My most boring post ever?
This one is just to get caught up on the last month, mostly for my biggest fan, my dad. I’m more focused on running than writing and short on time for both so this one is photo-free and without any attempt to entertain. How’s that for engaging the readership?
While the last few weeks are far from record-setting by any measure, it was a good start to the June-July Leadville 100 build-up. I’ve been focusing more on vertical gain than total mileage which is, I think, making me slower all around. But, it is also making me stronger and better-prepared (I hope) for the rigors of a real mountain 100-miler. Racing in the “Colorado-flat” Greenland 50k, followed by a rugged, mountainous Quadrock 50-miler and this past weekend’s uber-hilly Dirty 30 50k, all in less than the last month, is good for establishing where I am. I underperformed at each race, which doesn’t look good on paper but that wasn’t the point. I enjoyed each race with enough energy for a strong finish, didn’t have any issues (falls, bonks, etc), and recovered quickly from each.
As I’ve often said over the last year, Colorado running is a different league. I’ve gone from consistent top 15-20 overall positions in Texas ultras – with some quality top 10s – to very much a mid-packer here, even as I’ve improved. The quality of the “average” runner here is unlike anywhere else in the world outside of east Africa and the old “just finishing is an accomplishment” is starting to have some meaning to me. I do very much appreciate the health, lifestyle, and support of family and friends that allow me to see what I’m able to do on the trails, even if that means I’ll finish most races after my training buddies have already changed clothes, eaten a meal, and taken a nap.
Now it’s crunch time. My general plan is to run a whole lot of mountain trail, rest a little, and do it again for the next 8 weeks before a pretty sharp taper to make sure I’m fully rested heading into Leadville. I have two more races – the Leadville Marathon and the Silver Rush 50-miler (also in Leadville) but expect 12-15 long runs over the next two months. I’m back to sleeping in my altitude tent, currently set to simulate about 8400′ with plans to move up to 10-11k’ over the summer.
I’m planning on a 2-3 day trip up to Leadville this weekend and fitting in high country trips with any friends I who can spare the time and are willing to gather me up when I fall off the training pace. More than anything, I’m focused on enjoying the process. And there are 8,000′ mountains right out my window as I type from the house, which is pretty hard to beat.