Okay, it's been awhile (which is a great Staind song, by the way), so time to get caught up here.
After my abbreviated training run at Quad Rock, I've been pretty much head down, grinding out as many miles as I can in an attempt to wash the bad taste out of my mouth. And, for the most part, it's been working. As I noted in my last post, the training has gone very well since QR and I'm definitely feeling stronger. It's been too long to go into the intimate details, so I'll just touch on some highlights:
5/23 - My birthday. The big 3-5. Ran 10 miles on the Tinton trail. Nothing too exciting about it, really, but I am in a new age group now, depending on how they split em. Oh, and one of my birthday presents was a brand spankin new Garmin Forerunner 910.
5/26 - Ran from the Dalton Lake trailhead (miles 29/71 of the Black Hills 100 course) back to the BH100 start/finish in Sturgis with Johnathan, who will be double-dipping as the BH100 photographer and a 100K runner this year. 29 miles and I was still feeling pretty damn good when we got done.
6/2 - My daughter's birthday. Much more exciting than my own. Besides a rockin One Direction-themed party, I also ran a marathon (Deadwood-Mickelson), where I paced a friend from Texas to a 4:11 finish. I don't run many marathons anymore and found myself extremely disappointed in the lack of food choices at the aid stations. Bananas and oranges? That's the crap I eat during the week when I'm watching my calories. I want bacon and cookies, damn it! There was one aid station that had homemade banana bread, which was pretty awesome.
6/7-6/9 - This ended up being an interesting three day stretch of training. At some point last week, I got a wild hair up my ass to do a night run, so after my son's baseball game on Friday evening I headed to Sturgis and met up with Ryan for some night running on the Centennial. We started at about 9:30 and covered 20 miles between the Ft. Meade trailhead and some random point between the Bulldog and Elk Creek aid station locations on the BH100 course. Got done a bit before 2:00 AM, drove home, showered and crashed for about 4 hours of somewhat fitful sleep before getting up to run the Hayfever 4 mile race in Belle Fourche. I managed to win that race against a fairly small field, went home, showered again and did some yard/housework for most of the rest of the day. On Sunday, I got up early to tackle Crow Peak, which has become my go-to training location for Leadville. In my last post, I wrote about the Crow Peak Triple I ran the week after Quad Rock. Being an ultrarunner, I'm always looking to up the ante, so the goal for Sunday was my first ever Crow Peak Quad. The first two laps went well and I again managed to run the entire ascent both times (noting that running the entire ascent just one time was an enormous accomplishment in the very recent past). The third ascent was a bit slower, but I ran all but the 2 or 3 steepest pitches near the top. By then, it was becoming a bit of a mental battle as I cruised down the hill the third time, trying to convince myself that I should in fact run one more lap. After eating a snack and refilling my water, I forced myself away from the car for a fourth ascent and came very close to turning back around a few times within the first half mile. Eventually, I managed to remind myself that Leadville will include a fair amount of hiking and that it is, in fact, okay to do some hiking in training. So I did a mix of running and hiking and ground out the fourth ascent in what was actually an okay time (it always seems so much slower in the midst of the fatigue). With that out of the way, the fourth descent was actually my fastest and I felt pretty good, both mentally and physically, when I reached the trailhead again after 25.2 miles and 6200 feet of total ascent. A good 2+ day training block, both mentally and physically.
This coming weekend is the Bighorn 30K in Dayton, WY. Since I ran the 100M at Bighorn last year, the 30K seems like kind of a cop out, but it's the only distance (out of 30K, 50K, 50M and 100M) that Bighorn offers that I haven't run. And, honestly, I'm really looking forward to hammering out a fast, hard trail run. So much of ultra running is just grinding out slow miles for hours on end. This time I'm actually going to race the thing and see what happens. I'm hoping to bring one of those big damn rocks (the traditional Bighorn age group award) back to Belle with me!