At 8000 feet on Mt. Rainier last May, during a trip that was definitely harder than the Arrowhead135. For a complete (and lengthy) read of my perspective on the trip, click here.
Writing the last entry helped me deal with my anxiety. maybe it helped me too much. Now i'm convinced that i could win this thing. Don't get me wrong - i'm not convinced that i WILL win, just that i could. Before you discount this as a matter of logic and semantics, let me explain.
I've done lots of stuff more serious than the arrowhead. What, you may ask, have I done that is more serious than an event with the tagline 'only the toughest dare apply' that involves over a hundred miles of self-supported wilderness (roadless) travel where daily high temperatures typically don't even get out of the single digits? The list is too long to even mention (seriously!). So while i'm sure there will be a great number of competitors that have done dozens (or more) ultra-distance events; dozens of guys who could ride a century in well under 5 hours; and even a handful of athletes that have spent weeks covering thousands, not hundreds of miles in the extreme cold at other events - that doesn't change this one simple fact: THIS (the arrowhead 135) is a race that, while tough, is well within my physical and mental limits.
Given this fact and the many unknown factors that contribute to performance in a particularly grueling race like this - i have an outside shot. Sure i'd have to have a great race and a number of other people would have to have less than great races, and sure it's a reasonably remote chance, but it isn't quite out there in the realm of a 'purely' theoretical possibility (as it would be when considering my chances to win the Boston Marathon - where a giant earthquake caused fissure in the planet's crust would have to open up with some convoluted geometry so that it swallowed up everyone more than a minute in front of me - and that just to give me the sort of odds i feel i've got in this race - sure there'd still be some competition, but many could be discounted because they'd be so rattled by the freakish nature of what had just transpired).
I truly doubt i'm going to win, but i do hope to do 'well' (although i'm with-holding an exact definition of what this means until AFTER the race, when i can spin it appropriately). The bottom line is that i'm confident enough in my abilities (mental and physical) to race hard. This sort of confidence is an absolute prerequisite for winning this sort of race, and whoever stands on the podium will certainly possess it in spades. I've also got an ego of the sort that is useful for racing (but less so in other areas) - one that is big enough to create fairly ambitious goals, but also self-aware enough to allow me not to attach my sense of contentment to the degree to which those goals are met.
For those who are interested, i think you can follow the race via the race director's blog - here.