02 March 2013

Change of Plans

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step 
onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no 
knowing where you might be swept off to. - J.R.R. Tolkien
Grant Swamp Pass/Island Lake (Photo Credit: Klas Eklof)
When I posted my racing plan for the year on my Feb 9 post, I had no idea how much my plans would change in the coming weeks.  For starters, I met my new running partner Sheila, an experienced ultrarunner gunning for all five of the Rocky Mountain Slam this year.  Not only do I have the good fortune of having company on long runs, but now I have the opportunity to pace her at five of the big hundos in the US -- BighornHardrock, Leadville, Wasach and The Bear. This means I have to step up my training for the next few months.

Everything changes with Hardrock. I've read enough about the San Juans to know it's a land of extremes -- extreme climbs, extreme downhills, extreme weather changes, extreme beauty.  The course is both beautiful and brutal. Because long, steep climbs and downhills are part and parcel to this course, my training will mirror Sheila's as we begin doing hikes up and down 14'ers, eventually chaining them together.  Here's some of what we can expect:
Photo Credit: Steve Pero
Photo Credit: Steve Pero
Photo Credit: Steve Pero
Photo Credit: Steve Pero
But we get rewarded with views such as these:
Photo Credit: Klas Eklof
Photo Credit: Steve Pero
Photo Credit: Steve Pero
I'm excited for the opportunity to experience a piece of this epic course but I realize that pacing Sheila for the final 30 miles is a huge responsibility.  It's my job to get her to the finish when she has 70 miles of climbing and downhilling on her legs.  I respect these mountains and recognize the need to prepare myself to deal with whatever they throw at us.

That being said, my 25 miler in May has been bumped up to 50 miler to better prepare me for the summer pacing season.  As good as my 55k went last month, I know I can prepare for the additional 16 miles over the next couple of months. 

As if the 50 miler and pacing ops aren't enough, I've been invited to join a small group in April doing the #1 adventure run on my bucket list -- the 42 mile double rim crossing of the Grand Canyon, or the R2R2R.  It would be great warm up to the 50 miler the following month and if it doesn't conflict with J's mtn bike trip in the works, I'll be headed to the Big Ditch next month.

The only way I can take advantage of these incredible opportunities is if I remain unemployed for at least the next few months.  Talking this over with J, it's clear that I need to use my "free" days while the kids are in (pre)school to train so I can keep Saturdays free for family time as the weather warms up and we get them outside more.  So I have decided to suspend my job search until summer, in order to focus on the training needed to start pacing in June.

So 2013 is shaping up to be an epic year of ultrarunning.  As Meghan would say, "Bring on the awesome!".

Happy Trails,



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