Culminating with the (unofficial and unsanctioned) South Dakota Trail Championships a couple of weeks ago, the local trail/ultra running season is (un)officially over. Overall, not much to complain about. I missed a couple more of the Black Hills trail series races than I would've liked, but I also got to run one that I really wanted to run (the Sundance 50K) but didn't think I'd be able to, so I guess it all balances out. Looks like I finished 4th in the men's open division of the trail series, just 2.5 points out of 3rd. This is the first year in the series' four year existence that I haven't finished in the top 3, but that's what happens when you miss races. Not a big deal, regardless.
As is typical of this time of year, the motivation to put in big miles is somewhat lacking. Forty to fifty miles a week, with a couple of flirtations with 60, have been pretty typical the last couple of months. Haven't run more than 15 miles in a single run since the Sundance 50K at the end of September. I've never since I started running ten years or so ago taken a planned break with absolutely no running that has lasted more than three or four days. I tried to take a week off, for no good reason, at about this time last year and I think my hiatus from running lasted all of three days before I caved and hit the trail again. Well, no such plans this year. In fact, quite the opposite since my first ultra of 2013 is actually looming fairly close. I'm signed up for the Moab Red Hot 55K on February 16th. Team South Dakota consisting of myself and friends Ryan, Nathan and Paul (who is actually from Wyoming, but just barely) will be making the long drive over to experience some slickrock racing. Hopefully the weather doesn't suck, because driving across Wyoming sucks ass under normal conditions, much less in the middle of a winter storm. But I digress....the point is that the relatively low miles I've been putting in recently will have to be ramped up soon if I'm going to be in decent shape for a 50K+ in a few months. One of my goals for 2013 will be to not just finish ultras....I've established that I can finish 50Ks, 50s and 100s in relatively decent, front of the middle of the pack times. Now to answer the question of how fast can I do this thing if I really nail the training (and the race itself too, of course)?
Beyond Moab, the schedule is still a bit up in the air. Ryan and I have discussed returning to the Quad Rock 50 in Fort Collins in May and maybe an excursion down to the Grand Canyon to run R2R2R. I suspect strongly that I will run another 100 at some point next year but am having a hard time choosing which one. All other factors equal, my choice would likely be Cascade Crest in Washington, but that's a fairly good haul from here (although having relatives in the Seattle area would at least make the trip more worthwhile). Leadville is another likely choice. I've heard a lot of opinions (many not too flattering) of how Lifetime has handled the event, but it still has that legendary mystique about it that intrigues me. Plus, I've had several people tell me that the Black Hills 100 is harder than Leadville....wouldn't mind being able to judge that better myself (conceding that I've never actually run the entire BH100 course in one go). The Bear is up there too, but Ryan has expressed interest in running that one and I told him I'd pace him if he did. So many choices...
Alright, enough of this. Time for a run.