes my mind, I'll be registering for ATY72 and withdrawing from JJ100 tomorrow.

Steve is taking a break from regularly scheduled updates to this blog.