Here's another suggestion for master competitors who want to journey forward:
Don't train and race like me.
I have been known for being able to "pull one out of the bag" on way too many occasions; many times life got in the way of acceptable preparation for a race, but I'd turn out nonetheless and compete.
Sometimes a bit thick, sometimes hurt, sometimes just lazy and out of shape.
But when the gun went off, old ultramasher Tommy would burst onto the trail and into the woods, acting like a fine-tuned stallion.
The photo above is yours truly at the Guana 50K near Jacksonville in 2007. I was pudgy, and my belly had a bit of a flop to it. But that said, I ran hard and came up with a negative split on the last of four laps, passing several runners en route.
All good stuff, and once again, the performance was greater than the body that produced it.
What have I learned in all of this? I'll still pull a few out of the bag going forward, but I'll NEVER attempt it again for 100 miles. Either I never race that distance again, or I do it prepped and ready and at my optimum level.
Only time will tell if I can reach that pinnacle, or if the ultimate test in ultrarunning becomes past rather than present tense.