At some miserably low and painful point of almost every longer ultra – especially a 100 miler – I find myself severely questioning my life choices. Specifically, the choice to subject myself to the grueling punishment required to run long distances, in less than favorable weather, and on difficult terrain – for a belt buckle that I will never actually wear. For the first time in my ultrarunning “career”, I am internally examining my strange compulsion before the race has beaten me to a pulp. Way before. Like 6 weeks before. The Honey Badger 100 will begin at 6am on July 12th2014, and I will be at the starting line.
For those of you who don’t know, Honey Badger is not a trail run. This race will take place on paved county roads west of Wichita Kansas near Cheney Reservoir and cover a good chunk of Kingman County. The last 5 years on this weekend in July have seen daytime high temps in this area of 103, 92, 101, 98, and 101. Of course it will be hot in Kansas in July, but it will also be windy. As a matter of fact, one of the largest wind farms in the state is in the process of being built very near the race venue. A wind farm converts wind energy into electricity using turbines – this seems to me like a good indication of how windy it will be. Likely 25-30 mph sustained winds with gusts strong enough to blow over a baby elephant. Also, it is not quite as flat as you would expect. According to Map My Run, there will be enough elevation change to make things interesting. The point of this course preview; it’s gonna suck. Hard.
So by now you are probably asking yourself, “So why in seven bloody hells are you running this?” Well, because it IS hard. Duh. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Well, that and because Honey Badgers are pretty freaking badass and I want a buckle with one on it. Also, there’s a little race called The Badwater Ultramarathon – maybe you have heard of it? “The World’s Hardest Footrace”, it spans 135 miles across Death Valley from the Badwater Basin to Mt. Whitney’s Portal – in July. Yes, I know the course has changed… don’t miss my point. My point is that after reading what Marshall Ulrich, Dean Karnazes, Scott Jurek, and RD Eric Steele have written about their experiences at Badwater, I want to do it someday. Additionally, it is hard as hell to get into, and costs a shitload of money, so you better make sure you got a big dose of “what it takes” before you head to Death Valley. This brings me to Honey Badger. It occurred to me sometime last summer that before I travel all the way to California to go swim in some bad water, I will schedule a death match with a Honey Badger in my own back yard!
I have been training pretty well in 2014 and have raced in the Winter Rock 25K, Prairie Spirit 100 Mile, Free State 40 Mile, FlatRock 101K, and 3Daysto100K (just the 50K). My mileage base is solid, now I just need to get acclimated to the heat which has been difficult since we have had a very mild spring so far. I will also have the advantage of having a super badass crew lined up – and my ultra sweet badass running girlfriend Candi who will also be racing. We plan on crossing the finish line together just like we did at FlatRock 101k. Since historically I throw all my super detailed plans out the window I am keeping this one simple. The plan is to run until the sun gets high and temps get around 90, then hunker down and survive until the sun goes down. Hopefully our hydration and fueling will be going well and we can tick off some serious mileage before the sun comes up. That’s it. Oh, and finish under the 36 hour time limit.
So there is still time… if you think you have what it takes, hell, why not sign up??? If you are even ENTERTAINING the idea of Badwater in the future, it seems like a no-brainer. If that’s not enough, keep in mind it is an Epic Ultras event – So you KNOW it will inevitably BE EPIC!