Well, I think I'm mostly recovered from the Leadville 100. The race was only three and a half week ago and I'm feeling generally pretty good. My right knee, which was bothering me after the race, is now in great shape. What I'm basically dealing with now is moderate muscle fatigue and some dull achiness that comes and goes. It seems like everyday I'm feeling better. Last week I ran 61 miles mostly on dirt roads.
Lots of folks may read this and say, "Dude, you just ran 100 miles three weeks ago! Take some time off!" Why? I feel good. I think the key to excelling in long-distance running and especially ultramarathoning is consistency. I don't mean consistency over a period of several weeks or even months. I mean consistency over the years. Extreme endurance--the kind that takes you over 100 miles on treacherous mountain trails (or really any trails)--takes years to develop. This doesn't mean you have to run high mileage all year. It just means you need to run and be consistent in what you're doing. If you're tired, back off and/or cross-train. If you're injured, take some time off. But when you're injury-free and feeling good, run! So, with that said, I'll remain in the 60ish miles per week range for the next few weeks as I continue to recover and then amp it up in October to get ready for whatever big race I'll be doing to cap off the year.
Sorry, got off track. Back to my post-Leadville 100 state. Mentally, I'm in good shape. Lots of folks do their big race and then flame out for a while. Not me. I'm usually able to stay focused. Still, right now I'm fighting the "blahs" because I don't know what's next on my calendar. I'm running a little 5K cross-country race this Sunday and I'm kind of excited about it, but what keeps me motivated is that next big race on the calendar, and right now there isn't one!
I kind of wish I could enter the Bear 100 (September 23-24), a very challenging mountain race in Utah and Idaho, but I have a massive scheduling conflict that weekend. So no Bear for me. I was really into the thought of going 24 hours at the Across the Years race in Phoenix over the New Year's holiday. I want to once again gun for 140 miles! Unfortunately, with my son's school closed that week and my wife scheduled to work, Across the Years ain't gonna happen.
So as of now I don't know if I'll do another big race in 2011. Races I'm considering are the Moab Trail Marathon and the Sacramento or Vegas marathons. The baseline fitness for Sacramento and Vegas is there; I just need to work on speed to get myself back into sub-3 shape. We'll see.
I've been thinking about 2012. I want to really challenge myself. I'm chewing on the idea of 2-3 100-milers. These would include Western States, Leadville, and Bear. Western States is doubtful because of the slim lottery odds, so if I don't get into Western I might look at Bighorn or going back to Ohio for the Mohican 100 in June but only if they change the course back to the way it was. I think I could win Mohican again if the course went back to the 2008 or 2009 version. I'm not interested in the current sufferfest.
I want to say a few words about my Leadville 100 coach, Karl Meltzer, who I interviewed a few weeks ago. Last weekend Karl finished third overall at the Wasatch Front 100, which he's won six times. Wasatch throws 54,000 feet of combined elevation change at you, so it's what you would call a serious mountain race that is probably second only to Hardrock in difficulty. What makes Karl's strong finish so remarkable is that he's been fighting a bulging disk in his back for the better part of the summer and came down with the stomach flu only two days before the race. Amazing! For gutting it out, Karl is more than worthy of the Get 'Er Done Award!