12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours

12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours
Last February 20th, I hiked and skied 12 laps on Mt. Glory. 19,638 feet climbed with skis on my back and 19,638 feet skied to raise money for Camp To Belong. It's snowing again and I'm ready for the 2nd edition! Click the logo for more info and ways to support camp!

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse
We're racing the Elk Mtn Grand Traverse this March, a 40 mile ski race across the roof of Colorado in the middle of the night! Click for updates on our training and fundraising progress!

Peaked Sports

Peaked Sports
Driggs, ID

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Next Up: Big Horn 100

Much time has passed since my inaugural 100 mile run a year ago. Much change in the world. Much knowledge gathered. Much fitness gained. Time for anutha hunda. And now I actually feel prepared.

100 milers aren't like 10k's in that if you have a bad race, you can't just give yourself a week or two off and come right back out and have at it again. There's simply too much time, money, and energy invested in an event like this to hack your way through it just to be miserable, risk getting injured and maybe even not finish. If you're gonna do one, and do one right, you need to make sure everything is ready. Races like this typically require months of preparation time and months of recovery time. And because of the length of time required just to finish one, there's a constant long drawn-out mental/physical battle being waged between pace, fluids, food, clothing, physiology, weather, trail surface...etc. It's just as mentally exhausting as it is physically. When I'm out there on the trail, my body is the machine and my brain is the computer analyzing every micrometer of every system, performing a constant sequence of calculations and system checks to ensure everything in and on the machine is operating properly. It is usually what I think about when I'm out there running. Sound boring? Tedious? Monotonous? Maybe so, but it's what I do and I love it. And when my mind is ready to run and my body isn't, I force it to keep running anyway so long as it doesn't break. On the other hand, when my body is ready to run and my mind isn't, as most runners would probably agree, it's usually pretty easy to get myself going. When my body is willing and able to run, I only hope my mind will follow suit.

After a year's experience completing two 100 milers, a handful of 50's, and dozens of runs and races in the 50k range, and after much experimenting with a variety of nutritional substances (all legal!) I've finally honed in on what works and what doesn't. And now I will finally get the chance to put it all to the ultimate test. This is what I've been waiting for. I've been eagerly anticipating this race since last fall, but only a month ago did I realize that I was finally ready. I think it's funny to look back at who I was three years ago when I first began this ultra-running journey and see myself as a young, naive, beginner. Even though I have been running off and on since I was a 5 year old playing soccer and later a teenager running track and then an adult finishing a couple of painful road marathons in my early 20's, I simply didn't know what it took to run ultra-distances properly.

I didn't train right. (I have always had a problem with over-training).

I didn't eat right. (Has anyone else ever ran 50 miles consuming an entire package of Pepperidge Farms Oatmeal-Raisin cookies along the way? Or, even better, headed out on an unsupported, high-altitude, 40 mile mountain run carrying 110 oz of Gatorade and two Powerbars? And no water treatment. Come to think of it, I didn't even have a jacket of any kind with me.)

I didn't drink right. (200 oz of Gatorade over 50 miles is ok, isn't it? Let's see, that's approximately 350 grams of sugar. That's 3/4 lb.)

And then, more than any other factors, I just had no interest in changing anything. I don't know why. I just wanted to continue to hack away out there and then wonder what I could have done differently without really wanting to do anything differently. Or maybe I didn't feel capable of it. I don't know. There are parts of me from years past that I don't even recognize now. I'm 31 years old. And I'm only looking back three or four years. At this rate, I can't even try to imagine what my life will look like when I'm 35. But that's a whole other story that I'm going to politely avoid right now.

Point is, I finally feel ready.

This year's Big Horn 100 course returns to it's original route after last year's reroute due to the heavy lingering winter snowpack that was still present around 9,000ft near the customary turnaround point at 50 miles. Apparently, some snow is typical and this year, according to the website, there will be some along that stretch. But I'm happy that we get to do the original course this year. If anything, just to run up the Little Bighorn River Canyon in daylight after running only the lower seven miles of it last year completely in the dark because of last year's rerouted course. This section of trail has been touted as the most "wild and scenic" stretch along the entire 50 mile length. Unfortunately, because of the 11am start on Friday, I will probably only get to see it once on my way out to the turnaround. I expect to reach the turnaround somewhere near 10 hours which would make it 9pm and just getting dark enough to need lights. But ya know? I really don't care. I'm going to enjoy as much as I can anyway.